Mühlfelder and Roeckert Families Collection
Scope and Contents
The Mühlfelder and Roeckert Families Collection contains both primary sources and research materials that, together, combine to record the history of these families. Charles C. Milford (born Klaus Mühlfelder) compiled the research materials; the greatest quantity of correspondence, documents, and photographs in the collection also pertains to his life, from his childhood in Berlin through the years of World War II, immigration to the United States in 1950, service in the Korean War, and his long career as a librarian. Correspondents include his parents Simon Mühlfelder and Hedwig née Roeckert, wife Patricia E. Milford née Shannon, and various friends and family members. In addition to Charles, photographs found in the collection primarily feature these individuals. Biographical information regarding Charles C. Milford can be found in curricula vitae, interview transcripts, restitution files, identity cards and passports, and birth, baptismal, confirmation, and marriage certificates. Also included are educational records, military service records, and employment files.
In addition to Charles C. Milford, his father Simon Mühlfelder and wife Patricia E. Milford feature most prominently in the first three series of the collection. Simon Mühlfelder’s records document his medical education and career, including his service as a military physician, and the forced surrender of his medical practice under the Nazi regime. Vital documents consist of birth and marriage certificates, passport and identity cards, death notice and obituaries, his last will and estate inventory, and a book signed by mourners at his funeral. Photographs found loose and in albums span his lifetime, including his army service and early medical career, and his friends and family, particularly his wife Hedwig Mühlfelder, and their son. After Charles immigrated to the United States, Simon kept up an extensive correspondence with him until his death in 1965.
While much of Patricia E. Milford’s papers were donated to the Washington State Historical Society, correspondence, documents, and photographs relating to her remain in this collection. This selection includes her birth, marriage, and death certificates, a notice of separation from the Navy, and records regarding her father’s estate. Charles C. Milford also included his notes on the days leading up to her death on October 10, 1989, her obituary, and a letter he sent to friends after her death. Additional correspondence includes letters from Patricia to her parents, letters between her and Charles, and copies of letters that she and Charles sent to various friends and family members dating from their marriage in 1963 until her death. Photographs of Patricia show her during her Navy service in Tokyo and with Charles and friends at home in California and while traveling.
Other members of the Mühlfelder and Roeckert families found in this collection include Simon’s parents Jakob Mühlfelder and Karoline Mühlfelder née Weiskopf, Hedwig’s parents Ernst Roeckert and Agnes Roeckert née Genschmer, and Simon’s first wife Martha Kassel. They are documented through photographs, correspondence regarding family history, family trees and histories, and documents, including birth, death, confirmation, and marriage certificates.
Family history is the particular focus of Series IV, which contains Charles C. Milford’s research on the persons and events that inform an understanding of this history. The individuals featured most prominently in his research are his half-cousin Arthur Mendel, his father’s first wife Martha Kassel, and people within Kassel’s milieu both during her life in Germany and after her later immigration to the United States. Information on these figures is compiled from Milford’s correspondence with scholars and archives, relevant archival finding aids and photocopies of documents held by various archives, articles, photocopies from books, catalog records for pertinent books, and Wikipedia pages and other printouts of biographical information from the Internet. These same types of material also make up Milford’s research on topics of interest, including the history of Jews in Germany broadly and of the Mühlfelder family specifically.
- undated, 1811-2018
- Majority of material found within 1927-2018
- Milford, Charles C., 1927- (Person)
Language of Materials
The collection is in German and English.
Open to researchers.
Biographical / Historical
Charles C. Milford was born Klaus Mühlfelder in Berlin on July 13, 1927, to Simon Mühlfelder and Hedwig Mühlfelder née Roeckert. Simon came from a Jewish professional family in Thuringia, while Hedwig was a Berliner from a Christian family.
Simon Mühlfelder was born on April 9, 1884, in Walldorf (Meiningen), Germany, to Jakob Mühlfelder (1853-1922) and Karoline Mühlfelder née Weiskopf (1856-1905). Simon formally left the Jewish religion after the death of his father. He became a physician and served as a staff surgeon during World War I. On October 22, 1912, Simon married Martha Kassel (1880-1952), who was also a physician, in Berlin. They later divorced. On July 29, 1926, Simon married Hedwig Roeckert in Berlin.
