Guide to Karl Bach papers
1988.1308

Summary Information

Repository
Tauber Holocaust Library
Creator - Compiler
Bach, Karl
Title
Karl Bach papers
ID
1988.1308
Date [inclusive]
1938-1949
Extent
1.0 Folder(s)
Language
Multiple languages
Language of Materials note
Materials are in English and German. English language translations are available for German materials.
Mixed materials [Folder]
Archives Box 6
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.

Preferred Citation note

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

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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.

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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 describing her frustration at the lack of assistance from her brother, who had recently successfully emigrated. 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.

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Arrangement note

The correspondence that comprises this collection is arranged in chronological order.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

 Tauber Holocaust Library

JFCS Holocaust Center
2245 Post Street
San Francisco, CA, 94115
415-449-3717
tauberholocaustlibrary@jfcs.org

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.

Custodial History note

Provenance of this collection is unknown.

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Controlled Access Headings

Geographic Name(s)

  • Germany -- Emigration and immigration

Personal Name(s)

  • Elman, Helen K., 1899-1994
  • Elman, Mischa, 1891-1967

Subject(s)

  • Jewish families -- Germany
  • Jewish refugees -- Germany

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Collection Inventory

Correspondence 1938-1941 

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

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

Karl Bach letter to unnamed relatives in Germany 1938 March 24 

Ilse Katten letter to Karl Bach 1938 May 30 

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

Hermann and Sanni Hammerschlag telegram to Leopold Bach 1939 April 25 

Leopold Bach remitter's receipt 1939 May 31 

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

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

German Jewish Aid Committee letter to Leopold Bach 1939 June 23 

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

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

Westminster Bank Limited letter to Leopold Bach 1940 March 7 

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

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

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

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

German Jewish Aid Committee letter to Leopold Bach 1939 July 28 

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

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 

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