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Guide to Lore Shelley papers 2011.003
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Collection Details
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  • Arrangement note
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Conditions Governing Access note
  • Conditions Governing Use note
  • Preferred Citation note
  • Scope and Contents note
  • Processing Information note

  • Title: Lore Shelley papers
    Identifier/Call Number: 2011.003
    Contributing Institution: Tauber Holocaust Library
    Language of Material: Multiple languages
    Physical Description: 21.0 Linear feet comprising 20 record cartons and two manuscript boxes
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1981-2000
    Date (inclusive): 1890-2004
    Abstract: This collection is comprised of photographs, documents, and correspondence relating to the life and work of Holocaust survivor and author Lore Shelley. The collection includes material concerning Ms. Shelley’s five published books as well as her dissertation, questionnaires completed by survivors, post-war reparation and social security requests, Holocaust organizations, family research, and personal correspondence. Personal papers also include documents relating to Ms. Shelley’s time in D.P. hospitals prior to her immigration to the United States.
    Creator: Shelley, Lore, 1924-2011

    Arrangement note

    Collection arranged according to its placement on shelves in Ms. Shelley's home.

    Biographical/Historical note

    Lore Shelley (née Weinberg) was born on February 19, 1924 in Luebbecke, Westphalia, Germany, the only child of a liberal Jewish family. The only Jewish child in her district, she attended public schools until 1938 when she was forced to leave because of anti-Jewish laws. She continued her education at Jewish schools in Ulm and Berlin until May 1941 when she was deported to the Kersdorf labor camp. She remained there for almost two years before her deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau on April 20, 1943. She worked as a secretary in the Political Department and Civil Registry at Auschwitz until its evacuation in January 1945 when she was sent on a death march to Ravensbrueck and Malchow. After being liberated by the Russian army near Malchow in May 1945, Ms. Shelley was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis. She was a patient in a variety of displaced persons (D.P.) hospitals in Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. Ms. Shelley was the only surviving member of her family; her mother had perished on February 9, 1943 after deportation from Cologne and her father had died during her childhood. She continued her education during her recuperation and met Sucher (Isy) Shelley at a rehabilitation center in Grottaferrata, Italy. Sucher Shelley, who was liberated from Ebensee, came from a devout Jewish family in Poland. Like Lore, he was the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust.
    The couple was married in Rome in 1951 and immigrated to New York in August 1956. Mr. Shelley found work as a watchmaker and moved to San Francisco in 1957 to start a watch import business, the West Coast Swiss Watch Company. Ms. Shelley studied psychology at the New School for Social Research and received her M.A. in February 1958, after which she moved to San Francisco to join Sucher. The couple worked as partners in the business and their daughter Gabriela was born in 1965. Ms. Shelley received a second master’s degree in social work, from San Francisco State University, in 1978. After obtaining her PhD in Human and Organizational Development from the Fielding Institute and completing her dissertation Jewish Holocaust Survivor’s Attitudes toward Contemporary Beliefs about Themselves in 1983, Ms. Shelley published five books concerning the Holocaust. Her first book, Secretaries of Death, was published in 1986 and was followed by Criminal Experiments on Human Beings in Auschwitz and War Research Laboratories in 1991, Auschwitz—The Nazi Civilization in 1992, The Union Kommando in Auschwitz in 1996, and Post-Auschwitz Fragments in 1997. Ms. Shelley was also an active member of various San Francisco Bay Area Holocaust organizations including the Committee of Remembrance, TIKVAH, and the Holocaust Center of Northern California.
    Sucher Shelley died in 2009. Lore Shelley died in New York on February 21, 2011. She was buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

    Conditions Governing Access note

    There are no restrictions to access for this collection.

    Conditions Governing Use note

    There are no restrictions to use for this collection.

    Preferred Citation note

    [item], [date] - Lore Shelley papers - 2011.003, Tauber Holocaust Library - JFCS Holocaust Center, San Francisco, California