Hedwig Marie Martha Roeckert was born in Berlin on June 2, 1898. Her parents were Ernst Arthur August Roeckert (1868-1936) and Agnes Hedwig Selma Roeckert née Genschmer (1872-1969). When Simon was forced to give up his medical practice in 1938 under Nazi racial laws, the family moved in with Agnes Roeckert, where they remained until the end of the war. In early 1943, Simon was among those rounded up as part of the Fabrikaktion and transported to Rosenstrasse 2-4. Hedwig joined the other non-Jewish wives of these men in protesting their detention; the men, including Simon, were ultimately released. Hedwig Mühlfelder died on March 10, 1954, in Berlin. Simon Mühlfelder died in Berlin on July 24, 1965.
Simon and Hedwig intended to leave choice of religion to Charles; however, they baptized him on April 15, 1933, after the Nazis came to power. He was confirmed on March 29, 1941. Charles grew up in Berlin-Reinickendorf, where he attended primary school. He was thereafter educated at the Werner-Siemens-Oberrealschule, Gontard-Oberschule, and Lessing-Oberschule. Because he was classified by the Nazi regime as a Mischling of the first degree, Charles was expelled from the Lessing-Oberschule in March 1943.
Milford was apprenticed as a telecommunications fitter from April 1943 until he was conscripted into forced labor under Organisation Todt in June 1944. Brought to France, he was forced to repair damage from Allied aerial attacks on the railroad yards at Beauvais and Soissons, which were bombed nightly. As the Allied forces advanced into France, he managed to flee to Berlin in September 1944. He resumed his apprenticeship for three months. In January 1945, he was again conscripted by Organisation Todt and assigned to work as a concrete laborer in Berlin.
After the war’s end, Charles completed his secondary education at the Herwegh-Oberschule in Berlin-Hermsdorf, passing his matriculation examination on July 20, 1946. He studied German and English at the University of Berlin from 1946 until 1948 and at the Free University of Berlin from 1948 until 1950.
Milford emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1950, arriving in New York on July 26 of that year. On April 6, 1951, he signed his “Declaration of Intention” and officially changed his name from Klaus Mühlfelder to Charles C. (Claus) Milford. He entered Columbia University’s School of Library Service in September 1950 and completed his master’s degree in August 1951. Charles was drafted into Army for service in the Korean War in September 1951. After basic training at Fort Lee in Virginia, he was deployed to Korea, where he was assigned to manage the only Special Services Library in South Korea, located in Pusan, from August 1952 until July 1953. He was released from active duty September 1953. Charles was naturalized as an American citizen on February 1, 1954.
Charles C. Milford’s career as a librarian spanned almost 40 years. He was employed as a librarian at the Tacoma Public Library (1953-1959), Oregon State Library (1961-1964), and Stanford University’s Food Research Institute (1964-1991). From 1959 until 1961 he earned his master’s degree in political science from the University of Washington.
It was during his time at the Tacoma Public Library that Milford met his wife Patricia Elizabeth Shannon. Patricia was born on November 16, 1921, in Tacoma to James F. Shannon (1891-1967) and Marie E. Shannon née Schneider (1894-1965). After graduating from the University of Washington in 1943, she attended the Naval School of Oriental Languages and served as a lieutenant junior grade in the Navy in naval intelligence from 1943 to 1946. From 1946 until 1950 she served as a Japanese translator in the Allied Translator and Interpreter Service in Tokyo. After earning her master’s degree from the University of Washington’s School of Librarianship in 1952, she was employed as a reference librarian and branch administrator for Tacoma Public Library. Charles and Patricia married on June 11, 1963, in Berlin, where Charles’s father Simon Mühlfelder and maternal grandmother Agnes Roeckert were still living. Patricia E. Milford died of cancer on October 10, 1989, at Stanford University Hospital.
