Ettinger Family Collection
Scope and Content Note
This collection contains records of the Ettinger and Bick families as well as other relatives ranging from the late 19th century to 2006. The bulk of the materials relate to Jean-Claude (alternatively John or Julius) Ettinger, his wife Rita née Bick, his half-brother John Louis (alternatively Ludwig or Jean-Louis) Weisenbach, and his mother Betty Ettinger née Stern widowed Weisenbach. Also included are materials on relatives from the Schulz, Maler, and Rosenthal families. Other family names mentioned in the collection include Aschkenasy, Doehl, Meyer, Nemeczek, and Willdorf.
As a whole, the collection consists of vital records (birth, marriage, and death certificates), personal identification documents, internment papers, emigration papers, correspondence and forms related to restitution claims, photographs, programs and guest lists from reunions of Holocaust survivors, some legal documents related to inheritance claims, some education records, a few pieces of personal correspondence, some poems, and a few ticket stubs from Jewish cultural events in Berlin.
Most folders relate to a specific person or family and contain a mixture of personal and official papers such as those listed above. Where materials could not be related to a single person or family, they were placed together by document type. These materials include reunion programs, invitations to Berlin, and a memoir from Gurs. It is not clear who wrote the Gurs memoir in this collection, but the text suggests that the author is Swiss.
The autograph or friendship albums (Poesiealben) belonging to Gertrude Bick née Rosenthal are small, hardcover books in which friends and teachers wrote short poems and dedications and signed their names. There seem to have been decorative papers glued on pages of these albums that have since fallen out.
The oversized 50th wedding anniversary celebration certificate (Jubiläums-Urkunde) was given to Oscar Rosenthal in 1917 by the Benevolent Society (Wolhtätigkeitsverein) Semilus Chassodim of Berlin.
The official invitations and correspondence from Berlin relates to the construction of the New Synagogue and events for the Jewish community. The ticket stubs are from events in February 1938 exclusively for the members of the Jewish community (Jüdische Gemeinschaft) of Berlin. The poems include a wedding poem (Tafel-Lied) from 1896 and a poem about Camp de Gurs from 1943.
The photographs found throughout the collection include both formal portraits and casual photographs of family and friends mainly from the late 19th century through the 1930s with a few from later decades of the 20th century. Photographs that were held together in an envelope or band or were otherwise clearly related to one another have been kept together. If photographs were not clearly meant to be kept together with a specific individual or family’s papers, they have been placed in box 2, folder 6.
Notes with contextual or biographical information from the collection’s donor, Rita Ettinger née Bick, can be found in many parts of the collection.
- Ettinger, Rita, 1920- (Person)
Language of Materials
The collection is in English, German, and French with a few documents in Chinese.
This collection is open to researchers.
Betty née Stern (1888-1964) of Fulda, Germany had one son, John Louis (alternatively Ludwig) Weisenbach (1912-1986), with her first husband Moritz Weisenbach. After Moritz Weisenbach’s death, Betty married Josef Ettinger, with whom she had another son, Jean-Claude (alternatively Julius or John) Ettinger (1920-2004). The Ettinger family lived in Fulda until the 1930s, when Betty and her two sons fled to Paris, France. In 1940, all three were sent to internment camps in France, including Camp de Gurs and Camp de Rivesaltes. Jean-Claude Ettinger was forced to work for Oganisation Todt at the Bastennes labor camp in France.
Betty Ettinger and her first son John Louis Weisenbach immigrated to the United States in 1946. They settled in New York, where John Louis Weisenbach worked at the Waldorf-Astoria.
Betty Ettinger’s second son Jean-Claude Ettinger married Rita Bick, and the couple settled in the Bronx (New York, NY). Rita Bick was born in Berlin on September 19, 1920 to Willy Bick (1890-1946), a goldsmith and jeweler in Berlin, and Gertrude Bick née Rosenthal (1893-1979), who ran a store for ladies’ clothing. Rita immigrated to England with her family in the late 1930s and then to the United States in 1946.
Rita Bick’s uncle on her mother’s side was Alfons Rosenthal (alternatively Louis Alfons). He and his wife Ernesta née Meyer were both dentists. They married in Berlin in 1935 and immigrated via Holland to the United States. While the relationship of Moritz Meyer to the Ettinger and Bick families is not clear from the collection materials, he may be related through Ernesta Rosenthal née Meyer. Moritz Meyer led the Speditions- und Lagerhaus Aktien-Gesellschaft in Berlin, a transport and storage company.
Rita Bick’s aunt on her father’s side was Herta Bick, who married Leo Maler. The exact relationship between Leo Maler and Julius Maler and Betty née Maler is not entirely clear from the collection; they may have been siblings. Julius Maler was born in Berlin in 1895 and escaped Nazi persecution to Shanghai. Betty Aschkenasy née Maler had a daughter, Elfriede (alternatively Elfie), who was sent on the Kindertransport to England and whose immigration to the United States in 1948 was sponsored by the Ettinger family. Elfriede née Aschkenasy later married Erich (alternatively Eric) Willdorf.
