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Wedding portrait of Kurt Weinlaub and Lily Rehfisch.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 97952

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    Wedding portrait of Kurt Weinlaub and Lily Rehfisch.
    Wedding portrait of Kurt Weinlaub and Lily Rehfisch.


    Wedding portrait of Kurt Weinlaub and Lily Rehfisch.
    July 1929
    Hanover, [Prussian Hanover; Lower Saxony] Germany ?
    Variant Locale
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Peter Vanlaw

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Peter Vanlaw

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Peter Vanlaw is the only child of Kurt Weinlaub (later Vanlaw) and Lily Rehfisch. Lily, the daughter of Luis and Bertha Rehfisch, was born in Essen in 1905 and moved to Hannover during her early childhood. Her uncle, Siegfried Baruch, was a successful publisher in Berlin. Lily lived with him and his family, while she attended school there between 1926 and 1928.

    Kurt Weinlaub immigrated to the United States from Hannover in 1926. In 1929 he returned to Germany to marry Lily Rehfisch, whom he had known since childhood. After their honeymoon, the two returned to the United States together to live. But after the stock market crash, a few months later, Kurt's office was closed and he was transferred back to New York by his employer, Kentucky Needlecraft, a firm that produced luxury bedding items. Returning to New York, the couple drove from Los Angeles beginning in September, 1930. But, when they arrived, Lily felt homesick and chose to return home to Hannover for a family visit. She boarded the SS Europa N. Chatham on October 26th, 1930 and sailed to Bremen. Six weeks later, she returned to New York aboard the SS Europa, arriving on January 10, 1931.

    Then in 1932, Kurt lost his job when his company went out of business. As a result the couple returned to Hannover, where Kurt had a job back in his father's luxury bedding business. But he wasn't happy there. Moving to Berlin just weeks before Hitler took power in January, 1933, they lived briefly with Lily's relatives. But three months later, Kurt's mother Gertrude committed suicide. Anticipating what was to come, Kurt and Lily fled Germany for good, returning once again to Los Angeles. Shortly thereafter, Kurt changed their name to Vanlaw.

    Siegfried Baruch had two children: Berthold or Bari and Eva. Bari was by his first wife Lina Lowenstein. Then Siegfried married the actress, Kaete Horsten, and they had a daughter, Eva Lotta. In 1936, Bari Baruch was imprisoned by the Nazis for being homosexual, and banished to Shanghai, China the following year. Then in 1938, shortly after Kristallnacht, the rest of his family, Siegfried, Kaethe and Eva, fled to Shanghai, where Siegfried continued to work as a publisher until his death in June 1941. Like her mother, Eva also became an accomplished actress in Berlin theater before their departure. In Shanghai, she continued her theatrical career and also worked for the British Ministry of Information, producing and acting in German language radio plays for the British owned station there. In 1941 she produced two anti-Nazi radio plays. As a result, she was wanted by the Gestapo. But she managed to escape Shanghai with her husband and ten other Jewish artists on December 3, 1941 on the last American ship to leave the port, before hostilities began. Landing in Melbourne, but unable to resume her stage career, she worked in a dress shop until 1947, when she was reunited with her mother. The two returned to East Germany where Eva was finally able to resume her career as an actress on stage, radio, and motion pictures. But, after taking a strong anti Government position during the 1958 Workers Rebellion, she was banished from Berlin, and ultimately escaped to West Berlin just before the Berlin Wall was erected. There she continued her career in radio and was a drama coach, until she succumbed to complications from tuberculosis in a hospital in Freiburg, Germany in 1968.
    Record last modified:
    2011-09-01 00:00:00
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