Scope and Contents
From the Collection:
The Ruth Becker papers date from 1858 to 2007 and measure 4.75 linear feet. The papers are arranged in four series: Salzmann Family, Ruth Salzmann Becker, Photographs, and Artifacts. This collection provides a look into the life of a German Jewish family from Berlin during the early days of the Nazi occupation and the family's subsequent immigration to the United States in 1940. The papers in this collection are not only from Ruth Salzmann Becker, but also from her parents Hans and Käethe Salzmann, her sister Eva Salzmann Vichules, and her uncle Curt Salzmann. A considerable amount of information is also included about Becker's grandparents.
The Salzmann Family series (1858-1996) contains biographical information about Ruth Salzmann Becker, her parents Hans and Käethe Salzmann, and her sister Eva Salzmann Vichules. Hans Salzmann was a medical doctor in Berlin. After emigrating to the United States, he established a medical practice in New York City. Käethe Salzmann was a physical therapist and amateur athlete. The series also includes papers of Becker's grandparents, Max and Henriette Salzmann, and Hugo and Jenny Salzmann. Max Salzmann owned a department store in Wittenberg, Germany. This series includes the family's papers and identification cards from Nazi Germany in 1939 as well as letters and postcards written or received by the Salzmann family during World War II. A small amount of correspondence from relatives who had emigrated to the United States in the mid-nineteenth century is also included in this series. Many of the items in this series are written in German.
The Ruth Salzmann Becker series (1943-2004) consists of materials concerning Becker's education, professional activities, and community activism. This series also contains a small amount of material Becker saved on the subject of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust including a Holocaust Museum booklet and a German souvenir book from the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
The Photographs series (1911-1996) makes up the bulk of the collection. Most of the albums were compiled by Hans Salzmann; a number of them picture family vacations in Europe in the 1930s. The earlier albums include photographs of German soldiers in World War I. The captions in the pre-1939 photograph albums are written in German. The Familienbuch is a genealogy containing photographs and identifications of several generations of the family.
The Artifacts series include military items from World War I such as dog tags, Käethe Salzmann's decathalon medals, and political buttons. Several books in German complete the collection.