Erica Prean: copy personal correspondence and family history research

Scope and Content

This collection contains correspondence regarding the family history of Erica Prean. Research into the history of the family was carried out as part of a project at the Walburgisgymnasium in Menden to commemorate the lives of the Jewish citizens who were victims of the Shoa. Included is a photocopy of a family photograph.

Also included are transcripts and translations into English of letters sent to Ilse Bernstein and her daughter Erica in England from Ilse's parents Carl and Emmy Bernstein and aunt Adda (1939-1940).

Administrative / Biographical History

Erica Prean's grandfather Carl Bernstein was born in Menden, North Rine-Westphalia, in 1874. He married Emmy (née Mayer) and had a textile business in Aachen, North Rine-Westphalia. He perished in the Holocaust in 1942. They had two daughters, Ellen and Ilse, who emigrated to England. Ilse took her daughter Erica with her to England.

Erica's great aunt Rosalie Bernstein (born in 1864) married Siegfried Ephraim (1853-1924). They owned a textile shop in Menden. Their son Wilhelm was born in 1903. The business got into increasing financial difficulties during the Nazi regime and was subject to anti-semitic attacks. The shop was damaged during the November pogroms in 1938. Wilhelm got married to Ruth Schürmann in 1938. They had a son, Denny, in 1940. The whole family tried in vain to emigrate. They were deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1942 where Rosalie died. Ruth, Wilhelm and Denny were transported on to Auschwitz concentration camp where they also perished.

Erica's second great aunt Amalie Bernstein (born in 1872) lived in Menden until 1908. When she got married to Eduard Kleinmann she moved to Hagen, North Rhine Westphalia, where he had an egg business. They had two children: Helene (born in 1908) and Erich (born in 1913). Both children fled to Belgium in 1938 where they lived in hiding throughout World War Two. Helene worked in various households for very little money and Erich worked in the country. As Eduard was a Polish Jew Amalie also adopted Polish nationality with the marriage. In October 1938 all Polish Jews living in Germany were deported to Poland including Amalie and Eduard. Amalie died in a forced labour camp in Lemberg (now Lviv, Ukraine). The circumstances of Eduard's death are unknown. After the Second World War Helene volunteered to help Jewish survivors. Helene and Erich later emigrated from Belgium to the USA.

The third great aunt of Erica Prean, Paula Filter (born in 1877), committed suicide to avoid deportation. Her non-Jewish husband Hans Filter (1892-1965) survived the war. Her son Josef Winter, born 1914, was deported in 1942 and was killed.



Conditions Governing Access

See Wiener Library access conditions at:

Acquisition Information

Donated by Erica Prean


2007/22 and 2008/34