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Bruno and Jetka (Jessie) Korn papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2013.456.1

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    Bruno and Jetka (Jessie) Korn papers

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    Collection of documents, photographs, correspondence, identification cards, and restitution material relating to Bruno Korn (b. 1911 in Breslau) and his wife Jetka Bloch Korn. The couple survived in internment camps in Italy.
    inclusive:  1912-1972
    bulk:  1939-1946
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Judith Ribnick, in memory of Bruno and Jesse Korn
    Collection Creator
    Bruno Korn
    Bruno Korn was born on October 2, 1911, in Hindenburg, Germany (Zabrze, Poland), to Simon and Jetka Jakobwitz Korn. His older brother, Rudolf, was born on March 23, 1909. Bruno’s father, Simon, was born on March 14, 1883, in Grabow, Germany, to Samoel and Rebeka Korn. Simon had four siblings: Dagobert, Julius, Berta, and Louisa. Bruno’s mother, Jetka, was born on February 5, 1875, in Kempen, Germany, to Samuel and Berta Jakobwitz. Jetka had four siblings: Paula, Adolf, Daniel, and Georg. Simon was a barber and owned a shop in Hindenburg. In 1919, the family moved to Walbrzych. They had to move again when the town became part of Poland. They settled in Breslau in 1919. Bruno attended Hebrew school and was a member of a Jewish social club. He spoke Yiddish and German. He finished school at fourteen and worked at a clothing factory as a cutter. The Nazi party was extremely popular in Breslau and by the late 1920s, it was one of its strongest centers of support in Germany. Bruno saw them march and make anti-Semitic speeches.
    Hitler came to power in Germany in January 1933. On April 8, Bruno was arrested. He was taken to a street corner with several other men, where he had to stand with his arms up for several hours. When his arms got tired and he lowered them, he was beaten. The prisoners were marched to Nazi headquarters in Breslau. Bruno was given a hearing and accused of making faces at Nazis as they marched. He was taken to a room and forced to remove his clothes and lie on a table covered with a German flag where he was given thirty lashes. The detainees were then put on trucks and taken outside the city to work construction on a future concentration camp. On April 13, Bruno was released after appealing to Edmund Heines, a Nazi party leader who was visiting Breslau. Bruno attempted to get a visa to leave Germany but was unsuccessful. Circa 1935, Bruno’s brother, Rudolf, fled Germany for Czechoslovakia. In 1936, Bruno married his first cousin, Jetka Bloch, in her hometown of Kalisz, Poland. Jetka was born on May 23, 1910, to Michael and Berta Korn Bloch. Jetka had three siblings: Gitel, born July 26, 1899, Herman, born December 6, 1900, and Regina, born October 26, 1906. Bruno and Jetka settled in Breslau. Jetka worked as a seamstress.
    Overnight on November 10, 1938, duirng Kristallnacht, the Jewish store above which Bruno and Jetka lived was destroyed. Bruno went to work and saw the synagogue burning. His store had been destroyed, so Bruno told his coworkers to go home. He was stopped by a police officer, arrested because he was Jewish, and taken to the train station. He was taken off the train in Weimar, beaten, and loaded onto a truck. He was taken to Buchenwald concentration camp and assigned prisoner number 22318. Every night, the SS would come into the barracks, take an inmate outside, and beat him to death. Bruno could hear the men screaming and saw their bodies in the mornings when he went outside for appell, or roll call. He was given very little food. One day, every inmate was summoned to the courtyard to witness the hanging of a man who had tried to escape. On January 5, 1939, Bruno was released. He was told that he had to leave Germany and regularly report in with the Gestapo. There were rumors in the Jewish community that Jews were illegally emigrating from Vienna to Palestine. Bruno was asked by his friends to go to Vienna to see if this was true. In Vienna, he was told that illegal immigration to Palestine was not occurring yet, but Jews with valid passports were welcome to go to Italy. In Breslau, the Jewish community disagreed with Bruno’s plan to go to Italy as they felt it was too risky. Bruno and Jetka decided to go to Italy, but his family would not go with them. They went by train to Munich. They were questioned by a Nazi official on the train but allowed to enter Italy. They arrived in Milan and were assisted by the local Jewish community. In July 1939, they were told by Italian police that they could not stay in Italy. They hoped to immigrate to France and went to Ventimiglia on the French border. In September, the war broke out and they could no longer go to France. They went to Genoa, where Bruno was arrested. He was sent to southern Italy by train. In July 1940, Bruno was interned in Campagna internment camp. Jetka moved to Potenza, in southern Italy. Bruno was treated relatively well. He wrote Jetka and she visited him monthly. He led the High Holiday services in the fall. In May 1941, Bruno was released from Campagna and joined Jetka in Potenza. On September 20, 1943, Potenza was liberated by Canadian forces. The war ended when Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945.
    The couple remained in Potenza. Bruno worked for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration and the American Joint Distribution Committee. They learned that no family members had survived the Holocaust. On August 31, 1942, Bruno’s parents, Simon and Jetka, were deported to Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp in German occupied Czechoslovakia. Jetka died in Theresienstadt. On October 19, 1944, Simon was deported to Auschwitz and killed. On May 18, 1942, Bruno’s brother, Rudolf, was sent from Trebic, Czechoslovakia to Theresienstadt. On May 15, 1944, Rudolf was deported to Auschwitz and killed. Jetka’s parents and siblings, Michael, Berta, Gitel, Herman, and Regina, were killed in Radom, Poland. Because of the lack of Jewish community in Italy, Bruno and Jetka decided to immigrate to the United States. On November 29, 1946, they were smuggled onto the SS Marine Perch in Genoa, because they had visas but no tickets. On December 9, they arrived in New York. They were detained on Ellis Island but were admitted into the US on December 16. They settled in New York. Jetka changed her name to Jessie. Bruno worked in the garment district as a leather cutter and Jessie opened a dressmaking business. They were involved in the Jewish community. Jessie, age 83, died on November 12, 1993, in New York City. Bruno, age 91, died on May 11, 2003, in New York.

    Physical Details

    4 folders

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    The donor, source institution, or a third party has asserted copyright over some or all of these material(s). The Museum does not own the copyright for the material and does not have authority to authorize use. For permission, please contact the rights holder(s).

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Personal Name
    Korn, Bruno. Korn, Jetka.

    Administrative Notes

    The collection was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2013 by Judith Ribnick.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 13:43:23
    This page:

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