Betty Wixon: correspondence relating to her estate and German pension

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection contains correspondence relating to the estate of Betty Wixon (née Davidsohn) and her German pension awarded for loss of earnings under the Hitler regime. Included is a copy of her death certificate and draft affidavit for Betty Wixon's restitution claim.

Administrative / Biographical History

Betty Wixon (1907-19850) née Davidsohn, was the daughter of Jewish parents, Michael (c1869-1942) and Roschen (née Kauffmann, 1866-1942) Davidsohn. Betty was born and grew up in Berlin, the youngest of two sisters and one brother. The girls were taught dress making and worked from home whilst the son Emile went on to further education in engineering. Roschen Davidsohn sold the remnant materials from the dressmaking at a market.

In 1928 Betty Wixon married Walter Fürstenberg, a welder, who had just returned after spending approximately seven years fighting in North Africa for the French Foreign Legion. They had one daughter, Kitty, who was born in 1932.

As life became increasingly difficult under the Nazi Regime and Jewish men were forbidden to work, Betty Wixon continued to support the family with the income from her dressmaking. Walter and Betty decided it was time to emigrate but lacking the financial means it was difficult for them to find a country who would accept them. They researched the possibilities of settling in Australia, Venezuela, Singapore amongst others without success.

Finally Walter was successful in joining the Kitchener Camp scheme which had been set up by British Jews in order to retrain Jewish men to learn a trade. This enabled them to enter Britain. He arrived in Britain in April 1939. After the Kitchener camp had been dismantled at the beginning of the war, he was given the options of either joining the British army or be interned on the Isle of Man. Walter chose the former, first in the Pioneer Corp and later as Corporal in the R.E.M.E Corp. He was demobbed in 1946.

With the help of relatives of the Fürstenberg family who had been living in London for many years, Walter was able to arrange for an affidavit for his wife and daughter. However, when Betty arrived with her daughter at Dover, on going through immigration it turned out that her affidavit did not include her six-year-old daughter. The immigration officer turned a blind eye and both mother and daughter arrived in London where they lived for a short time with Walter's uncle and family.

Kitty started going to school and within a short time, some three weeks' after arrival, was evacuated to Norfolk where she lived for about 18 months before re-joining her mother in London. There after they moved around the country following Walter in between returning to London when there were lulls in the bombing but finally remaining there in 1944. During all this time Betty worked first in monition factories and later after returning to London as a private dressmaker.

Walter was never sent abroad during his time in the army but he did take part in one historical event. As an experience welder, he worked under the sea creating the oil pipe line which connected Britain to Northern France to be used for the British invasion into Europe.

Because of his time in the British army, Walter and his family were given one of the first prefabricated homes to live in. The family was given naturalisation status, at the same time changing the family name to Wixon, which was Walter's mother's maiden name. Having been trained as a welder, Walter opened a small workshop making coat and dress rails for the garment industry whilst his wife Betty stayed at home.

In 1945, shortly before the end of the war in Europe, a further daughter was born who was named Sandra Anita and who now lives in Marietta Georgia USA. She is married to Jay Kohlenberg and has two daughters.

Betty's father Michael died in 1942 at the age of 73 after suffering a heart attack. His wife Roschen was deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp on 10 September 1942, where she died on the 7th December of that year.

Arrangement

Chronological

Conditions Governing Access

Acquisition Information

Donated by Kitty Cooper

Note

2010/23