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Oscar Stein papers

Document | Not Digitized | Accession Number: 2016.209.1

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    Collection of manuscript texts of poetry copied from underground periodicals, circa 1938, which had originated in Germany during the period from 1933-1936, along with a typescript memoir by Stein, circa 2015-2016, which describes his family's experiences following the German annexation of Austria and the family's subsequent escape. The underground publications were received and copied by Oscar Stein while he was employed at the Palästina Amt in Vienna. Approximately 80 leaves, containing over 100 poems, from authors such as Bertolt Brecht, Stefan Heym, Oskar Maria Graf, Walter Mehring, Erich Mühsam, Erich Weinert, Johannes Becher, and others. The typescript memoir consists of several essays, describing Stein's family, his account of watching his synagogue in Vienna burn during Kristallnacht, his older brother's escape to Palestine, the escape of Stein and his father to Hungary in late 1939, their experiences in Budapest during 1939-1940, and the family's escape from Europe and immigration to the United States in 1940.
    creation:  1938-2016
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Oscar Stein
    Collection Creator
    Oscar Stein
    Oscar Stein was born in Vienna in 1923, one of three children of Baruch and Serena Stein. Following the German annexation of Austria and the imposition of its anti-Semitic policies, some members of Oscar's family began to explore the possibility of immigration to Palestine. Oscar had begun working at the Palästina Amt, or Palestine Bureau, where he occasionally read and copied poetry from undergroud magazines that he obtained there. Stein's older brother, Miki, threatened by a former classmate who had since joined the Nazi party, escaped on an illegal transport to Palestine, and succeeded in settling there, subsequently living the rest of his life in Israel. After the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, the authorities ordered all males older than the age of 15, with Polish passports, to report to the police station. Stein and his father fit this description and went to the designated station to register. While waiting in line, Stein's father noticed that of all of the men who went in to the station, none of them emerged from it, and sensing something was amiss, he and his son slipped out of line, walked away, and went into hiding. Many years later, Stein learned that the men who were being registered that day were subsequently sent to Dachau, where many of them perished. While in hiding, Stein and his father learned of an opportunity to escape into Hungary, where they could be sheltered by the family of Stein's mother, the Tellers. With the help of a Hungarian acquaintance, they were able to cross the border disguised as day laborers returning from work in the evening, and went to live with their relatives in Budapest for the next several months. In Vienna, during this time, Stein's Hungarian-born mother, who had applied for visas to the United States, succeeded in obtaining them for herself, her husband, and sons Oscar and Leo, and she was able to depart from Vienna to the United States, by way of Trieste in February 1940. She had arranged for tickets and visas to be sent to Budapest for Oscar and his father, and by this means they were able to leave and immigrate to the United States, via Genoa, in May 1940.

    Physical Details

    German English
    2 folders

    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

    Gift of Oscar Stein, 2016.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 13:44:18
    This page:

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