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Peter and Berta Victor papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 1990.114.74

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    Peter and Berta Victor papers

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    The Peter and Berta Victor papers consist of an autograph book, biographical materials, correspondence, printed materials, restitution files, and writings documenting Peter and Berta Victor, their families, and their lives in Berlin, Vienna, Shanghai, and the United States.
    The autograph book belonged to Peter Victor and contains a handful of entries from friends and family members.
    Biographical materials consist of family trees; identification papers; birth, marriage, and death certificates; affidavits; employment records; and letters of recommendation documenting Peter and Berta Victor, Peter’s relatives, their pre-war lives in Germany and Austria, Peter’s time in Shanghai, and their immigration to the United States.
    Correspondence includes postcards and letters between Peter and Berta Victor and their family members and friends in Germany, Shanghai, and America during and after the war. The correspondence documents family news and emigration plans.
    Photographs depict Peter Victor and his family and friends in Germany, Shanghai, and America.
    Printed materials include two American Red Cross First Aid textbooks, a book about Japanese prints, a Berlin map and brochure, clippings about the Holocaust, and picture postcards depicting scenes in Hawaii, Sacramento, Paris, and Colorado.
    Restitution files consist of correspondence, affidavits, and forms documenting Peter Victor’s efforts to receive restitution for his family’s lost property, the interruption of his education, the cost of his passage to Shanghai, and the death of his parents in Shanghai.
    Writings include poems by Carl and Peter Victor as well as a sales description of a meat processing practice and instructions for serving a Viennese dinner.
    inclusive:  circa 1900-1991
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Peter Victor
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Peter M. Victor, in memory of Carl and Elsa Victor and Berta Neidermann Victor
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Peter M. Victor
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Estate of Peter M. Victor
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Estate of Peter M. Victor and in memory of Carl and Elsa Victor and Berta Neidermann Victor
    Collection Creator
    Peter M. Victor
    Berta Victor
    Peter Max Victor was born in Munich, Germany, on April 19, 1920, the only child of Carl Nathan and Elsa Alexander Victor. Carl was born in Gusten on May 1, 1879, to Louis (1832-1901) and Henrietta Pels Victor (1850-1940). Carl had a sister, Rebecca (1881-1970) who married a gentile, Gustav Adler (1882-1958), and had two sons. Elsa was born on December 25, 1888. Carl served in the Germany Army during World War I (1914-1918.) Carl was a poet and chemist and owner of a food dye and preservatives factory. Elsa worked with the business. In 1924, the family moved to Berlin. The family was well off and Jewish, but not especially observant. After the establishment of the Nazi dictatorship in Germany in 1933, anti-Jewish legislation and restrictions became increasingly harsh. Carl’s business was not restricted and it converted to produce war rations for the Army. After the Kristallnacht destruction of November 9-10, 1938, the family decided to leave Germany. They bought tickets for Shanghai, China, because it was an open port with no visa requirements.

    Peter left Germany on May 15, 1939, and arrived in Shanghai on June 14. Carl sold the family’s furniture and his factory. Jews could take almost no money out of Germany. Carl entrusted the sale proceeds to a friend who said he would transfer it to a bank in Shanghai, but never did. Carl and Elsa arrived in Shanghai in June 1939 on the Conte Rosso. They lived together in a small room, but life was difficult because they were penniless. Peter worked odd jobs in a hospital and community kitchen. Both of his parents contracted tropical diseases. Carl died, 61, of amoebic dysentery on November 29, 1940. Elsa developed diabetes because of the lack of adequate food and, at age, 54, passed away on May 9, 1942. Peter had to move to Hongkew ghetto in 1943 and got a job as a lifeguard at Hongkew Park, a country club for the elite of the Japanese occupation authorities.

    The war in Europe ended with Germany's surrender on May 7, 1945. Shanghai was liberated by the United States Army on September 3, 1945. Peter worked as a dispatcher and driver for the US Army Air Force motor pool. In December 1947, the American Joint Distribution Committee assisted Peter in emigrating to America on the USNS Marine Adder. His paternal aunt, Rebecca Adler, survived the war in Berlin; her husband, who was not Jewish, had been able to save her, but both their sons were killed by the Nazis. For two years, he lived in San Francisco. Peter married Berta Neidermann Spiner on April 25, 1951, in Chicago. Berta, born January 20, 1917, had arrived in the US in 1938, a refugee from Nazi ruled Vienna. Her parents, Joseph and Anna Scheier Neidermann, were murdered in Auschwitz. Peter and Berta settled in Washington DC. Peter owned a gift business. After his retirement, he volunteered at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Berta, 71, passed away on May 28, 1988. Peter, 73, died on May 7, 1993.
    Berta Neidermann was born on January 20, 1917, in Vienna, Austria, to Jewish parents, Josef and Anna Scheier Neidermann. Josef was born on October 10, 1886, in Gallatz, Austro-Hungary. Anna was born in August 1894 in Bania. In March 1938, Nazi Germany marched into Vienna and annexed Austria. Anti-Jewish laws were passed to disenfranchise and persecute the Jewish population. Berta emigrated to the US from Cherbourg, France, aboard the Columbus, arriving on December 3, 1938. Her sister Helene Bermann (1918-1993) sailed from Cherbourg on the SS Bremen, arriving on May 25, 1939. Both sisters settled in Chicago. Her parents Josef and Anna fled to Brussels, Belgium, in March 1939. Their younger brother Ulrich (1926-1985?) was sent to England. His name was changed to John Carlisle. He served in the British Army during the war. Berta's youngest sister Melanie (1921-1971) also left Vienna for France, and then escaped to Spain.

    The war ended in May 1945. Berta's parents had been detained in Malines (Mechelen) transit camp in Belgium, deported to Auschwitz concentration camp on October 31, 1942, and presumably killed. Berta's sister Melanie, with her young son, arrived in the US in 1946. Their brother, with his wife Doreen, moved to the US in 1952. While in Chicago, Berta met Peter Victor, a German Jewish refugee. Peter and his family left Berlin in 1939 for Shanghai, China. His parents Carl and Elsa died there and Peter emigrated to the US in 1947. The couple married on April 29, 1951, and settled in Washington DC. Berta, 71, passed away on May 28, 1988. Peter, 73, died on May 7, 1993.

    Physical Details

    2 boxes
    1 oversize folder
    System of Arrangement
    The Peter and Berta Victor papers are arranged as seven series: I. Autograph book, 1934-1936, II. Biographical materials, 1906-1990s, III. Correspondence, 1927-1991, IV. Photographs, approximately 1900-1991, V. Printed materials, 1933-1968, VI. Restitution files, 1940-1990, VII. Writings, approximately 1926-1930s

    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

    Administrative Notes

    Peter Victor donated the Peter and Berta Victor papers to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1990, 1992, 1994, and 2004. Accessions previously cataloged as 1990.277, 1992.A.0112, 1994.A.0076, and 2004.524.1 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:
    2023-03-30 15:19:50
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