Ralph Moratz Collection
Scope and Contents
This collection consists of two series. Series I encompasses the personal papers of Ralph Moratz. These papers include correspondence, photographs, official documents, and other material relating to Moratz’s effort to locate survivors of the Kindertransport and discover further details on the whereabouts of his mother and other family members.
The papers in Series II contain photographs, newspaper clippings, official documents, school rosters, and other material relating to Ralph Moratz and his peers’ escape from Germany via the Kindertransport to France. The papers in this series follow the boys’ journey from the Kindertransport to the Chateau de Quincy, Chateau de Chaumont, Mainsat, and finally, to their voyage from Portugal to New York.
- 1881 – 2011
- Majority of material found within 1939 – 1941
- Majority of material found within 1995 - 2003
- Moratz, Ralph, 1931-2016 (Person)
Language of Materials
The collection is in English, French, and German, with small portions of Portuguese.
Conditions Governing Access
Open to researchers.
Conditions Governing Use
There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection.
Biographical / Historical
Ralph Moratz was born on October 10th, 1931, in Berlin Germany. He was born to parents Ruth Moratz Jungmann (1908- circa 1942) and Horst Franzl Frank Moratz (1912-1990). Soon after the birth of their son, Ruth and Horst filed for divorce in 1936. Subsequently, Ralph was sent to live in the Auerbach Orphanage in Berlin. The increase in antisemitism after Hitler’s rise to power, especially following the events of Kristallnacht, forced Ralph and other Jewish children to flee Germany through a Kindertransport to France on July 4th, 1939.
Ralph and 39 other boys were brought to the Chateau de Quincy, a Jewish orphanage just south of Paris. When the German army began occupying the region, the boys were required to flee their homes once again, by escaping on foot to southern France. This journey proved challenging as the boys found themselves at the center of the battlefront and were forced to seek refuge in a river barge for a grueling three days. On the third day, the German army discovered the hiding boys and commented “these look like a bunch of Jews.” Ralph was expecting to be gunned down shortly afterwards but, surprisingly, the German army only asked them to return to where they had come from. The boys then traveled back to the Chateau de Quincy to find that the orphanage had been seized by the German army. Although the children were permitted to live downstairs, the Germans made the boys perform household chores such as cleaning and preparing food. This situation lasted several months before the children were kicked out of the Chateau and dispersed throughout the Paris region. Later that year (1940), Ralph managed to board a train that brought him to unoccupied France where he was taken care of by the French Children's Aid Society Œuvre de secours aux enfants (O.S.E.). Ralph stayed at the Chateau de Chaumont in Mainsat, where he lived and attended school. In July of 1941, Ralph along with other refugees traveled to Marseille, Madrid, and finally Lisbon, where he stayed at the Collegio de Bafureira for two weeks. On September 9th, 1941, Ralph boarded the ship Serpa Pinto and began his three-week voyage to New York.
After arriving in New York, Ralph lived with a Jewish foster family for several years before moving to California to become a screen actor. He spent much of his later years working alongside fellow Kindertransport survivors such as Stephan Lewy, Peter Gossels, and Eric Goldfarb to locate children from the Auerbach Orphanage, The Chateau de Quincy, and the Chateau de Chaumont. Through this endeavor, Ralph discovered that one of his childhood friends Wolfgang Wolodia Grajonca, whom he had met at the orphanage in Auerbach, had actually grown up to become esteemed music promoter Bill Graham. Unfortunately, the two friends were unable to be reunited due to a tragic helicopter crash that killed Bill Graham in 1991. Ralph also spent this time searching for the whereabouts of his mother and other family members who had died in Auschwitz during the early 1940s. Ralph Moratz died in Hermiston, Oregon on March 10th, 2016, at the age of 84.
0.5 Linear Feet
This collection contains correspondence, official documents, photographs, and other archival materials pertaining to Ralph Moratz (1931-2016) and to his project to locate fellow survivors of his Kindertransport from Berlin to France in 1939. After arriving in France, Moratz and thirty-nine other boys sought refuge in the Chateau de Quincy, a Jewish Orphanage near Paris. In 1941, Moratz was able to escape occupied France with assistance from the Children's Aid Society OSE and resettle in New York.
The collection is arranged in two series.
- Ralph Moratz Personal Documents, 1887-2011
- Escaping Germany Through Kindertransport, 1932-2003
Materials were reorganized into new folders during the processing of this archival collection. Papers containing similar contents were kept together.
- American Friends Service Committee
- Baruch Auerbach'sche Waisen-Erziehungsanstalt für Jüdische Knaben, Berlin
- Berlin (Germany)
- Château de Quincy (Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire, France)
- Clippings (information artifacts)
- Emigration and immigration
- Gossels, Peter
- Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
- Jewish children
- Jewish orphanages
- Jewish refugees
- Kindertransports (Rescue operations)
- Lewy, Stephan H., 1925-
- Lisbon (Portugal)
- Lists (document genres)
- Los Angeles (Calif.)
- Manuscripts for publication
- Maps (documents)
- Moratz, Dorette
- Moratz, Frank
- Moratz, Ruth
- New York (N.Y.)
- Notes (documents)
- Official documents
- Paris (France)
- Quincy-sous-Sénart (France)
- Voyages and travels
- World War, 1939-1945
- Œuvre de secours aux enfants (France)
- Papers of Ralph Moratz
- Processed by Oliver Fallon
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository
15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States