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Frieda Neuber:
Failed Emigration


Small leather folder belonging to Frieda Neuber with letters from the years 1939-1942

Small leather folder belonging to Frieda Neuber with letters from the years 1939-1942, donated by Gerda Maison
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jens Ziehe

Document from the American Consulate

Document from the American Consulate addressed to Frieda Neuber with her waiting-list number for her immigration to the USA, Berlin 12 May 1939
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jens Ziehe

Bob Kunzig in April 1946

Bob Kunzig in April 1946 in front of the bombed apartment building on Engeldamm 66. Frieda Neuber and her brother lived here until she was deported.
© private possession and photo: Gerda Maison

Bob Kunzig in April 1946 in front of the bombed apartment building on Engeldamm 66. Frieda Neuber and her brother lived here until she was deported.
© private possession and photo: Gerda Maison

The small leather folder was given to the Jewish Museum Berlin by Gerda Maison.
Frieder Neuber, Gerda’s aunt, had given it to Gerda for safekeeping 65 years earlier, shortly before her deportation to Theresienstadt.

The folder contains letters draughted by Frieda as well as letters and telegrams sent to her over a period of nearly three years. It is primarily correspondence between herself and Bob Kunzig, a young American law student. They had met during Frieda Neuber’s three-year stay in Philadelphia. Bob tried to arrange the emigration of his "Aunt Frieda" to the USA with money he had inherited from his grandmother. The plan failed. On 6 July 1942, Frieda Neuber was deported to Theresienstadt where she was killed.

Friederike Maison and her three siblings Clara, Hermann, and Robert were christened at the St. Jacobi Protestant Church in Berlin on 12 October 1882. Over 50 years later, the four siblings were classified by the "Nuremberg Laws" as "Volljuden" (full-blood Jews). Since their non-Jewish spouses with the exception of the wife of Robert Maison (the father of the donator) were no longer alive, they were completely at the mercy of Nazi persecutory measures.

In her letters, Frieda Neuber describes her arduous daily life in Berlin – swaying between being hopeful and deeply disheartened. Many of the family collections in the Jewish Museum Berlin archive contain letters or news of those who remained in Germany to their emigrated relatives. In very few cases do they include the letters of both correspondence partners as in this case. Bob Kunzig did everything in his power to free Frieda from Germany: He attained an affidavit and a ship passage and urged her to speak personally to the American Consulate. She and two of her sisters were deported to Theresienstadt and just their youngest brother, Robert Maison, survived the war in Berlin.

Object Details:
Small leather folder belonging to Frieda Neuber with letters from the years 1939-1942
Berlin, Philadelphia
Leather, paper, ink, pencil

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