Ilse Sheldon: family correspondence

Scope and Content

This collection contains letters sent to Oskar Bart by his mother Josefine Bart-Eigner in Prague as well as a transcript of an interview with Ilse Sheldon (Josefine Bart-Eigner's daughter). Oscar had emigrated with his wife Erna and their daughter Eva to London in 1938 to escape Jewish persecutions. His sister Ilse emigrated to Palestine whilst their mother stayed behind in Prague and was later deported.

The correspondence concerns Josefine's life as a Jew in Prague, her increasing financial problems and her work at the hat factory which she was forced to sell. Also included are family photographs and a transcript of an interview with Ilse Sheldon, Oskar's sister, who describes her life with her family in Prague, her emigration to Tel Aviv, how they struggled to settle in their new country and Ilse's move to England in 1947. There is also an interview with Michael Sheldon, the son of Ilse Sheldon, talking about the collection.

Administrative / Biographical History

Josefine Bart-Eigner (1884-c1942) and her husband owned a ladies' hat factory in Prague. They had three children: Oskar (b c1907), Ilse (b 1921) and another daughter who died as a child from illness. Oskar ran a retail shop selling ladies' hats with his wife Erna. They had one daughter, Eva. Oskar's sister, Ilse, was born in Vienna. She grew up with her aunts in Vienna until she was five years old, when she moved to her parents in Prague. She attended a girls' school until she was 14 years old. Ilse met her future husband William, a journalist, aged 16. They both worked for Oskar's business for a short period of time. Oskar sold his business in 1938 and decided to emigrate to England with his wife and daughter, where he set up a new retail business.

Shortly after her brother had left the country, Ilse and her fiancé fled the country using an illegal transport to Palestine via Beirut. The couple initially set up a bakery in Tel Aviv, which they had to sell when William joined the army. William however deserted from the army. The couple hid at a kibbutz where their son, Uri, was born. After her husband's suicide in the mid 1940s, Ilse moved to her brother in England, where she met her second husband, Marek Sheldon, a Czechoslovakian Jew. They had one son, Michael.

Oskar tried to obtain a permit for his mother Josephine Bart-Eigner to follow him to England. In the meantime Josefine had to sell her business but continued working there as an employee. She was deported to Theresienstadt in 1942 and from there to Izbica ghetto, Poland, where she perished.



Conditions Governing Access

Acquisition Information

Donated by Michael Sheldon



Alternative Form Available

Photographs also held on CD

Related Material

For photographs see photo server (Sheldon, Ilse_Doc 1818) and for interview with son Michael Sheldon see audio server.