    Scope and Contents note

    The Lore Shelley papers document the professional and personal life of San Francisco Holocaust survivor and author Lore Shelley. Ms. Shelley devoted her professional life to documenting the experiences of other Holocaust survivors, primarily those who survived the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. The collection provides insight into an examination of Holocaust experience using personal testimony of individual survivors, as compiled and interpreted by a Holocaust survivor who shared those experiences.
    The collection is rich in primary source material related to Ms. Shelley’s interviews and correspondence with these survivors and the subsequent accounts of their experiences that appear in her dissertation and later publications. Of particular interest is the data collected from a questionnaire about Holocaust experiences that Ms. Shelley distributed at the 1981 World Gathering of Holocaust Survivors in Jerusalem and mailed to survivors around the world.
    The papers also document Ms. Shelley’s personal commitment to Holocaust research and remembrance, as reflected in her travels to her hometown Luebbecke, Germany; her involvement in Holocaust-related local organizations; her collection of articles and books related to the Holocaust; and her attendance at Holocaust-related educational conferences.
    The collection includes audiocassettes, photographs, drawings, newspaper clippings, correspondence, videotapes, questionnaires, manuscripts, newsletters, minutes, and agendas.
    The bulk of the collection dates from after Ms. Shelley’s arrival in the United States in 1956 until 2004, although there are some documents related to Ms. Shelley’s life in post-war D.P. hospitals, including medical papers, dated 1945-1955, and family papers dating from 1890. The collection includes documents in multiple languages, primarily German and English, and centers mostly on Ms. Shelley’s correspondence and activities in the United States, Germany, and Israel.
    The collection is divided into thirteen series:
    1. Questionnaires, 1981
    Completed and blank questionnaires used by Ms. Shelley as research for her dissertation. Many of the questionnaires were distributed at the 1981 World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors.
    2. Dissertation, 1982-2001
    Materials relating to her dissertation Jewish Holocaust Survivors Attitudes Toward Contemporary Beliefs About Themselves include drafts, a copyright application, and correspondence.
    Published Books
    The following five series comprise documents related to each of Ms. Shelley’s five published books, including correspondence with contributors and the publisher, photographs, post-publication reviews, research, excerpts, and book manuscripts. In 1989 Ms. Shelley began work on a book originally called Mrs. SS Woman that evolved into a two-volume book titled Auschwitz—The Nazi Civilization. Due to a lack of publishing interest in a two-volume work, Ms. Shelley eventually published the two volumes separately but concurrently in 1992 under different publishing companies as Auschwitz—The Nazi Civilization: Twenty-Three Women Prisoners’ Accounts: Auschwitz Camp Administration and SS Enterprises and Workshops and Criminal Experiments on Human Beings in Auschwitz and War Research Laboratories: Twenty Women Prisoners’ Accounts . Documents in the collection chronicle this evolution. There is no correspondence accompanying Ms. Shelley’s last book, Post-Auschwitz Fragments.
    3. Secretaries of Death, 1981-2001
    4. Auschwitz—The Nazi Civilization, 1957-199
    5. Criminal Experiments on Human Beings in Auschwitz and War Research Laboratories, 1952-2000
    6. Union Kommando, 1985-199
    7. Post-Auschwitz Fragments, 1964-2004
    8. Personal papers, 1890-2004
    Personal documents consist of papers related to health, family genealogy research, and compensation claims, as well as personal correspondence.
    9. Luebbecke, 1951-2003
    This series contains documents regarding the town of Luebbecke, Germany,where Ms. Shelley was raised, and Ms. Shelley’s visits there in 1986 and 1990.
    10. Education, 1937-1992
    Education files include coursework from Ms. Shelley’s post-graduate studies at the New School for Social Research, San Francisco State University, and the Fielding Institute, alumni newsletters, and materials for psychological testing.
    11. Work with organizations, 1979-2002
    This series comprises documents relating to Ms. Shelley’s involvement in San Francisco-based Holocaust organizations, including board minutes, agendas, newsletters, and bylaws, for organizations including but not limited to, Tikvah, the Holocaust Center of Northern California, and Yad Vashem.
    12. Materials relating to the Holocaust, 1955-2003
    This series includes materials relating to the Holocaust that were collected by Ms. Shelley but did not originate with her, such as testimonies, newspaper and magazine articles, plays, essays, videotapes, and audiocassettes.
    13. Conferences 1981-2000
    Papers and information from Holocaust conferences are also present, including the Remembering the Future conference in Oxford, England in 2000.

    Processing Information note

    Collection processed by Lauren Gaylord, Alan Phelps and Judy Janec.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Auschwitz (Concentration camp).
    Duering, Renee
    Fielding Institute (Santa Barbara, Calif.).
    Holocaust Center of Northern California (San Francisco, Calif.).
    Shelley, Gabriela, Dr.
    Tikvah Acharey Hashoah (Hope After the Holocaust).
    Vago, Lydia
    Audio cassettes
    Books -- Reviews
    Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)
    Concentration camp inmates -- Poland -- Oswiecim
    Dissertations, Academic
    Forced labor -- Poland
    Holocaust survivors
    Holocaust survivors -- Interviews
    Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
    Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Congresses and conventions
    Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Psychological aspects
    Human experimentation in medicine -- Poland
    Jewish women in the Holocaust
    Jews -- Persecutions -- Germany
    Jews -- Persecutions -- Poland
    Lübbecke (Germany)
    War damage compensation
    World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors (1981 : Jerusalem)