Kessler, Siegfried (b 1879): correspondence

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Papers of Siegfried Kessler, a Czech Jewish exile in London, 1939-1944, chiefly correspondence between organisations and individuals, shedding light on the conditions for Czech Jews in Czechoslovakia in the early years of the Second World War and the processes involved in Jewish emigration from Czechoslovakia.

Administrative / Biographical History

Siegfried Kessler was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, in 1879; he was married with two sons who all accompanied him to England in 1939; and when he left Czechoslovakia he was a retired senior civil servant.

He was a member of the Jewish Social Democratic Workers' Party Poale Zion for 30 years. He was also vice president of the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde (Jewish cultural community), Brno for which organisation he managed the provision of assistance to prospective Jewish emigrants in the late 1930s. It was in this capacity that he was arrested by the Gestapo on the day that the Nazis marched into Czechoslovakia. After release and continual harassment he eventually managed to secure visas for himself and his family and arrived in England in June 1939.

Whilst in England he maintained contact with the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde, Brno and applied himself to assisting with the expatriation of Czech Jews. He was involved with such organisations as the Czech Refugee Trust Fund, the Jewish Agency Group, the Self Aid Association and the Jewish Agency for Palestine.

Conditions Governing Access

Open

Acquisition Information

Kessler family

Other Finding Aids

Description exists to this archive on the Wiener Library's online catalogue www.wienerlibrary.co.uk

Archivist's Note

Entry compiled by Howard Falksohn.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can be made for personal use. Permission must be sought for publication.