Tony Berger: family letters

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection comprises the personal correspondence received by Tony Berger, a Jewish refugee from Duisburg who was the only one of her siblings to emigrate to England on a domestic visa. Despite her efforts to help her family leave the country, they did not manage to obtain the required documentation in time.

The letters, mainly from her mother, siblings and grandparents, document her family's efforts and hopes for emigration with the help of Tony Berger's new contacts in England as well as Tony Berger's life in London as a refugee employed as a domestic maid. Also included is correspondence with the American Consulate regarding her application for emigration to America. The collection also contains a witty and poignant diary of verses (photocopies) written by Tony's sister, Lotti Berger, at Riga ghetto.

Administrative / Biographical History

Tony Berger (born 1919) originally came from Duisburg where she lived with her mother Anna Berger, her younger sister Lotti (born 1926) and her brother Max (c1923-1945). She was the only person in the family to obtain permission to emigrate to England on a domestic visa in 1939. Her boyfriend, Walter, also emigrated to London but later moved to New York. She stayed with a family in Cricklewood and earned a living doing domestic work. Her grandparents were planning to go to Palestine but could only get permits to live with relatives in Poland in July 1939. They did not survive the Holocaust. Tony's mother, sister and brother did not manage to obtain all the documentation required for emigration in time before the outbreak of the war.

Max Berger was arrested in September 1939 but released shortly after. He was deported to Riga ghetto in December 1941 and moved to Salas Pils concentration camp on 22 December 1941. He returned to the ghetto in September 1942 being very ill. In October 1944 he was transferred to Stutthof concentration camp. Max Berger was shot in February 1945.

Lotti and her mother were also sent to Riga ghetto and survived that and the death march to Hamburg. Lotti secretly kept a verse diary, which is part of this collection. She later married a man who she met at Riga ghetto.

Arrangement

Chronological

Conditions Governing Access

Acquisition Information

Donated by Lester Christie

Note

2012/44

Related Material

Digital copy of diary available