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Olga Weiss (left) sits by a table in Davos, Switzerland where she is recuperating in a TB sanatorium.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 50928

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    Olga Weiss (left) sits by a table in Davos, Switzerland where she is recuperating in a TB sanatorium.
    Olga Weiss (left) sits by a table in Davos, Switzerland where she is recuperating in a TB sanatorium.


    Olga Weiss (left) sits by a table in Davos, Switzerland where she is recuperating in a TB sanatorium.
    Circa 1935 - 1939
    Davos, Switzerland
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Egon Weiss

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Egon Weiss

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Egon (later Ed) Weiss is the son of Emil Weiss (b. 9/13/1891) and Olga Kirschner Weiss (b. 2/14/1897). Egon was born on August 5, 1920 in Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad) where his family owned a store. Though the city was located in Czechoslovakia before the war, the Weiss family was primarily German speaking. Egon had a younger sister Edith born (1/29/23) and a younger brother Tomy whom he never met, born in Theresienstadt in 1942. Since the family had a number of relatives who had already immigrated to the United States, they also applied for immigration papers. In late September 1938, Germany annexed the Sudetenland which included Karlovy Vary. Following the annexation the family moved to Pilsen. The Weisses expected to receive their papers for America at any moment. However, since Egon as a young man he was most at risk, they decided to send him separately to Palestine so that he could leave Czechoslovakia as soon as possible. The family planned for him to join them in the States once they had immigrated. Egon traveled to Prague and then to Vienna where he boarded a river boat down the Danube. In Romania he boarded the Milos, one of three sister ships headed for illegally Palestine. After arriving in November 1940, the British were determined not to allow the passengers to land and instead to deport them to Mauritius. The passengers of the Milos were then transferred onto the Patria for deportation. The Haganna (the Jewish underground army) decided to thwart the plan by planting a small explosive, just large enough to disable the ship. Unfortunately they planted too much explosive causing the ship to sink. Though many passengers died in the explosion, Egon managed to swim to shore. The British permitted the surviving passengers to remain in Palestine but interned them in the Athlit camp. Egon remained in incarcerated there for one year before his release. He then moved to Jerusalem. In 1947 he immigrated to the United States.

    His parents and sister never received their awaited immigration papers. They were deported to Theresienstadt on January 30, 1942. Edith was then deported to Auschwitz on September 6, 1943. Emily was deported to Auschwitz one year later on September 28, 1944 and Olga was sent on October 4, 1944. None of them survived. In 1955 Egon Weiss married Elizabeth Schnitzler, an Auschwitz survivor from Nagykallo.

    While in Palestine, Egon Weiss kept a diary describing his voyage on the Milos, the explosion of the Patria, his internment in Athlit and subsequent years in Jerusalem. He donated this diary with English translation to the Holocaust Museum.
    Record last modified:
    2011-02-07 00:00:00
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