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Riesenfeld family papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2017.389.1

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    Riesenfeld family papers

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    The collection documents the experiences of Bruno and Frieda Riesenfeld and their children Ernst and James, originally from Würzburg, Germany, who fled to the Netherlands and immigrated to the United States in 1940. Included are identification papers, immigration documents, financial documents related to the forced sale of Bruno’s paint factory in 1938, wartime correspondence with Frieda’s mother, Dora Schwabacher in Würzburg, and photographs.

    Biographical materials include immigration documents, identification papers, education and employment papers, restitution documents, and a family book of genealogy. Also included are financial documents related to the forced sale of Bruno’s paint factory in 1938, a narrative statement by Frieda detailing their experiences in Germany and the Netherlands leading up to their immigration to the United States in 1940, and a Red Cross document describing the fate of Bruno’s sister, Margot Riesenfeld, who was deported and murdered in the Holocaust.

    Correspondence includes wartime letters from Bruno’s sister Betty Suessmann and Frieda’s mother, Dora Swabacher, and her uncle Anton Schwabacher. Also includes some post-war correspondence with friends and relatives.

    Photographs consist of depictions of the gravestone for Bruno’s parents, Alfred and Jenny Riesenfeld, and the Wenzel family. There is also a family photograph album depicting pre-war family life in Würzburg, the Riesenfelds aboard the Veendam on their way to the United States, and family life n New York.
    inclusive:  1897-2001
    bulk:  1938-1949
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Susan Driscoll for the Riesenfeld family
    Collection Creator
    Riesenfeld family
    Bruno Kurt Riesenfeld (1899-1974) was born on 27 October 1899 in Würzburg, Germany to Alfred (1866-1936) and Jenny (née Brauer, 1866-1938) Riesenfeld. He had two sisters, Betti (later Betty Suessmann, 1896-1976) and Margot (1895-1943), and one brother, Walter (1901-1984).

    Frieda Therese Riesenfeld (née Schwabacher, 1908-2012) was born on 16 April 1908 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany to Emil (1873-1919) and Dora (née Schwabacher, 1881-1943) Schwabacher. She had one sister, Henny (1906-1918).

    Bruno and Frieda married in 1931, and their first son, Ernst, was born in 1935. Bruno owned a paint factory in Heidingsfeld, near Würzburg. In 1938, he was forced to sell his business and then arrested. Frieda helped secure his release, but he was arrested again several months later and sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp. After his release, they left Germany to go stay with Bruno’s sister Margot in Amsterdam while they continued to wait for U.S. visas. Their son, James was born 17 April 1939 in Amsterdam. On 14 March 1940 the family sailed out of Rotterdam for the United States on the Veendam. They settled in New York.

    Bruno’s sister Margot perished during the Holocaust at the Sobibór extermination camp in 1943. Frieda’s mother Dora was deported from Würzburg to the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943 where she perished.

    Physical Details

    German English
    1 box
    System of Arrangement
    The collection is arranged as three series: Series 1: Biographical, 1897-2001; Series 2: Correspondence, 1939-1974; Series 3: Photographs, 1901-1949

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Material(s) 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

    Corporate Name
    Veendam (Ocean liner)

    Administrative Notes

    The collection was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum by Susan Driscoll in 2017.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 13:43:16
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