Ilse Shatkin: diary and papers

Scope and Content

This collection comprises the personal papers of Ilse Shatkin, a former Jewish refugee from Vienna who emigrated to England on the Kindertransport in 1939. She lost her mother in the Holocaust.

Included are a copy of her diary (1935-1947) together with a translation into English (from 1939), letters addressed to her father Armin Grünwald as well as birth certificate and certificate of Austrian citizenship of Armin Grünwald. The diary documents Ilse's life as a refugee in England. She found it very difficult to adjust to her situation, often felt homesick, and missed her mother and friends in Vienna. She writes about her concerns for her friends and family as war progresses, the bombings in London and her concerns about the future.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ilse Shatkin (née Grünwald) originally came from Vienna. She emigrated to England as a 15-year-old teenager on the Kindertransport scheme in 1939. She initially spent 10 days in a refugee camp at Dover Court before being transferred to London where she stayed with various host families and in refugee hostels. Ilse refused to attend boarding school which the Jewish Refugee Committee had organised for her. Instead she wanted to earn money and took on casual jobs such as factory work. She was working as a waitress from 1942.

Ilse's father, Armin Grünwald, was a merchant born in Vienna in 1886. According to the surviving correspondence he was living in Zurich by 1938 where he stayed throughout the Second World War. Ilse's mother stayed behind in Austria. She was meant to follow her daughter to England but did not manage to obtain a permit. She was deported to a concentration camp in Poland in 1941 where she perished. Armin's mother and his sister Anna Perker and her husband were deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp (letters dating from 1942-1943). Armin's mother died there in 1943. His sister's fate is unknown.



Conditions Governing Access

Acquisition Information

Donated by Daniel Jowell