Eric and Käthe Curzon: personal papers and correspondence

Scope and Content

This collection contains the personal papers of Eric Curzon and his wife Käthe (née Kupferberg), Jewish refugees who met in London after they had both fled Nazi German persecutions in their home towns of Vienna and Leipzig.

Included are Eric Curzon's papers such as qualifications; Heimatschein; birth, police clearance and naturalisation certificates; last will and testament; and a brief personal account relating to the Austrian annexation and his emigration. Also included is Käthe Curzon's correspondence from family and friends as well as a diary (1939-1941) written in the form of letters to her parents, which she intended to give them upon their reunion. She describes her life at the refugee hostel, the air raids in London, her efforts to find employment and her work as a domestic servant in a London household.

Administrative / Biographical History

Eric Curzon (formerly Erich Kurzer, 1912-1988) was the son of Jacob Kurzer and his wife Paula (née Wolf), a Jewish family from Vienna. Two months after the annexation of Austria, Eric lost his job at the bicycle factory 'Fulgur'. The Gestapo broke into his flat several times. When he heard that the Gestapo was going to arrest him at his home he decided to stay with friends whilst arranging for his escape from Vienna. His first attempt to flee failed. He was arrested, beaten and imprisoned for two weeks. In the summer of 1938 he managed to escape to Belgium. One year later, on 23 May 1939, he arrived in Dover from where was taken to Richborough internment camp, Kent. He joined the first Alien Company of the Pioneer Corps. Eric met his future wife, Irmgard Käthe Kupferberg (born 1914) from Leipzig, at the Anglo-Austrian Society in London. They got married in 1942. After the war he worked as print engineer in the UK and became a member of the Amalgamated Engineers' Union.

Only little is known about Käthe Curzon's background and emigration. She appears to have arrived in England in 1939 and initially stayed at a refugee hostel in London before finding work as a domestic servant. Her brother emigrated to Buenos Aires whilst her father survived the war in Germany. Her mother died during the war under unknown circumstances.



Conditions Governing Access

Acquisition Information

Donated by Monica Gillings