Ilse Eton papers

Scope and Content

A large part of the collection relates to restitution claims made by Helene Ursell, Leo Einhorn and Ilse Eton herself. Helene Ursell was represented in Germany by a former family friend and lawyer, the previous mayor of Attendorn. Her claim was for the loss of property, including furnishings, paintings, silverware etc. and the legacy of her parents. She also brought a case for her pension claims as the widow of Siegfried Ursell

Leo Einhorn started his claim in 1955 and he went through the United Restitution Office (URO) who represented his claim, mainly compensation for his imprisonment and also his life in hiding between 1940 and 1945 in Berlin. Bruce and Ilse represented his interests throughout the case. He also claimed for the loss of his furrier business including a warehouse and smaller items, such as a radio, a fur coat and silverware.

Ilse Eton was represented by a family friend in Germany, who helped her to file a claim for her loss of education and therefore loss of professional opportunities. She later on took the opportunity to pay towards a German pension.

From the mid-1980s onward, Ilse Eton became involved with researchers working on Holocaust rememberance and memorials in Germany, particularly with those active in Düsseldorf and the Jawne School in Cologne. Some of her letters contain information not just about her own experiences but that of other refugees. Her work for the Society for the Protection of Science and Learning (SPSL) is mentioned but not in any detail.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ilse Julie Eton was born as Ilse Julie Ursell 25 February 1922 in Düsseldorf. She had to leave school in 1938 and enrolled on and English course at the Jawne School in Cologne from Easter to December 1938 to prepare for English school exams. Her brother Fritz had fled to England in 1936, so Ilse and her parents Siegfried and Helene Ursell escaped to England in January 1939. Ilse initially went to school in Bournemouth and then studied at Reading University from 1940 - 1943. She worked for the BBC and from 1945 - 1951 as a secretary for the Society for the Protection of Science and Learning (SPSL) in Cambridge. She married Bruce Eton (also a German Jewish Refugee, formerly Bruno Einhorn) in 1954. Bruce became a successful gynaecologist and obstetrician in Cambridge and in 1961 the couple moved to St. Leonhards, as Bruce became a consultant in Hastings. Ilse Eton took on the role as his secretary and personal assistant. They had two children. From the mid 1980s onwards, Ilse Eton became involved with Holocaust rememberance groups, particularly from Düsseldorf and around the Jawne School in Cologne. She traveled with her husband to Germany multiple times to visit friends and to attend memorial events in Germany.

Bruce Eton was born Bruno Einhorn on 16 January 1914 in Berlin. He left Germany in 1933 for Italy and then Switzerland and finally England in 1939. After brief internment in 1940 and service in the Pioneer Corps, he finally qualified in 1943 and joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1944. On the advice of the War Office, he changed his name to Bruce Eton before serving in mainland Europe. In June 1945 he went to Berlin to find his father (Leo Einhorn), who had been living illegally in Berlin between 1940 and 1945. Bruce Eton stayed in Berlin for nine months where he looked after his severely malnourished father, who followed to London in late 1946. On demobilisation in 1946 he trained as an obstetrician and became senior registrar in 1952 in Cambridge. He took up a consultant position in Hastings in 1961, where he worked until he retired in 1979. He was awarded the Hastings Order of 1066 in 2002 and the MBE in 2004. In retirement he worked for the local Blind Association and sang with Opera South East. He died on 28 October 2007.

Conditions Governing Access

Items in the collection may be consulted for the purpose of private study and personal research, within the controlled environment and restrictions of The Keep's Reading Rooms.

Other Finding Aids

An online catalogue is available on The Keep's website .

Archivist's Note

Note created by S Teuteberg July 2016.

Conditions Governing Use

COPIES FOR PRIVATE STUDY: Subject to copyright, conditions imposed by owners and protecting the documents, digital copies can be made.

PUBLICATION: A reader wishing to publish material in the collection should contact the Head of Special Collections, in writing. The reader is responsible for obtaining permission to publish from the copyright owner.

Custodial History

Donated by Ilse Julie Eton