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Hans Esberg correspondence 1988.1300
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Collection Details
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  • Conditions Governing Use note
  • Scope and Contents note
  • Conditions Governing Access note
  • Preferred Citation note
  • Biographical/Historical note

  • Title: Hans Esberg correspondence
    Identifier/Call Number: 1988.1300
    Contributing Institution: Tauber Holocaust Library
    Language of Material: Multiple languages
    Container: Archives Box 5
    Physical Description: 1.0 Folder(s)
    Date: 1943, 1945 Oct-Nov
    Language of Materials note: Materials are in English, and in German with English translation.
    Abstract: This collection comprises correspondence to Dr. Hans Esberg from Max Cohn about his experiences surviving refugee camps and concentration camp. Also included is a letter written to Dr. Esberg by the wife of a GI dated May 5, 1945. The soldier was given a letter from Dr. Esberg's mother by a friend of hers. That letter is dated March 8, 1943 and describes the death of his father and the imprisonment of Max Cohn, who was in Theresienstadt.
    Creator: Esberg, Hans, 1892-1971

    Conditions Governing Use note

    There are no restrictions to use for this collection.

    Scope and Contents note

    This collection comprises correspondence to Dr. Hans Esberg, a German refugee living in San Francisco, from family members in Germany during and immediately after World War II.
    The collection includes a letter of particular interest, written to Dr. Esberg by the wife of a soldier and dated May 5, 1945. The letter explains that her husband, Berthold Berlizheimer, a German refugee, while with the armed forces in Germany, was given a letter written by Dr. Esberg's mother. The letter had been entrusted to a friend, who asked that the soldier pass it along to Dr. Esberg in San Francisco. The original letter was lost - because of censorship concerns, the letter had to be translated into English. The collection includes the English language transcript of the letter, as well as a typed version.
    The collection also includes correspondence from Max Cohn, the brother of Dr. Esberg's wife, about his experiences while interned in Terezin concentration camp from 1942 until its liberation in May 1945 by the Russians. Because Max Cohn was a World War I veteran who lost an arm, he was deported to Terezin along with other veterans. He describes the general living conditions in Terezin, the administration of the camp, the wood factory where he worked, and the privations the camp inmates suffered. He notes the visit of outside observers, a period during which the camp was temporarily improved and mentions the filming of a documentary by the famous German director Kurt Gerron. (The Fuehrer Gives a City to the Jews.) Mr. Cohn also describes his experiences during and after the liberation of the camp, and his return to Wiedenbruck, where he had lived prior to the war. Writing to family members, he also recounts the fate of his father, who died prior to deportation, and the arrival of his mother to Terezin from Wolfenbuttel, and her illness and subsequent death.
    The original narrative was written in three separate letters, in German, from October 1945-January 1946. An English language version is also available.

    Conditions Governing Access note

    There are no restrictions to access for this collection.

    Preferred Citation note

    Hans Esberg correspondence - 1988.1300, Tauber Holocaust Library - JFCS Holocaust Center, San Francisco, California

    Biographical/Historical note

    Absent biographical material, this history was constructed through online genealogical resources, including ship manifests and Social Security death records.
    Hans Esberg was born on April 11, 1892 in Wolfenbuttel, Germany. A physician, he was married to Betty Esberg (born 1896) and had a daughter, Gertrud (born 1921). The Esbergs left Germany in November 1938 and traveled first to New York and then to San Francisco, arriving on November 25, 1938. Dr. Esberg registered for the draft in April 1942.
    Dr. Esberg died in 1971; Mrs. Esberg died in 1989.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Cohn, Hans
    Cohn, Max -- Correspondence
    Theresienstadt (Concentration camp).
    Army spouses, United States
    Concentration camp inmates -- Czech Republic -- Terezin (Severoéceský kraj)
    Concentration camps -- Czech Republic -- Terezin (Severoéceský kraj)
    Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
    Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Czech Republic -- Terezin (Severoéceský kraj)
    Refugee camps -- Europe
    Soldiers -- United States
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Concentration camps -- Czech Republic
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, Jewish