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Rita Newberg Weiger papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2013.473.1

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    Rita Newberg Weiger papers

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    The collection includes a passport for Ryfka Tewel (Rita Newberg Weiger), photographs, correspondence from relatives in DP camps in Germany which describe the fate of the family and Polish Jews in the Dynow area, shipping documents, and a poem written by Jaime Phillips in honor of her grandmother.
    inclusive:  circa 1938-1995
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Jamie Phillips and Lisa Phillips, in memory of their grandparents, Morris and Rita Newberg Weiger, and their mother, Harriet Newberg Phillips
    Collection Creator
    Rita R. Weiger
    Ryfka Regina Tewel was born on November 3, 1909, in Bartkowka, Poland, to a Jewish couple. She had five older siblings: Saul, Sara, Hana, Rachel, and Mine. Ryfka’s family was wealthy. Her father owned a ferry that traveled across the San River from Bartkowka to Dynow, a bar, and a lumber business. Ryfka’s mother Hana died when she was eight. Ryfka began working in the family businesses when she was 9. Her family spoke Polish, Yiddish, and German. She learned Hebrew at school. Circa 1937, Ryfka’s father suffered a stroke and became an invalid. Ryfka cared for him until he died a year later.

    Ryfka wanted a different life and decided to emigrate to the United States or Palestine. Her maternal aunt and her husband Saul Birkkrantz lived in Pittsburgh and agreed to sponsor her visa for the US. On July 22, 1938, Ryfka sailed from Southampton, England, on the SS Britannic, arriving in New York on July 31. Ryfka settled in Pittsburgh and changed her name to Rita. She worked at a bakery. Her aunt and uncle wanted her to marry their son, but she refused. In 1941, Rita married Benjamin Newberg, a widower with three children. He owned a large wholesale clothing store and promised to bring Rita’s family to the US. They sent money to her siblings in Poland, but Rita never heard from them again. On September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. World War II had begun and the borders were closed. The war ended when Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945. During the German occupation, at least three million Jewish citizens of Poland were murdered.

    Rita and Benjamin had two daughters. Rita worked with Benjamin in his clothing business. In 1946, Rita corresponded with relatives in displaced persons camps. She learned that most of her family perished in the Holocaust. She believed that her siblings were killed in a concentration camp. She was told that one of her nephews was saved by a non-Jewish woman, but was not able to find him. In September 1946, Rita’s husband Benjamin died. Rita later married Morris Weiger (1913-1994), a Holocaust survivor from Luck, Poland (now Lutsk, Ukraine). Rita, 90, passed away on May 2, 2000, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

    Physical Details

    English Polish German
    1 folder

    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

    Topical Term
    Jewish refugees.

    Administrative Notes

    Donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2013 by Lisa and Jamie Phillips
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 13:43:36
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