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Dr. Willy Katz papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 1990.88.11

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    Dr. Willy Katz papers

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    The Dr. Willy Katz papers consist of biographical materials, correspondence, photographs, printed materials, and subject files documenting Dr. Katz’s medical service during World War I; his first wife, their child, and his second wife; and his work as the head of the Jewish health care center in Dresden during World War II.
    Biographical materials include certificates, military records, questionnaires, medical records, and a memorial service description documenting Dr. Katz’s service in World War I, his marriage to Helene Katz, his medical practice during World War II, his illness, and death in 1947. This series also includes his second wife’s passport, bank identification card, and brief biographical history as well as a questionnaire he completed for his son during the war.
    Correspondence files primarily include correspondence among Dr. Katz, German governing bodies, and Jewish agencies related to his work as head of the Jewish health care center in Dresden. The records document Dr. Katz’s appointment as the head of the health care center, as school physician, and as home inspector; payments and reimbursements for his services; his appeals to be exempted from wearing the yellow star; restrictions on Jewish lives and the treatment of Jewish patients; participation in charitable activities; the assessment of patients’ ability to work; patient transfers; and treatment requirements and options for specific patients. Correspondence files also include two letters from a Katz relative imprisoned at Buchenwald and a number of postcards from friends and acquaintances of Dr. Katz imprisoned at Theresienstadt.
    Photographic materials consists of photographs, photograph album, and loose album pages documenting Dr. Katz’s first wife, Elsa Brann, during her World War I nursing service, in uniform, and with patients; Dr. Katz during his World War I medical service, in uniform, and with other officers; Helmut Katz with his mother and stepmother and as a grown man; and the Katz family together.
    Printed materials include a copy of a German medical newspaper containing an article about Heinz Böhm and his relationship with Dr. Katz and Elsa Brann’s copy of an art book about Anthony Van Dyck.
    Subject files consist of correspondence and legal records documenting an unsuccessful malpractice suit filed against Dr. Katz; name lists of Jewish patients in Dresden; and policies and regulations governing German Jews and their medical treatment.
    inclusive:  circa 1880-1988
    bulk:  1902-1950
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Heinz Boehm
    Collection Creator
    Willy Katz
    Heinz Böhm
    Dr. Willy Katz (1878‐1947) was born in Brieg (Brzeg, Poland). He served as a physician during World War I, married Elsa Brann in 1918, and had a son named Helmut (1919‐2002). His marriage was invalidated when Elsa was institutionalized with mental illness around 1920. In 1933 Dr. Katz married divorcee Helene Preissler who owned a hat business, H&K Preissler, in Dresden with her sister‐in‐law but had to give it up in 1939 when she, a non‐Jew, refused to divorce her Jewish husband. Helmut went to England around 1936, survived the war there, and changed his name to Henry Keith. Elsa Brann is believed to have been euthanized according to Nazi policy in 1942. Dr. Katz was forced to close his medical practice in 1938 but was allowed to reopen it to an extent in 1939 as the Jewish Health Care Center under the strict supervision of the Gestapo. As the head of the Center, he took care of the outpatient treatment of Jewish patients in Dresden. He also monitored the sanitary conditions of Jewish homes in Dresden and served as school physician at the local Jewish school, supervising doctor at the local Jewish nursing home, and camp physician at the Zeiss Ikon AG Jewish labor camp at Hellerberg. Dr. Katz is also believed to have accompanied transports from Dresden to Theresienstadt. He may have been able to warn some Jews before their deportation, but he is also believed to have helped draft the deportation lists. He died of illness shortly after the war.
    Heinz B̈öhm (1923-?) was born in Dresden to Max and Clara Böhm. He was a family friend of Dr. Katz's, and Dr. Katz encouraged him to pursue a medical career himself and gave him some of his medical tools.

    Physical Details

    2 boxes
    System of Arrangement
    The Dr. Willy Katz papers are arranged as five series: I. Biographical materials, 1902-1947, II. Correspondence, 1934-1988 (bulk 1934-1946), III. Photographic materials, approximately 1880-1950, IV. Printed materials, 1906, 1984, V. Subject files, 1929-1945

    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

    Geographic Name
    Dresden (Germany)

    Administrative Notes

    Heinz Böhm donated the Dr. Willy Katz papers to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1999.
    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:
    2023-04-11 09:39:02
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