Gerda Mayer: personal papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection contains the personal papers of Gerda Mayer, a Jewish refugee from Czechoslovakia who came to England on a Kindertransport, whilst most of her family perished in the Holocaust.

Included are letters from family and friends (photocopies); copy of 'The emigrants', a compilation of translated letters sent to Gerda from her parents in Czechoslovakia; Johanna Travnicek's application for compensation under the Vertriebenenzuwendungsgesetz 1994; photographs; family trees; correspondence mainly between Gerda Mayer and the family of her rescuer Trevor Chadwick regarding the nomination of Trevor Chadwick as Righteous among the Nations with Yad Vashem, recognition of rescuers Nicholas Winton and Bill Barazetti; papers on Jewish persecution and report of Generalmajor Otto Ernst Remer on the plot against Adolf Hitler on 20 July 1944. Also included is a copy of 'War games' by Jenny Koralek (2002).

Administrative / Biographical History

The Stein family came originally from Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad), Czechoslovakia. Arnold Stein (born in 1890 in Karlovy Vary), was a women's clothes shopkeeper. He got married to Erna Eisenberger (1897-1943) with whom he had a daughter, Gerda Kamilla (born in 1927), and one stepdaughter, Johanna Travnicek (1920-2007), from Erna's previous marriage. Erna owned a knitwear manufacturing business in Karlsbad. The family fled to Prague in 1938 shortly before Hitler's occupation of the Sudentenland. Gerda was sent to England on a Kindertransport flight one day before the Nazi-German invasion in March 1939, aged eleven. Her rescuer was Trevor Chadwick whose family she stayed with and who took over the rescue operation in Prague from Nicholas Winton.

Arnold Stein was last heard of by his daughter Gerda in June 1940 from Lemberg (Russian occupied Poland). He and his brothers and step-mother perished in the Holocaust, presumably at Auschwitz concentration camp. Gerda's step-mother, Erna, was deported from Prague to Theresienstadt concentration camp in October 1942. She was transferred to Auschwitz in January 1943 where she perished. Gerda's step-sister Johanna was half-Jewish. She survived the war and was working as a bank clerk in Prague during the Second World War. She settled down in East Germany after the war.

Gerda continued her education at various boarding schools in England. She got married to Adolf Mayer, a fellow refugee from Vienna in 1949. He had emigrated in 1939 and served in the British Army from 1940 to 1946. After the war he worked as office manager and set up his own import business in 1960. Gerda Mayer published poetry ('Contemporary poets') and contributed to several magazines and anthologies with poetry for adults and children.

Arrangement

Chronological and by subject

Conditions Governing Access

Acquisition Information

Donated by Gerda Mayer

Note

2010/25

Related Material

See also photo archive for photograph (Doc 1809)