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Special Collections Highlights: Mary Löwenkopf Weiss Papers
In December 1938, Mary Löwenkopf, a 13 year old Jewish girl from Nazi-occupied Vienna, left on a Kindertransport and settled in The Netherlands for the next 8 years. After liberation, she emigrated to the United States.
The Mary Löwenkopf Weiss Papers, a small archival collection in the Dorot Jewish Division documenting this World War II refugee, is a great example of how the remnants of everyday lives can open windows into history.
The collection consists of correspondence, documents and photographs from 1938-1946. The correspondence -- complete with envelopes stamped with the censorship stamp by the Nazi authorities “Geoffnet” (i.e. opened), and addressed with the mandatory middle names (Sara for Jewish women and Israel for the men) -- is largely from Mary’s parents. The letters draw a personal picture of life in Vienna, and later Poland, under Nazi rule.
The documents, mostly issued in The Netherlands, include travel and medical passes, as well as regulations from the Westerbork concentration camp, where Mary was kept in 1942-1945. There are also photos of friends and family, and of Mary herself, often with a few words written at the back: confirmation and reassurance to loved ones.