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Silk circus print handkerchief brought to the US by a Jewish family fleeing German occupied Poland

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

White silk handkerchief with a colorful circus design that Nadzieja Klein took with her when she, her husband, Jerzy, 3 year old daughter, Joanna, and her aunt, Elizawieta Palcew, escaped Warsaw, Poland, 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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Details

  • Title: Silk circus print handkerchief brought to the US by a Jewish family fleeing German occupied Poland
  • Provenance: The handkerchief was 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: Dress Accessories
  • Rights: Permanent Collection
  • External Link: See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Medium: White silk handkerchief with a hemmed border. There is an inner undecorated white square with a border of thin yellow, red, light blue, and black lines. Next is a wide circus print border with colorful animals, clowns, and performers doing stunts. On the outer edge is a border of thin lines in black, blue, red, and yellow.

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