Series I: Julius Sofer, 1901-2011
Scope and Contents
The collection holds two texts about the life of Julius Sofer who worked for the Koh-i-noor button business in Vienna and Prague, as well as several pocket calendars used as diaries by him and his daughter Lisl. Their entries describe the people they met and their daily business. The entries from Lisl provide a glimpse into her preparation to emigrate as well as the start of her new life, as she called it, in the late summer of 1938.
The first three folders contain biographical material about Julius Sofer. Folder 1/1 holds a short biography of Julius Sofer which is part of the book “The boy who wore white stockings,” which tells the story of Peter Pollak, the son of Lilia Sofer and grandson of Julius. Folder 1/2 contains the transcription of Julius Sofer’s memoirs. They consist of a detailed story about his growing up in the small village Frideck, Moravia (Frýdek, Czech Republic) with a focus on his work at several businesses in Vienna. He joined the Koh-i-noor business in 1902. Folder 1/3 holds the death announcement of Julius Sofer, which was published in the newspaper Aufbau on February 1st, 1957.
Folder 1/4 contains empty envelopes which were sent from Vienna to New York during the 1940s. Most of them are addressed to Elizabeth Polk. They all have the censor stamps of the Nazi regime on them. The letters can be found in the Grace Polk Family collection addenda, AR 25489. Additionally, the folder includes a message written in 1946 to Julius Sofer regarding the transport of the belongings of Katharina Sofer in 1940.
Folder 1/5 holds some documents related to the S.S. President Roosevelt which traveled from Hamburg to New York in 1938. Hans-Gunther Pollak and his wife Elizabeth (Sofer) were onboard. Included are a list of passengers and the menu of the Gala dinner, as well as a deck plan.
Folder 1/6 holds two saving books from Harry George and Elizabeth Polk. They show the initial deposit of $4,340.- which was transferred from a Swiss account by Julius Sofer to each of his children. The entries show that it was used to cover large expenses, but also some larger withdrawals, which were probably used to pay for affidavits and later for a down payment for a house. Moreover, it includes the membership card for the Humanitas Lodge (Free Mason Lodge) of Julius Sofer and two printed address books of members of the club including Julius Sofer.
Folder 1/7 holds two address books. One includes many names from all over Europe but also notes from presumably Julius Sofer’s work around 1900. The other one was used in New York.
Three folders hold pocket calendars that were used as diaries. Folder 1/8 holds three pocket calendars. One was used by Julius Sofer, and two are from Lisl. The notes in the 1936 calendar describe the weekly meetings of Misses Sofer and Mister Pollak (Lisl’s later husband Hans-Gunther Pollak / Harry Polk) as well as their engagement in October. Folder 1/9 holds four pocket calendars that were used as diaries in 1938 and 1939. According to notes two of them were used by Lisl. She wrote about her immigration to New York under the title “start of a new life” in the calendar for 1938. Folder 1/10 holds two pocket calendars that were used as diaries by Julius Sofer in 1941 and 1944 containing aphorisms and addresses. The diary from 1944 also shows his finances from 1946 to 1948.
- From the Collection: Polk, Grace, 1941- (Person)
Language of Materials
The collection is in German and English.
Conditions Governing Access
Open to researchers.
0.5 Linear Feet
1 Folders (1 oversized folder in a shared oversized box)