Beige wool/angora dress with self-belt brought to the US by a Jewish family fleeing German occupied Poland

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Beige wool/angora dress with matching belt that Nadzieja Klein took with her when she, her husband, Jerzy, 3 year old daughter, Joanna, and her aunt, Elizawieta Palcew, escaped Warsaw, Poland, on April 20, 1940, after living under German occupation since September 1939. Jerzy had applied for US visas in 1936 following Hitler’s remilitarization of the Rhineland, but was unsuccessful because of restrictive US entry quotas. Jerzy acquired false travel papers for roundtrip travel to Peru via Italy. The family travelled by train to Trieste where they obtained transit permits through Yugoslavia and Greece to Turkey. Up to this point, they had been accompanied by Nadzieja’s brother, wife, and child. But in Istanbul, Nadzieja’s family obtained US visas, valid for 3 months; her brother’s family had not applied previously and continued onto Palestine. Jerzy Klein's family and Elizawieta Palcew were evacuated by the British by train to Baghdad, and then Basra, in Iraq. From there, they sailed to Karachi and Bombay (Mumbai), India, where, in January 1941, they boarded an American cruise liner, the USS President Harrison, and arrived in New York on February 17.

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  • Title: Beige wool/angora dress with self-belt brought to the US by a Jewish family fleeing German occupied Poland
  • Provenance: The dress and belt were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2009 by Joan Kent Finkelstein, the daughter of George and Nadine Kent.
  • Subject Keywords: Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Poland--Warsaw--Personal narratives. Jewish children in the Holocaust--Poland--Warsaw--Biography. Jewish families--Poland--Warsaw. Jewish refugees--United States. World War, 1939-1945--Refugees--United States.
  • Type: Clothing and Dress
  • Rights: Permanent Collection
  • External Link: See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Medium: a. Light brown wool/angora dress with a Peter Pan collar and v-neck front with a short brown zipper, an A-line skirt with a bell shaped insert below the bust, and 2 bottom pleats. The short sleeves have a folded cuff ending in a point. On the front is a knife pleat seam crossing diagonally from the collar bone to the arms; on the back are 2 long vertical seams. b. Long, narrow, light brown wool/angora belt with a fabric covered metal buckle and a triangular end with a snap closure.


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