Terfus family: personal papers

Scope and Content

This collection comprises the papers of Michael and Charlotte Terfus, Jewish refugees from Berlin who fled Nazi persecution in March 1939. Charlotte's parents and Michael's sister were unable to emigrate and were later deported to concentration camps where they perished.

Included are Michael Terfus' qualifications and work references, medical certificate, copies of marriage certificate, military service papers such as official record of Army service, prayer book for Jewish sailors and soldiers, British Legion membership card, Ex-Service (N.B.) Association membership card as well as German and British passports. The correspondence from family and friends includes postcards from Jews' Temporary Shelter in East London, last Red Cross message from Michael's sister, Manja Terfus, in Berlin and letter from a friend at Kitchener camp. Also contains correspondence and affidavits relating to Charlotte's compensation claim for the loss of her parents' life, photographs and press cutting relating to the Adolf Eichmann trial.

Administrative / Biographical History

Michael Terfus (1908-1971) was born in Ryzsan, Russia, son of Jakob and Dora Terfus. He worked as a dental technician in Berlin. In January 1939, Michael got married to Charlotte Majus (1914-2005) from Berlin, only daughter of Hermann and Fanny Majus (née Ascheim) of Poland and Austria respectively. Charlotte was pregnant when she and her husband escaped Nazi persecution on a one-way exit permit to England in March 1939. They initially lived at the Jews' Temporary Shelter in London's East End. In 1940, Michael Terfus joined the British Army Pioneer Corps. Charlotte gave birth to Deborah in September 1939 in St Albans, Hertfordshire. Both were evacuated to Chard, Somerset. Michael and Charlotte had another daughter in 1943, Jacqueline Zucker (née Terfus).

Charlotte's parents were last heard of from the ghetto at Lemberg (Lvov), Poland. Michael's sister, Manja Terfus, was deported to Auschwitz concentration camp, where she perished in 1943.

Michael and Charlotte were naturalised in 1947 and settled down in west London after the war. Michael continued his profession as a dental mechanic. In 1946 Michael Terfus was approached by the Jewish Welfare Board who asked if he could teach dentistry to some concentration camp survivors. After the death of Michael Terfus in 1971, Charlotte emigrated to Israel where she got married to Willie Mantel, whom she had been promised to when she was about 15 years old.



Conditions Governing Access

Acquisition Information

Donated by Deborah Terfus



Related Material

See also photo archive for photographs (2010/54) and photo server for digitised photographs (Terfus family_Doc 1812)