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Berg and Hermanns families papers

Document | Not Digitized | Accession Number: 1989.232.31

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    Berg and Hermanns families papers


    The Berg and Hermanns families papers consist of biographical materials, correspondence, and photographs documenting the Berg family and their escape to Kenya and the Hermanns family and Julius Hermanns’ journey aboard the MS St. Louis, return to Europe, and internment.
    The Berg family papers consist primarily of biographical materials, correspondence, and photographs documenting the Berg family from Germany and their escape to Kenya. Biographical materials include birth certificates, a military passbook, a marriage certificate, two family registers, certificates of good conduct, a letter of recommendation, travel papers, permissions, passports, a certified list of belongings Klara Berg took to Kenya, Kenyan certificates of registration, a miniature date book, an autograph book, and German and American identification cards documenting the Berg family and the Pauly family (Gisela
    Berg’s husband and his parents). Correspondence consists of letters and postcards among Berg family members, Pauly family members, and Berg relative Ella Schweizer. Berg family correspondence includes letters from Berg family members in Germany to those in Kenya as well as Red Cross inquiries about relatives deported to Theresienstadt and about family friends in Rotterdam. Pauly family correspondence consists of letters to Selma Pauly from family friend Josef Kaussen relating family news. Ella Schweizer postcards contain greetings.
    Photographs depict members of the Berg family and their relatives in Germany and Kenya. Printed materials include a clipping showing a map of Allied advances into North Rhine-Westphalia, a pocket calendar gifted to the Berg family from N. Menachemson, a program from a Nairobi Hebrew Congregation prayer service, and a survey map of Berg property in Kenya. Restitution materials include Pauly family correspondence and affidavits about their loss of property, health, and education during the Holocaust.
    The Hermanns family papers consist primarily of correspondence documenting Julius Hermanns’ efforts to flee Germany; his voyage aboard the MS St. Louis; his internment in Fresnay-sur-Sarthe, Saint Cyprien, Gurs, and Les Milles; and his relatives’ efforts to discover his fate as well as that of his wife and daughter and of Sol Meyer’s brother, Karl Meyer. Postcards from Karl to Sol describe his wartime life in Köln. The papers also include identification papers for Sol and Henrietta Meyer, clippings about the St. Louis and about Theresienstadt, Karl Meyer’s drawing of his mother, a satirical poem about the difficulties of emigration, and a report about Buchenwald. Photographic materials include photographs of a liberated concentration camp (possibly Buchenwald), Julius Hermanns, and Sol and Henrietta Meyer, and a photo album depicting the Hermanns family in Germany and the Meyers’ immigration voyage to New York in 1938.
    inclusive:  circa 1880-1957
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Jill Berg Pauly
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Kurt and Jill Berg Pauly
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Inge Katzenstein
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Werner and Inge Katzenstein
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Kurt amd Jill Pauly
    Collection Creator
    Berg family
    Hermanns family
    Joseph and Klara (Meyer) Berg lived in the small farming community of Lechenich (Erfstadt), Germany (near Cologne) and had two daughters: Inge (b. 1929) and Gisela (b. 1933). They hid in Cologne after Kristallnacht, and Joseph Berg, his brother, George, and their cousin, Ernest, fled to Holland. The family decided to look for another country of refuge. Their cousin, Rosa (Marx) Berg, had a relative in Kenya, Herman Strauss, who helped secure entry papers to Kenya for the Berg family. Joseph, Ernest, and George were the first to arrive in Kenya and were joined by more than a dozen members of the extended family, including Josef’s parents, Klara and Marcus (Max) Berg, and his mother in law, Bertha Meyer. The Bergs purchased a 375-acre farm in Limuru and an additional 125 acres in Maguga. The family had the status of enemy aliens throughout the war. Joseph, Klara, and their daughters remained in Kenya for eight years, immigrating to the United States in 1947.
    Julius Hermanns (1891-1942) was born in Neersen (Willich), Germany, to Michael and Rosalie Hermanns. He owned a linen store with his three siblings: Fritz, Sofia, and Henrietta. His wife Margarete (1899-1944) was born in Gelsenkirchen to Meyer and Paulina Goldbaum. The couple had one daughter, Hilde (1923-1944), born in Mönchengladbach. Julius was imprisoned in Dachau in September 1938, transferred to Buchenwald the following month, and released in April 1939 on the condition that he would leave the country. Henrietta and her husband Sol Meyer, along with another relative, Julius Kaufmann, arranged for a Cuban landing certificate for Julius. He sailed on the St. Louis, was returned to Europe, found temporary refuge in France, was arrested as an enemy alien at the outbreak of war, and was held in internment camps in Fresnay-sur-Sarthe, Saint Cyprien, Gurs, and Les Milles. He was deported via Drancy to Auschwitz in August 1942 and killed. Margarete, Hilde, and Sofia were deported to the Riga ghetto in December 1941. Margarete and Hilde were transferred to Stutthof in October 1944 and killed.

    Physical Details

    German English Dutch
    5 boxes
    3 oversize folders
    System of Arrangement
    The Berg and Hermanns family papers are arranged as two series and ten subseries:
    Series I. Berg family papers, approximately 1880-1957, Subseries 1: Biographical materials, 1915-1947, Subseries 2: Correspondence, 1913-1957, Subseries 3: Photographs, approximately 1880-1945, Subseries 4: Printed materials, 1941-1950, Subseries 5: Restitution files, 1956
    Series II. Hermanns family papers, 1900-1956, Subseries 1: Biographical materials, 1900-1942, Subseries 2: Correspondence, 1908-1956, Subseries 3: Photographs, approximately 1910-1945, Subseries 4: Printed materials, 1938-1939, 1945, Subseries 5: Drawing, poem, and report, approximately 1938-1939

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    For components accessioned as 2000.399 and 2000.400, copyright is licensed to USHMM under agreement. Other material in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Inge and Werner Katzenstein and Jill and Kurt Pauly donated the Berg and Hermanns families papers (1989.232.3) to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1989, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2011. Accessions previously cataloged as 1989.305, 1989.306, 1995.A.0322, 1998.148.1, 1999.206.1, 2000.398, 2000.399, 2000.400, 2000.573.1, 2003.342, 2004.96, 2005.235.1, 2008.382.1, and 2011.54 have been incorporated into this collection.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this collection has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Primary Number
    Record last modified:
    2023-06-07 07:39:39
    This page:

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