The Long Search for the Marcuse Family
Georg Marcuse had only a single lead: the family’s deportation from Theresienstadt ghetto in the fall of 1944. Were they still alive? Who had seen them? The missing person notice was posted to find answers to these questions. People were still returning from the concentration camps “in the East.” Georg Marcuse still cherished hope.
The Marcuses were still free to choose the name they wanted for their son. The law on changing family names and first names was passed two weeks after Peter’s birth. From then on, Jewish parents were obliged to name their newborn Jewish babies from a compulsory list of first names that stigmatized them as Jews.
Erich Marcuse still had hopes of getting out of the camp somehow. After all, his wife Johanna was the illegitimate daughter of a non-Jewish man. Her status under Nazi racial law as a person of “mixed race, first degree” should have protected her from deportation. Hoping to save at least his wife and their son, Erich asked his brother to obtain the missing papers needed for verification. Georg Marcuse actually sent the documents of parentage to Theresienstadt by registered mail.
Text and exhibit selection: Ulrike Neuwirth
Editor: Henriette Kolb, assistance: Lisa Schank
All documents and photographs: Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Georg Marcuse Collection
Photo reproduction: Jens Ziehe
Translation: Karen Margolis
Copy-editing: Julia Bosson
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the donor, Heike Kalz.