Ruth Haber in Durban, South Africa.
Photograph | Photograph Number: 37495
- Photo Designation
JEWISH REFUGEES: SEARCH FOR SAFE HAVENS (1933-1945) -- Emigration/Refugee Assistance -- In Africa
- Photo Credit
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Lily Haber
Ruth Haber in Durban, South Africa.
- Lily Haber (born Lily Juffy) is the daughter of Johan Juffy and Ernestine (Esther) Juffy, nee Osterman. Her father was born in Tarnopol, grew up in Lvov and came to Vienna to study. Her mother was born outside of Krakow and orphaned at a young age. She also eventually moved to Vienna and worked as a photographer's assistant. Johan and Ernestine married in Vienna. Lily was born in 1918. She had an older sister Gisela and a brother Alfred one year younger. Their father passed away at a relatively young age in 1935. As a teenager Lily became active in the Zionist youth movement, Hashomer Hatzair and began dating the leader of the group, Kalman Haber. On March 13, 1938 Germany annexed Austria, and Lily and Kalman went together to Vienna's central plaza to witness the events. Soon afterwards, some Nazis forced Lily's brother Alfred to spend an entire day standing in front of a Jewish shop with a sign telling clients not to buy in Jewish stores; a few days later he escaped illegally into Belgium. Four years later he was arrested in Belgium and deported to Auschwitz where he perished. As a result of the changing political situation, Kalman and Lily decided to marry immediately and immigrate to Palestine. When Lily went to meet Kalman to apply for a marriage license, he failed to appear, and she immediately feared the worse. She learned that he had been arrested that morning as a Zionist leader and held in Lily's former elementary school. He was released ten days later on condition that he leave the country within two weeks. Lily and Kalman married immediately, and Kalman left Austria to join Lily's sister Gisela, who was staying with family in Milan, Italy. Kalman's brother Joseph joined them soon afterwards. Lily remained in Austria to put the family's affairs in order and help her mother emigrate. After barely escaping arrest herself, she flew to Milan to rejoin the rest of the family. From there Lily and Kalman traveled to Switzerland to obtain travel funds from the Swiss Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). Since they were afraid of revealing their plans to the border authorities, they claimed they had come to Switzerland for their honeymoon. Once the couple went to the JDC, however, they were exposed as having entered the country under false pretenses and were thrown in jail. Though they were imprisoned for one night and told they could never return to Switzerland, they did receive money from the JDC. They used to money to return to Italy and purchase tickets to British-controlled Cyprus which they planned to use as a first stop on route to Palestine. However, Lily was not allowed to disembark at Cyprus Lily since her passport was set to expire in three months. Lily eventually obtained a passport, and the couple settled in Nicosia. Kalman worked as a water engineer, and he organized the construction of a reservoir. However, after the start of World War II, the British classified him as an enemy alien. After the Nazis bombed Cyprus on June 1, 1941, Kalman was imprisoned, and the British decided to deport all German and Austrian Jewish refugees. Ironically, they sent the Habers to Tel Aviv, but they had to report to the British police daily to make sure they didn't leave the city and try to settle in the country. After a short stay, they were sent to Egypt and then shipped to Durban, South Africa. From there they were taken to a British refugee camp in Nyasaland (later Mlawi). Kalman and Lily were given one room apartment with a dirt floor without running water. Once Lily became pregnant, she was sent to Zomba to have her baby. After their daughter Ruth was born on March 1, 1943, Lily and Kalman were allowed to remain in Zomba. Though they all contracted malaria, the Habers survived the war safely in Nyasaland. After the war was over, the family immigrated to the United States to join her sister Gisela and Kalman's brother Joseph who had married in the interim. Lily's mother survived the war in Milan and immigrated to the United States in 1947.
- Photo Source
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial MuseumProvenance: Lily Haber
Record last modified: 2007-12-05 00:00:00
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