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Leon Weinstein collection

 Collection
Identifier: 2021-004-h-r

Content Description

The collection contains a reproduction of the false identity passbook "Kennkarte" used by Leon Weinstein. In addition, a false identity assumed by Leon Weinstein by the General Government from Warsaw, Poland, in 1942. Both documents used Weinstein's false name, Leonard Cravnecki. The collection includes, a card identifying Weinstein as the Chairman of the Committee of Polish Jews from Breslau, Germany, in 1946. As well as, there is a separate card that identifies Weinstein as a member of the "Ichud," the Society of Zionist Democrats, from Breslau in 1947.

Dates

  • 1940 - 1949

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions.

Biographical / Historical

Leon Weinstein was born on May 13, 1911, in the village of Radzymin, Poland. At twelve years old, Weinstein became an apprentice to a local tailor. But he would then travel to Warsaw, without telling his parents to seek better employment opportunities. Continuing to work as a tailor, Weinstein saved money to return to his hometown at the age of eighteen. Weinstein joined the Polish Army and served two years in the cavalry.

When Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, Leon fought on the front line. Captured, he was sent a prison camp in Kovel, Ukraine. He managed to escape, walking 500 miles back to Radzymin. In the Radzymin ghetto, he joined the underground, smuggling arms to the resistance. Altered by German soldier's offhand remark, Leon fled with his wife, Sima, and infant daughter, Natalie, born in 1940, just before the ghetto was liquidated and its Jews sent to the death camp Treblinka. Of his large family, only he survived.

The couple now focused their efforts to save their child. Homeless, and with no money, they abandoned their daughter to save her life. Natalie was dressed warmly and had a cross placed around her neck, a sign proclaiming she is the daughter of a war widow unable to feed her. Then they left her on the steps of a police station. Sima went into hiding, Leon returned to the Warsaw ghetto, fighting in the upspring. He was among the few to escape through the rat-infested sewers. He would never learn what happened to his wife.

At war's end, his single hope was to find Natalie. For six months, Leon traveled across Poland on his bicycle, searching one convent orphanage after another. After visiting many, he spotted Natalie and immediately recongized her. He was able to confirm the identification by her birthmark above her hip. Natalie was four years old. A few months later, Leon met Sophie, a survivor of Auschwitz. They married and in 1952 came to the United States. Natalie, as an adult, married, had two children and became a psychotherapist. Leon died in Los Angeles, California on December 28, 2011.

Extent

1 Files

Language of Materials

German

Abstract

The collection contains a reproduction of Leon Weinstein's false identity documents, as well as membership cards of the Committee of Polish Jews from Breslau and the Society of Zionist Democrates.

Arrangement

The collection is processed in chronological order.

Title
Leon Weinstein collection
Status
Completed
Author
Tiana Taliep
Date
9/8/2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Oskar Schindler Archives Repository

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