Gerda Schulz (born 1908) married the musician Albin Nemeczek in 1934. She was baptized at the St. Hedwig Kirche in Berlin the same year. Albin Nemeczek divorced Gerda in 1943 because of her Jewish heritage. Another relative of the Schulz family was Herbert Doehl. From the materials in the collection alone, it is not clear how the Schulz, Doehl, and Nemeczek families are related to the Bick and Ettinger families.
0.75 Linear Feet
This collection contains the papers of the Ettinger family originally of Fulda, Germany, and related families. Materials include personal papers, official and legal papers, photographs, and some personal correspondence and ephemera. The collection reflects the experience of some family members in internment and forced labor camps in France, their later immigration to the United States, and their restitution claims. The photographs are either formal portraits or depict leisure activities from the late 19th century through the 1930s.
The collection is arranged by personal or family name. Where materials could not be related directly to one person or family, they were arranged by document type.
The collection was digitized and made accessible in its entirety with the exception of oversized materials, which were not digitized due to technical issues.
Copies of the following items were removed to the LBI Library:
- A Visit to the Old Country: German cities extend invitations to their former Jewish citizens
- Die Berliner Gruppe Baum und der jüdische Widerstand
- Blätter des theaters der jüdischen Schulen im Reichsverband der jüdischen Kulturbünde, Jahrgang 2, Nr. 1 (Januar 1938)
- Kulturbundbühne, Jahrgang 5, Nr. 7 (Juli 1937)
- Kulturbundbühne, Jahrgang 4, Nr. 1 (Januar 1936)
- Mode Vorschau, Union Vereinigte Kaufstätten GmBH, 1938, Heft 1
- 8. Mai 1945, 1995: Veranstaltungen in Berlin und Brandenburg, 50 Jahre Frieden in Deutschland.
- French Children of the Holocaust: A Memorial Exhibition Study Guide. New York: The New School, 1997.
- Meir-Levi, David. Big Lies: Demolishing the Myths of the Propaganda War against Israel. Los Angeles: Center for the Study of Popular Culture, 2005.
- French Children of the Holocaust: A Memorial Exhibition Study Guide. New York: The New School, 1997.
- Zipfel, Friedrich and Eberhard Aleff. Gedenkstätte Plötzensee: Stätten der Verfolgung und des Widerstands in Berlin, 1933-1945. Berlin: Landeszentrale für politische Bildungsarbeit Berlin, Gedenk- und Bildungsstätte Stauffenbergstraße, 1972.
- Newsletter of the International Study of Organized Persecution of Children. Vol. 8, No. 1 (Spring/Summer 1991).
- Gurs: Souvenez-vous. Bulletin de liaison et d’information. (Incomplete run of volumes from 1992-2002).
A folder of clippings covering topics such as Holocaust memorials in Berlin and Fulda, the Kindertransport, hidden children during the Holocaust, restitution, notable Zionists, and related topics was made into the Ettinger Family Clippings Collection, AR 25547 C. Also included with these clippings are a 1938 copy of Mode Vorschau Hausmittelung for the Union Vereinigte Kaufstätten GmBH of Berlin and a copy of A Visit to the Old Country: German cities extend invitations to their former Jewish citizens published by the New World Club in 1994.
Materials were rehoused into acid-free archival folders. Envelopes containing no further information than what can be found on the enclosed letter were removed. Where materials were donated in a large envelope with notes on it, the envelope was either included in the collection if deemed safe for the other materials or the notes were copied onto archival paper. Duplicates were removed. Materials that were torn or too delicate to be handled safely were placed in Mylar sleeves. Photographs were placed in archival envelopes except in the case of identification cards with attached photographs. The Rita Bick Ettinger Collection (AR 10629, LBI Archives) was integrated into the current collection. This involved removing duplicate materials and adding the few non-duplicate materials into appropriate folders, mainly the Rita Ettinger née Bick folder.
- Autograph albums
- Berlin (Germany)
- Bick family
- England -- Emigration and immigration
- Ettinger family
- Ettinger, Jean-Claude, 1920-2004
- Ettinger, Rita, 1920-
- Gurs (Concentration camp)
- Jewish families
- Jews -- Persecutions -- France
- Jews -- Persecutions -- Germany
- New York (N.Y.)
- Official documents
- Organisation Todt (Germany)
- Restitution -- Germany
- United States -- Emigration and immigration
- Guide to the Ettinger Family Collection 1891-2006 AR 25547
- Processed by Leanora Lange
- © 2013
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description is in English.
- Processing possible by the Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives Grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources through The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support "Illuminating Hidden Collections at the Center for Jewish History." Digitization made possible by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany.