Child identification card issued to Sonja Krips.
Photograph | Photograph Number: 61773
1941 November 14
- Photo Credit
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Sonja Muhlberger
Child identification card issued to Sonja Krips.
- Sonja Muhlberger (born Sonja Krips) is the daughter of Hermann and Ilse Krips, nee Herzfeld. She was born on October 26, 1939 in Shanghai. Her younger brother Peter was born in 1945. Hermann (b. 1910 in Frankfurt am Main), who came from non-religious family, left the Jewish community when he was just 14. He became a salesman and ran a small wholesale business that he had bought from a Jewish emigre to the United States. He owned it together with the Aryan Wilhelm Welter. Ilse (b. 1918 in Steinheim) also came from a non-religious family, and she even attended a Catholic high school. Sonja's parents met in Frankfurt at the sports club "Schild" and married in February 1938. Even though Hermann and Ilse were not members of the Jewish community, they nonetheless felt threatened by the Nazi policy and planned to leave Germany. They hoped to immigrate to Palestine since Hermann's parents and his younger brother, Walter Krips, had already moved to Haifa. In November 1938 Hermann was arrested in the week following Kristallnacht and sent to Dachau concentration camp. On December 19, 1938 he and Ilse received a passport with exit visas for China and Palestine. Ilse succeeded in getting forms for entry visas for Shanghai with the help of a cousin who was living in Amsterdam. With those papers and their promise to leave Germany, she obtained the release of her husband from Dachau. He had to report to the Gestapo every day until their final departure on March 27, 1939. A schoolfriend of Hermann, who worked for a travel agency, helped them to get their passage on a ship. They were only allowed to take only 20 kilograms of luggage and 10 marks per person. Before leaving Germany, Ilse and Hermann stopped in Munich to attend the wedding of Ilse's brother Kurt and his wife Paula. They, their son Danny and Paula's parents would later perish in Auschwitz. In Genoa they boarded the "Bianca mano" and arrived in Shanghai at the end of April; Ilse was already pregnant with Sonja. Hermann and Ilse tried to get visas for Birobidjan - the capital of the autonomous Jewish district- but with the beginning of the war they were unable to obtain them. Soon after their arrival, Hermann and Ilse joined an anti-fascist group that worked illegally in Shanghai and later initiated the formation of the "Society of the Democratic Germans in Shanghai". After the Japanese took control over Shanghai, all immigrants who were considered stateless were moved to a ghetto in Hongkew. Sonja's parents already were living there, but this run-down part of town became extremely overcrowded, and no one could leave without a permit. Ilse started working as a seamstress, but Hermann had more problems finding a job. He first started a bakery and sold "Sonny-bread" which had Sonja's portrait on its label. After he had to close it, Hermann worked for about three months in 1941 as a correspondent for the "Committee for the Assistance of European Jewish refugees in Shanghai", and later became an egg dealer. Homes in Hongkew lacked indoor plumbing and there was a constant threat of disease. When she was seven months old, Sonja became sick from dysentery. She was saved by the pediatrician Dr. Mosse who gave her a direct blood transfusion from her father. Sonja attended the English speaking Kadoori School for about two years. Her mother read German tales to her at home; Sonja once asked her what a forest is; she had not seen one since they were not allowed to leave the ghetto. In 1945 Shanghai was bombed several times. Since there were no bunkers, Sonja and her father crouched under a metal bed on the first floor of their building belonging to the two grown daughters of the Klawansky family, while her mother cared for her newborn brother. After the war Hermann and Ilse planned to return to Germany, a decision that was attacked by some other emigres. The family left Shanghai on board of the "Marine Lynx" on the 25th July 1947 and reached Naples on August 16th. Then they traveled on a freight train to Germany with 291 other Germans that were returning to Berlin. Reaching Berlin on August 21st they first stayed in a camp and then moved into an apartment in Falkensee. The family later moved to Babelsberg where Sonja's two younger sisters were born: Vera in 1951 and Rita in 1953. Sonja completed her education in Germany and eventually became a teacher.
- Photo Source
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial MuseumProvenance: Sonja Muhlberger
Record last modified: 2004-02-11 00:00:00
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