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Berwin-Neisser Family Collection

 Collection
Identifier: AR 25895

Scope and Contents

This collection contains documents related to the lives of individuals belonging to the Berwin and Neisser families. Most documents relate to Martin Berwin, Eva Berwin Neisser, and Wolfgang Neisser. The collection includes documents related to the business operations of the Guttman company, as well as the emigration of Martin Berwin to Israel and later, together with his family, to the United States. Other material includes papers documenting Wolfgang Neisser’s emigration first to Peru and later to the United States. The materials furthermore include correspondence; official documents; newspaper clippings; publications; and photographs.

Dates

  • 1890-2011
  • Majority of material found within 1938-1969

Language of Materials

The collection is in English, German, Hebrew, and Spanish.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection.

Biographical Note

The D. Guttman & Company business was a regional paper, stationery, and business supply company. It was founded in 1877 in Breslau, Germany by the Guttman family. The business had both retail and mail order sales that extended through-out the region and beyond in Germany.

Martin Berwin was born on July 13, 1891, in Berlin, Germany. Martin fought for Germany in World War I. Upon his return from the war he married his fiancée, Toni Tichaeur. He became a partner in D. Guttman upon his marriage and sole owner in 1934. Under his direction, the business prospered and expanded. On January 5, 1938, he was arrested by the Gestapo and jailed. The business was seized and given to a former employee who had been fired previously for theft. Martin and his family were told that if he did not immediately arrange for passage out of Germany, he would be sent to Buchenwald. On March 12, 1938, the Gestapo escorted Martin to the train station to start his journey first by train and then by ship to Palestine. Martin arrived at the port of Haifa at the beginning of April 1938. He was joined in the summer of 1938 by his family. In September 1938, they continued their travels to the United States and arrived on October 8, 1938. Martin and his brother-in-law, Kurt Korn, sold goods imported from Palestine in in Washington Heights. When the war broke out, there were no more imports. As many of his contemporaries, Martin sought help from the Jewish Agricultural Society. He settled on a chicken farm in Vineland, New Jersey. He died in Vineland on March 1, 1966.

Toni Tichaeur Berwin was born on June 8, 1894, in Breslau, Germany and died on December 30, 1995, in Vineland, NJ. Toni and Martin Berwin had two daughters: Eva and Alice (Liselotte).

Eva Berwin Neisser was born on December 26, 1920, Breslau, Germany and died on August 27, 2016, in Vineland, NJ. From a young age she excelled in school and had every expectation of continuing her education through university and then joining the family business. Following the arrest of Martin Berwin, the rest of the family needed to find temporary housing, work on immigration paperwork, and prepare for leaving. During this time, Eva met Wolfgang Neisser.

Wolfgang Peter Neisser was born on March 1, 1909, in Breslau, Germany (today Wrocław, Poland) and died on November 23, 1982, in Vineland, New Jersey. Raised and educated in Breslau, he attended the University of Breslau earning a diploma in Economics in 1933. He continued his studies there, completing all requirements for a PhD in Economics. He was denied his doctorate degree because he was Jewish. He sought immigration to Peru through the sponsorship of a distant relative, Walter Neisser.

When Wolfgang was finally granted a visa to travel to the USA, Eva and Wolfgang settled in Vineland. Together they opened a travel agency, Atlantic-Pacific Travel. Eva earned a Bachelor of Science in 1976 and a Master of Arts in 1977. Wolfgang passed away at 73. Eva ran the travel agency after Wolfgang's health declined and after his death.

Alice (Liselotte) Berwin Cohen was born in November 1924 in Breslau, Germany and died on October 1, 2016, in Newtown, PA. She was the second daughter of Martin Berwin and Toni Tichauer Cohen, and the wife of Murray Cohen.

Extent

1.25 Linear Feet

1 Folders (1 oversized folder in a shared oversize box)

Abstract

This collection contains papers related to the lives of individuals belonging to the Berwin and Neisser families. The papers include documents related to the business operations of the Guttman company. as well as documents related to the emigration of the Berwin and Neisser families to Israel and the United States. The materials include correspondence; official documents; newspaper clippings; publications; and photographs.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in two series.

  1. Series I: Berwin-Neisser Family 1890-2011
  2. Series II: Guttman-Berwin Business, 1919-1969

Separated Materials

Two books have been removed from the archival collection. The books relate to the history of German Jews prior to World War II in the city of Breslau and there is a published dissertation by Emil Neisser, a family member of Wolfgang Neisser. The separated material can be found in the library of the Leo Baeck Institute.

Processing Information

Materials were rehoused into acid-free boxes and folders and the collection was divided into two series during the processing of the archival collection.

Title
Guide to the Berwin-Neisser Family Collection
Author
Processed by Marlene Wulf
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

Contact:
15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States