Letter from the Comité voor Joodsche Vluchtelingen (Committee for Jewish Refugees), the leading Jewish refugee relief agency in the Netherlands, informing Franz Blumenstein that its staff is well aware of his family's case and has applied for permission to emigrate with the proper authorities.
Franz Blumenstein operated a successful business in Vienna before his family's voyage on the St. Louis. When the Nazis unleashed the violent pogroms on Kristallnacht ("Night of Broken Glass"), he was arrested along with more than 3,000 other Viennese Jews and taken to the Dachau concentration camp. His wife Else obtained his release with a sizeable bribe and on the condition that he soon emigrate. Franz left shortly thereafter for Venezuela and eventually made his way to Cuba. There he purchased landing certificates for his wife, their 3-year-old son Heinz Georg, and his mother Regina.
Heinz and Else Blumenstein in Heijplaat Quarantine Center in Rotterdam, summer 1939.
When the St. Louis was forced to return to Europe, the Blumensteins disembarked in the Netherlands. In November 1940, Else and Heinz received entry visas for the Dominican Republic, where her husband Franz had joined an agricultural colony. But they could not obtain exit visas from the Netherlands, by now under German occupation.

During the height of the deportations from Holland, Regina hid young Heinz from the police who arrested her. Else and Heinz fled to northern Holland, where the Dutch resistance provided them with separate safe hiding. Else was nevertheless arrested and, on September 24, 1943, deported to Auschwitz.

Heinz survived the war in hiding and later rejoined his father in the United States.


March 12, 1941

My Dearest Feryle,

As you wrote me that you have not yet received Heinzile's photo, I am sending it once again and also enclosing passport photos of both of us. Perhaps they will arrive in time for your birthday. . . . It won't be long and then we will, with G-d's help, be re-united; that would be in any event the most beautiful present we could receive. There is some hope that the transport will depart and I am counting on it with all my heart. For two years, I have lived for the day when I will rejoin you, because you alone are my life. I have not lived in the time we have been separated; only our dear child helps me to survive. It is worth carrying the heavy burden in order to fight for a new, healthy future for him. Our Golden Boy is in every respect, mentally and physically, a splendid fellow. From 7 in the morning when he wakes up, he starts chatting; from 9-12 he is in school; and then he comes home and the house is alive again. He always has something to tell: what they have done in school, with whom he has had a fight, and where I have to take him after school. Now the latest is that in the afternoons, I must give him 1 or 2 cents, and then, all by himself, he buys either chewing gum or candy. . . . I am lucky that I have put a few gulden away to help with our daily expenses. Everything has become expensive and scarce, and each week I need an additional 2½-3 gulden for fruit, butter, and chocolate. I also am looking better now and also feel very well. I will, however, only be fully healthy and content when I am again with you, my darling. Then my body and soul will again blossom. From you I expect also a detailed report on how you spend your time, without discussing departures.

I and your dear child kiss you in longing and deep love. Your faithful companion for life. A thousand kisses.

Else and Heinzile

Notification that entry visas to the Dominican Republic had arrived in Amsterdam for Else and Heinz Blumenstein. November 16, 1940.

Else Blumenstein writes of her longing to be re-united with her husband in Sosúa. March 12, 1941.

Heinz (Henry) Blumenstein and his mother, Else, Amsterdam, 1940.
During the height of the 1942 deportations from Holland, Else writes Franz that many of her acquaintances "have disappeared." Less than a year after writing this letter, Else Blumenstein was discovered in hiding and deported to Auschwitz.



USHMM Home Page