Karl Bach papers 1988.1308

Finding aid prepared by Judith Janec
Tauber Holocaust Library
JFCS Holocaust Center
2245 Post Street
San Francisco, CA, 94115
415-449-3717
tauberholocaustlibrary@jfcs.org


Title: Karl Bach papers
Identifier/Call Number: 1988.1308
Contributing Institution: Tauber Holocaust Library
Language of Material: Multiple languages
Storage Unit: Archives Box 6
Physical Description: 1.0 Folder(s)
Date (inclusive): 1938-1949
Language of Materials note: Materials are in English and German. English language translations are available for German materials.
Abstract: This collection is comprised of the correspondence of German emigrant Karl Bach realting to his efforts to obtain visas to the United States for family members living in Germany. The correspondence spans the years 1938-1941, and includes both personal and official letters.
Creator: Bach, Karl

Biographical/Historical note

Absent biographical sources, this collection history and biography is drawn from the documents themselves and is supplemented by copies of ship manifests obtained through online genealogical resources.
The collection documents the experiences of the extended German Jewish Katten family of Halsdorf, Germany. The extended Katten family included two sisters - Paula Katten Bach (b. 1886) and Johanna Katten Lowenstein (b. 1896) -- and two brothers -- Herman Katten (b. 1890) and Meier Katten (birthdate unknown). Paula Katten Bach was married to Leopold Bach (b. 1886); they had two children -- Karl Bach (b. 1917) and Sanni Bach (b. 1919). Johanna Katten Lowenstein was a widow with four children - Karl, Jenny, Trude and Friedrich. Herman Katten emigrated to the United States in 1902, at the age of 13, to join family members in Stockton, California. The children of Meier Katten included Fritz Katten (b. 1914), Sanni Katten Hammerschlag (b.1916), Ilse Katten (b. 1920) and Herman Katten (b. 1922). Hermann Hammerschlag (b. 1895) was the husband of Sanni.
Karl Bach emigrated to the United States from Germany. He arrived in the United States on April 2, 1937, sponsored by his uncle Meier Katten. His parents, Leopold and Paula Katten Bach, and his sister Sanni arrived in October of the same year.
Fritz Katten and Herman Katten had emigrated earlier; Fritz arrived on April 24, 1934 and Herman, the youngest of that family, arrived on May 18, 1936. Both were sponsored by their uncle Herman Katten, who lived in Stockton, California.
Other members of the Katten family remained in Germany. In March 1938 Mr. Bach was living in New York City, where he approached a distant relative, Helen Elman, wife of violinst Mischa Elman, to persuade her to assist in providing affidavits for family members in Germany. Mr. and Mrs. Elman sponsored the Hammberschlags and they arrived in the United States on July 13, 1939. Ilse Katten was sponsored by Leopold Bach, who was then living in San Francisco, California, and arrived on October 25, 1939. Their parents, sponsored by Hermann Hammberschlag, arrived in New York on December 24, 1940.
The Lowenstein family remained behind. Karl Bach made extraordinary efforts to secure their freedom, but documents in the collection, confirmed by the Yad Vashem Shoah Victims' Names Database, indicate that the family was not able to leave and that all its members perished during the Holocaust.

Conditions Governing Use note

There are no restrictions to use for this collection.

Conditions Governing Access note

There are no restrictions to access for this collection.

Preferred Citation note

Karl Bach papers, Collection No. 1988.1308, Tauber Holocaust Library - JFCS Holocaust Center, San Francisco, California

Scope and Contents note

This collection, composed of family and official correspondence, documents the attempts of a family of American Jews and recent emigrants to obtain visas for family members left behind in Europe. The correspondence, which spans the years 1939-1941, is in English and in German; English translations are available. It is arranged in chronological order.
The collection concerns the extended family of Bach, Katten, Hammerschlag and Loewestein. Correspondence includes a handwritten note from the wife of the violinist Mischa Elman, a relative of the family.
Family correspondence includes letters written by Karl Bach to cousins in Germany about his efforts to obtain affidavits on their behalf, as well as a poignant letter written by his cousin Ilse who was hoping to emigrate. Official correspondence includes letters of reference, and numerous exchanges from aid organizations.
The collection may be of interest to those wishing to learn more about the frustrations and difficulties of obtaining necessary documentation and funding for affidavits and visas, and provides insight into sometimes troublesome family dynamics.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Elman, Helen K., 1899-1994
Elman, Mischa, 1891-1967
Germany -- Emigration and immigration
Jewish families -- correspondence
Jewish families -- Germany
Jewish refugees -- Germany

 

Correspondence 1938-1941

Language of Material: Multiple languages
 

Mrs. Mischa Elman note to Karl Bach undated, probably March 1938

Language of Material: English
 

Karl Bach letter to National Council of Jewish Women 1938 April 3

Language of Material: English
 

Karl Bach letter to unnamed relatives in Germany 1938 March 24

Language of Material: German
 

Ilse Katten letter to Karl Bach 1938 May 30

Language of Material: German
 

Ruolf Mayer letter to Hermann Katten, Stockton, California 1938 December 8

Language of Material: German
 

Hermann and Sanni Hammerschlag telegram to Leopold Bach 1939 April 25

Language of Material: German
 

Leopold Bach remitter's receipt 1939 May 31

Language of Material: English
 

Sanford Treguboff of San Francisco Committeee for Service to Emigres letter to German Jewish Aid Committee on behalf of Karl Lowenstein 1939 June 2

Language of Material: English
 

Sanford Treguboff of San Francisco Committee for Service To Emigres letter to Karl Bach 1939 June 21

Language of Material: English
 

German Jewish Aid Committee letter to Leopold Bach 1939 June 23

Language of Material: English
 

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee voucher for refund of deposit to Leopold Bach undated, probably August 1941

Language of Material: English
 

Sanford Treguboff of San Francisco Committee for Service to Emigres letter to Leopold Bach 1939 July 13

Language of Material: English
 

Westminster Bank Limited letter to Leopold Bach 1940 March 7

Language of Material: English
 

Jewish Refugees Committee, London, letter to Leopold Bach 1940 March 15

Language of Material: English
 

Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland Abt. Wanderung [Reich Association of Jews in Germany, Emigration Division] letter to Leopold Bach 1940 April 15

Language of Material: German
 

Karl Bach letter to Uncle [unknown recipient] 1940 April 24

Language of Material: English
 

Judische Beratungsstelle fur Wirtschaftshilfe [Jewish Information Center for Financial Assistance] letter to Karl Loewenstein 1939 July 7

Language of Material: German
 

German Jewish Aid Committee letter to Leopold Bach 1939 July 28

Language of Material: English
 

Irwin Rosen of Committee on Refugee Aid in Europe, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee letter to Leopold Bach 1941 March 6

Language of Material: English
 

Irwin Rosen of Committee on Refugee Aid in Europe, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee letter to Leopold Bach 1941 May 21

 

Robert Sundel, Transmigration Bureau of American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee letter to Leopold Bach 1941 August 29

Language of Material: English