Kober family saga - Our Passports
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Kober family saga


Passport & documents.


Prior to 1939 many Jews found a new home in the British Mandate. Those who were lucky enough to escape Europe, before those horrific events that destroyed hundreds of Jewish communities on the continent, arrived with immigration certificates issued by the British consulates abroad. Thousands arrived from Poland, Hungary, Rumania, Czechoslovakia, USSR, Austria (before and after the 1938 Anschluss) and also Germany.


The Kober family, part of them, also managed to leave Germany during and before the rise to power of Adolf Hitler. Anna and her husband Max Kober immigrated to Palestine around 1936 from Munich and settled in Haifa. Her brother in-law, Salomon Kober (February 18th 1903 – February 7th 1945) left Germany before 1933 to settle in Holland, at Nijmegen. There Salomon found work at ORGANON Company, 1925, and was active in bio-chemistry research.


The family members still managed to keep in touch up to the outbreak of war: Anna using her newly acquired British Palestinian passport to travel to Germany, to Munich and Breslau and also to Holland, UK and Italy (Interesting note is the Italian visa and the consul who signed it: Quinto Mazzolini – He would sign an agreement, to be known as the Jerusalem Agreement, with what he would think to be Jewish underground elements (Lehi headed by Abraham Stern) who were seeking some sort of protection or cooperation with the Italians, should the Mandate fall to Axis hands. The “agreement” was signed in 1940 but not with the Jewish representatives, as he thought they were, but with British agents at the end).


In the images that are attached we can find visas that show us her frequent visits abroad. Salomon too made such visits and also his work took him abroad: he began to publish articles regarding his work and breakthrough in the field of hormone discoveries. As his work progressed, he became well known and an expert on the subject.


The sad story about this family is related to the brother in-law in Holland, after the German occupation. According to information that is now known and that also began to come out in 1945, the Germans prevented him and the family from leaving Holland, and continued his work for them, at Organon. This continued until September of 1944, when the Germans decided to deport him and his family to Auschwitz as well. They are listed as being deported on October 21st. As we all know by now, hours after arrival his wife and three young children were no more. He was transported, separately, to the Theresienstadt Ghetto. From then onwards there is no conclusive information about his whereabouts, though there are some reports from the beginning of 1945 that the Soviets put their hands on him and as being a scientist, most likely sent east to the USSR, but this cannot be confirmed.


The images that are shown here are of Anna’s 1937 passport, with the interesting residence permit from Munich; also, correspondence between Salomon and his family, still trapped in Breslau, from 1941 to 1942. They too perished at the end in the death camps.


Today, much more can be learned about him and his work via on-line records kept in Holland.


A truly sad ending for a family caught up in war time Europe.



Thank you for a fellow historian abroad for sending me these sample images.




Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.

Neil Kaplan
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