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Portrait of American Jewish signal corps photographer Kurt Enfield with his movie camera.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 99251

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    Portrait of American Jewish signal corps photographer Kurt Enfield with his movie camera.
    Portrait of American Jewish signal corps photographer Kurt Enfield with his movie camera.


    Portrait of American Jewish signal corps photographer Kurt Enfield with his movie camera.
    Circa 1942 - 1945
    United States
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Jill Enfield

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Jill Enfield

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Hans Heinrich Ehrenfeld (later Henry Enfield) is the grandfather of the donor, Jill Enfield. Hans was married to Alice Bluethenthal. They lived in Frankfurt and had two sons, Kurt (b. July 23, 1921) in and Paul (b. February 19, 1924). Hans Ehrenfeld owned the store F. Ehrenfeld: Haus der Geschenke (House of Gifts) together with his older brother Gustav and mother Jeanette (nee Schloss). The business, founded in 1874, had several branches and was one of the largest electronics distributors in Germany. It sold jewelry, leather goods, radios, record players and was a major distributor of Leica cameras. Shortly after Hitler took power in 1933, Hans was taken into protective custody for three days, told he should leave the country within the next five years and then released. In December 1935 Hans and Alice were advised to take Kurt out of his German high school. The following month Kurt left for England to complete his education. After his graduation, he obtained an apprenticeship at Wallace Heaton Ltd, a prominent photographic dealer, through the assistance of Ernst Leitz, the head of Leica cameras. Paul was trained at the Leitz factory in Wetzlar. In August 1938, three months before Kristallnacht, Enfield approached Leitz for advice about liquidating his assets and relocating to the United States. Leitz had assisted many Jewish associates in what became known as the "Leica Freedom Train." Under the guise of assigning them to Leitz offices overseas, he helped them find jobs overseas and emigrate from Germany. Leitz suggested to Ehrenfeld that he contact Alfred Turk, Leica's sales director who helped obtain visas for Hans and his brother. During Kristallnacht both Hans and Gustav were imprisoned in Buchenwald on November 11, 1938. However, they were released after only ten days since they had appointments with the US Consul in Stuttgart to have their visa applications processed. After receiving their visas, the Gestapo demanded that their business be closed. Alfred Turk also sent a letter of introduction on behalf of the Ehrenfelds to Leica's NY office. Unfortunately, a Nazi in the factory leaked this letter to the Gestapo, and the Gestapo arrested Turk for assisting Jews. He was released three weeks later through Leitz's intercession.

    Hans, Alice and Paul left Germany in March 1939. Kurt also joined them having obtained a passport from the German Consulate in Liverpool on condition that he never returned to Germany. They arrived in New York on March 4, 1939. Hans the established a new camera store in Miami Beach based on his former store in Frankfurt. Kurt worked with his father in the store until he was drafted as a signal corps cameraman in 1944. Gustav Ehrenfeld and wife Malwina left Germany on January 24, 1939 and also came to the United States after spending a year in London. Their daughter Marianne also received a letter of introduction from Leitz so that she could get a job in America. She immigrated to New York at the age of 16 and worked in a darkroom.

    [Source: Frank Dabba Smith 2011]
    Record last modified:
    2019-12-19 00:00:00
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