Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Gurcke (Starr P.) papers
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Overview
Table of contents What's This?
This collection includes translations of California pre-statehood documents as well as some research materials and work papers.
"Starr Pait was born in San Jose, California in 1911. She graduated from San Jose State and received a master's degree in Germanic languages from Stanford. While on a fellowship to Germany she met and fell in love with Werner Gurcke. They married in 1936 in Santa Cruz, California before leaving for San José, Costa Rica where Werner Gurcke had previously immigrated. There they started a family and Gurcke developed a thriving import-export business in Costa Rica, dealing in buttons, umbrellas and Hamilton watches. But because he was still a German citizen, Werner Gurcke's business was one of 340 blacklisted by the Costa Rican government, under pressure from the United States. He and his brother were arrested without explanation in July 1942. Six months later, the whole family was put on the U.S. Army transport ship Puebla. Werner Gurcke spent all three weeks in the hold of the ship, while Starr Gurcke -- described in a Department of Justice document as "sort of (an) American citizen" -- and her two young daughters slept in a cramped cabin with other families. When the Puebla landed in San Pedro, Calif., immigration officials finally told Werner Gurcke their reason for holding him: he had entered the United States illegally. He was not allowed legal counsel, and he and his family were taken by train to Crystal City, a former camp for farmworkers. Since Werner Gurcke was married to a U.S. citizen, he was granted "internment at large" 18 months later at his first hearing.
4 Linear Feet 8 document boxes
Copyright for the items in this collection is owned by the creators and their heirs. Reproduction or distribution of any work protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires permission from the copyright owner. It is the responsibility of the user to determine whether a use is fair use, and to obtain any necessary permissions. For more information see UCSC Special Collections and Archives policy on Reproduction and Use.
Collection open for research.