Erich & Fanny Walter and Pilpel family: papers

Scope and Content

This collection contains the personal papers of Erich and Fanny Walter (née Pilpel) and those of her father Emil Leon Pilpel and sister Charlotte Smith (née Pilpel). The sisters emigrated to England as Jewish refugees from Vienna in 1938 and 1939. Their parents did not manage to flee the country and were deported. Erich Walter, a socialist, was stationed with the Czech Army during the Nazi German occupation of the Czech Republic and managed to emigrate three days before the outbreak of the Second World War.

Included are Fanny Pilpel's birth and marriage certificates, school and university reports, Austrian ID card ('Erkennungskarte'), UK certificate of identity, U.S. Armed Forces ID card, Clerical and Administrative Workers' Union membership card and work references; Charlotte Pilpel's German passport, birth certificate, reference from the Jewish Community of Vienna, medical certificate, work reference and diaries (1935-1943, 1949); family correspondence and photographs; Emil Leon Pilpel's birth certificate and Heimatschein, CV, references and job application for a post in England; and Erich Walter's birth certificate and qualifications, Gestapo certificate of imprisonment and his autobiographical account. Also included is a booklet entitled 'While you are in England - Helpful information and guidance for every refugee' published by the German Jewish Aid Committee and a swastika flag.

Administrative / Biographical History

Fanny ('Fay') (born 1916) and Charlotte ('Lotte') Pilpel (born 1921) grew up in Vienna, the daughters of Emil Leon Pilpel (born 1889 in Lemberg, Poland) and his wife Serla (née Miltau, born 1889 in Przemysl). Fanny studied at the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Vienna whilst Charlotte worked as a nanny. Emil Pilpel was a trained bookkeeper and chartered accountant. After the annexation of Austria by Nazi-Germany, life became increasingly difficult for the family. In July 1938, a few weeks before she would have attained her doctor's degree, Fanny had to abandon her studies as an opportunity arose for her to emigrate. Charlotte received permission to emigrate in May 1939. Emil Pilpel had to sign an agreement to emigrate within six weeks by the end of March 1939 to avoid arrest. His efforts to find work in England were in vain. Emil and Serla Pilpel sent their last Red Cross letter to their children in May 1942. They were later deported to an extermination camp near Minsk where they perished.

Fanny Pilpel got married to Erich ('Eric') Walter on 7 December 1946. Erich Walter (born 1915) was originally from Reichenberg (Liberec), the second of three sons of textile weaver and socialist, Anton Walter, and his wife Elisabeth (nee Kresalek). Erich Walter was actively involved in various left wing organisations. He was called up to serve in the Czech Army to fight against the German Wehrmacht but they surrendered when the occupation of the Sudentenland was declared. Following these events, his brothers, Adolf and Siegfried, and his father emigrated to England due to the connections of some members of the communist party in England. The Gestapo arrested Erich Walter and imprisoned him at Milovice military camp between March and July 1939. In the meantime, his mother had also received the papers for her emigration. Upon Erich's release he went to the British Consulate in Prague to obtain his emigration permit. He arrived three days before war was declared and joined his family in Manchester. During the war he worked at a munitions and aircraft factory and later volunteered to serve in the Czech Army. Between January 1946 and December 1946 Fanny and Erich Walter worked as interpreters for the Civil Censorship Division of the European Command of the U.S. Armed Forces. Both were naturalised in 1950.


Chronological and by subject

Conditions Governing Access

Acquisition Information

Donated by Nancy Mayo


2010/1 2011/11

Alternative Form Available

Documents relating to Erich Walter are digitised.

Related Material

See photo archive for photographs (2010/1) and photo server for digitised documents