Exhibits (2 total)
In 1933, the year of Hitler's rise to power, approximately 160,000 Jews lived in Berlin, Germany, which was less than 4% of its population. By 1939, an estimated 80,000 Berlin Jews had managed to emigrate. Between 1941 and 1944 more than 60,000 were deported to Eastern European ghettoes and death camps. Only about 7,000 were known to have survived by 1945.
The historic documents in the Lowenstein Family Papers and Art collection tell the story of one Jewish family's miraculous survival amidst the horrors of the Holocaust. Two exceedingly rare documents from 1942 served as eviction notices. They order the recipients to report at a certain date and time to a government building in Berlin. In reality the notice was a summons of deportation to death camps. If obeyed, the recipient was killed. If not obeyed, the recipient most certainly did not retain the letter. That notice led to the deaths of an estimated 60,000 Jews.
The Loewensteins (Lowenstein after immigration) - Max, Maria, Karin, and Henry - lived in Berlin and, beginning in 1933, experienced the ever tightening Nazi noose. Like many other Jewish families they tried desperately to find ways to leave Germany. The beginnings of the Holocaust burst forth on Kristallnacht in 1938. Synagogues were burned and thousands of Jews were taken to concentration camps. Many were never seen again.
Thirteen-year-old Henry was lucky to be one of 10,000 children to be saved by the Kindertransport in 1939. Kindertransports were organized by British aid organizations to bring predominantly German, Austrian, and Czechoslovakian Jewish children to the United Kingdom. Henry was able to reunite with his family in 1947.
Henry's mother Maria, born into a Lutheran family, used her Aryan status to protect her loved ones. Her courage saved the family from deportation and certain death on numerous occasions. She brought the documents in this collection to America in 1946.
Henry Lowenstein donated them to the Ira M. and Peryle Hayutin Beck Memorial Archives. The collection is located in the Anderson Academic Commons, Special Collections and Archives.
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Jewish women have made numerous contributions to the development of Colorado from its territorial days to the present, in large part due to the more fluid social structure of the American West.
According to Dr. Jeanne Abrams, a noted scholar in the field of American Jewish History, “Jews were able to integrate more fully into local communities than they had in the East. Jewish women in the West took advantage of the unsettled nature of the region to ‘open new doors’ for themselves in the public sphere in ways often not yet possible elsewhere in the country. Women were crucial to the survival of early communities, and made distinct contributions not only in shaping Jewish communal life but outside the Jewish community as well. Western Jewish women’s level of involvement at the vanguard of social welfare and progressive reform, commerce, politics, and higher education and the professions is striking given their relatively small numbers.” Introduction to Dr. Abram's book Jewish Women Pioneering the Frontier Trail: A History in the American West (New York: New York University Press, 2006).
This exhibit showcases some of the Jewish women who raised families, founded communal organizations, sustained their Jewish heritage, and ultimately helped shape Colorado. It features women who came to Colorado when it was still a territory, such as Frances Wisebart Jacobs, nicknamed “Denver’s Mother of Charities” and Ray David, “Little Mother to the Poor.” It also tells the story of Eastern European Jewish women who lived on Denver’s West side, such as Channah Milstein and Fannie Lorber, who came in the 1880s and initiated important philanthropic organizations. A number of collections in the Ira M. and Peryle Hayutin Beck Memorial Archives were used in the creation of the exhibit.
Descriptive text for this exhibit was based on Dr. Jeanne Abrams' book Jewish Women Pioneering the Frontier Trail: A History in the American West (New York: New York University Press, 2006). Please read the book to learn more about Jewish women in Colorado and the West.