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Emilia and Edwarda Wang and two family friends sit on the shores of a lake of their estate Poreby Kupienskie, near Kolbuszowa.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 26436

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    Emilia and Edwarda Wang and two family friends sit on the shores of a lake of their estate Poreby Kupienskie, near Kolbuszowa.
    Emilia and Edwarda Wang and two family friends sit on the shores of a lake of their estate Poreby Kupienskie, near Kolbuszowa.

    Overview

    Caption
    Emilia and Edwarda Wang and two family friends sit on the shores of a lake of their estate Poreby Kupienskie, near Kolbuszowa.
    Date
    1938
    Locale
    Poreby Kupienskie, [Kolbuszowa] Poland
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Ellen T. Meth

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Ellen T. Meth
    Source Record ID: Collections: 1999.158.1

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Biography
    Ellen Meth (born Edwarda Tuska Wang) is the daughter of Szymon and Emilia Wang. She was born in Krakow on January 27, 1923, but grew up in Rzeszow, where her father was a wealthy landowner and lumber exporter. After the Polish government confiscated foreign currency reserves, in either 1937 or 1938, Szymon decided to illegally transfer some of his assets to the United States. To do this he needed to come to the United States to invest the money, and he decided to obtain tourist visas to the 1939 New York World's Fair as a cover. However, Emilia, believing America to be uncultured and crime-ridden, refused to go. Edwarda, therefore, accompanied her father instead, and Emilia never obtained an American visa. Shortly after the start of the war in autumn 1939, the family moved to Lvov, in the Soviet sector. Szymon searched for a way to leave the Soviet Union, and was able to obtain exit visas on the strength of the American tourist visas that were still good until June 14, 1940. Szymon did not want to travel without Emilia, but she convinced him to leave on the grounds he had to bring Edwarda out of the country, and it would be easier for him to help Emilia once the rest of the family was living elsewhere. Emilia remained in Lvov, and with their American visas, Edwarda and Szymon left for Turkey in July 1940. Szymon was determined do find a way to bring Emilia out of Europe as well and to find a final destination for himself and Edwarda. By sheer coincidence, he ran into a Polish friend who told him that the Brazilian government was offering 10,000 visas to proven Polish Roman Catholics. He suggested that they obtain baptismal certificates, and that he would vouch for them at the Polish consulate. On the basis of a false affidavit of a Catholic friend, in July 1940 the Polish Consul in Istanbul issued them certificates stating the Edwarda and her father were good Roman Catholics. Szymon in turn later vouched for other Jewish friends who also got certificates in this manner. Emilia, meanwhile, remained in Lvov and was forced to accept Russian citizenship, which barred her from leaving the country. After various attempts, Szymon managed to obtain Nicaraguan citizenship papers from the Nicaraguan consul in Istanbul. He petitioned the Soviet government to allow Emilia to rejoin her "Nicaraguan" husband and sent a new Nicaraguan passport to her in Lvov. Meanwhile, Szymon and Edwarda went from Istanbul to Bombay, India and then to Kobe, Japan. They sailed to the United States in June 1941 on board the Hie Maru while Emilia continued to live as a "foreign national" on the Aryan side. Edwarda and Szymon received their final communication from Emilia in April 1943 saying that she was lonely but otherwise well. They later learned that on the basis of her Nicaraguan passport she was sent to the International Camp of Bergen-Belsen in July 1943 supposedly for a prisoner exchange. Instead, she was deported to Auschwitz in October 1943 where she perished.
    Record last modified:
    2009-05-26 00:00:00
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