Elisabeth Eisner: personal papers

Scope and Content

This collection consists of the personal papers of Elisabeth Eisner, a Jewish refugee from Vienna who fled Austria shortly after the annexation in 1938. As soon as her mother had obtained her domestic permit she joined her in 1939. Included are birth and naturalisation certificates, Heimatschein, qualification, list of belongings brought to England upon emigration, photographs, papers relating to compensation claims and pension payments, as well as a translation of an interview with Elisabeth Eisner in which she tells her life story.

Administrative / Biographical History

Elisabeth Eisner was born in Vienna in 1917, the only daughter of Josef and Mathilde Eisner (née Politzer). Josef Eisner worked as a manager in a men's clothes shop and later as a commercial traveller. Her father was not at home very often and the couple divorced in the 1930s. Elisabeth studied languages at university for one term but because of the financial situation of the family she decided she needed to earn money and became a shorthand typist. She worked in various offices, mainly at Jewish firms, until Austria was annexed into the German Third Reich in March 1938. She managed to flee to England on a domestic permit in October 1938. The family she worked for in London applied for a permit for her mother who followed just before the outbreak of the war in August 1939. In December 1940 after the first air raids on London, Elisabeth and her mother moved to Cambridge for safety. Her father perished in a concentration camp in Lithuania.

Elisabeth maintained an independent lifestyle and worked very hard in post-war Britain. She initially took on work in laundrettes and shops and only later, once her English had improved, she worked as office clerk and secretary for various companies. Her mother passed away in 1970. Elisabeth Eisner retired in 1978.


Chronological and by subject

Access Information

Acquisition Information

Donated by Jill Young



Related Material

See photo archive for photographs (2009/45).