Jakob Wühl: family correspondence

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection consists of letters received by Jakob Wühl in London from members of his family, German speaking Jews of Polish nationality, who lived in Leipzig. Also included is correspondence between other family members. The family became victims of the 'Polen-Aktion', a series of expulsions and deportations in the earlier stages of the Holocaust. These events precede the November pogroms and never attracted much international attention despite the brutality involved. The collection thus highlights an early phase of the persecution of Jews which seems largely forgotten and overshadowed by later events.

A poignant aspect of the 'Polen-Aktion' was that among the deported were the parents of Herschel Grynspan, who in revenge shot the embassy secretary Ernst von Rath, which triggered the 'Kristallnacht'. Whilst the 'Polen-Aktion' hit all parts of the country, it was especially dramatic in Leipzig where a large number of Polish Jews lived.

The collection reflects the confusion and hurt experienced by the family's sudden expulsion, their hasty preparations for emigration, and the miseries and uncertainties of their lives in their new respective countries.

The collection also contains a pamphlet entitled 'Remember the Warsaw Ghetto' issued by the Federation of Polish Jews in Great Britain and notes on the collection with summaries of the correspondence in English.

Administrative / Biographical History

Jakob Wühl was one of the first members of the family to leave Germany to settle, unusually for Polish Jews from Leipzig, in London. Leipzig was the centre of the fur trade and most of the family worked in that industry. Jakob's parents, his brothers Isidore ('Isi') and Josef, his sister Toni who was married to Chaim, and their two daughters, emigrated to Poland. Chaim had a brother, Sholem (?), who lived in Belgium at the time. Another sister of Jacob, Ella, was still in Leipzig in 1938/1939, and a third sister, Erna, was in London.

Arrangement

Chronological

Conditions Governing Access

See Wiener Library access conditions at: http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/usinglibrary/usingthelibrary.aspx

Acquisition Information

Donated by Ruth Friedberg (née Wühl), daughter of Jakob Wühl.

Note

2005/15

Related Material

See also Photo Archive 2005/15 for photographs.

Family Names