6 Linear Feet
1 Boxes (1 OS Box)
The Mühlfelder and Roeckert Families Collection contains both primary sources and research materials that, together, combine to record the history of these families. Charles C. Milford (born Klaus Mühlfelder) compiled the research materials; the greatest quantity of correspondence, documents, and photographs in the collection also pertains to his life. Documents include vital documents, educational records, military service records, and materials relating to Charles C. Milford’s career as a librarian. In addition to Milford, his father Simon Mühlfelder and wife Patricia E. Milford feature most prominently in the first three series of the collection. Family history research focuses on Simon Mühlfelder’s first wife Martha Kassel and people within her milieu. This research is compiled from Milford’s correspondence with scholars and archives, relevant archival finding aids and photocopies of documents held by various archives, articles, photocopies from books, catalog records for pertinent books, and Wikipedia pages and other printouts of biographical information from the Internet. These same types of material also make up Milford’s research on topics of interest, including the history of Jews in Germany broadly and of the Mühlfelder family specifically.
The original arrangement by Charles C. Milford, reflected by his inventory found in Box 1, Folder 1, distinguishes between categories of letters, documents, photographs, and research materials. These categories have been maintained in four series:
Series I: Correspondence, 1950-2018
Series II: Personal Documents, undated, 1870-2018
Series III: Photographs, undated, 1859-2018
Series IV: Family History Research, undated, 1811, 1949-2018
Subseries 1: Correspondence and Notes, undated, 1811, 1956-2017
Subseries 2: Articles, Photocopies, and Printouts, undated, 1949-2018
Other Finding Aids
An inventory compiled by Charles C. Milford can be found in Box 1, Folder 1.
Books have been removed to the LBI Library. Porcelain from the collection of Charles Milford (2019.08a-i), Kiddush cup with ball feet (2019.09), Personal Items of the Mühlfelder family (2019.10a-c), Collection of WWI related items from Simon Mühlfelder (2019.11a-c), and Sculptures from the collection of Charles Milford (2019.12a-h) have been removed to the LBI Art & Objects Collection. A snakeskin wallet belonging to Simon Mühlfelder and Charles C. Milford’s dog tags have also been removed to the LBI Art & Objects Collection. Copies of the documentary Elisabeth of Berlin, which includes an interview with Charles C. Milford, and “Stationen einer Reise,” a short film about Milford’s trip to Poland in 2001, were removed to the LBI AV Collection.
The collection arrived at the Leo Baeck Institute arranged and labeled by Charles C. Milford. In processing the collection, the organization that Milford imposed upon the collection was retained, apart from the family history research found in Series IV. Letters and photographs were bundled and labeled; bundles were grouped together in new acid-free folders and labels retained as folder titles. Envelopes were discarded, unless they included additional information not found elsewhere. Family research was also organized and labeled using multi-color plastic binder dividers with tabs holding Milford’s labels. The binder dividers were discarded, and the materials placed in acid-free folders. The contents of these folders were split into two subseries by material type: correspondence and research notes are found in Subseries 1, and publications, Internet printouts, and photocopies of books and archival documents are found in Subseries 2. Milford’s original labels were retained as folder titles; an identical folder title across two subseries indicates that the contents of those two folders was originally found together.
- Berlin (Germany)
- Genealogical tables
- Germany -- History -- 1933-1945
- Jews -- Germany -- Genealogy
- Jews -- Germany -- History -- 1933-1945
- Jews -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- Germany
- Jews -- Persecutions -- Germany -- History -- 20th century
- Korean War, 1950-1953
- Mendel, Arthur, 1901-1944
- Milford, Charles C., 1927-
- Milford, Patricia E., 1921-1989
- Mühlfelder family
- Mühlfelder, Hedwig, 1898-1954
- Mühlfelder, Simon, 1884-1965
- Official documents
- Photograph albums
- Research notes
- Roeckert family
- Schmitz, Elisabeth, 1893-1977
- Seefeld, Martha Kassel, 1880-1952
- Stanford University. Food Research Institute
- United States -- Emigration and immigration -- History -- 20th century
- Vital statistics records
- Guide to the Mühlfelder and Roeckert Families Collection
- Sarah Glover
- © 2020
- Language of description
- Script of description