Guide to Hans Esberg correspondence 1988.1300

Guide to Hans Esberg correspondence

Summary Information

Tauber Holocaust Library
Esberg, Hans, 1892-1971
Hans Esberg correspondence
1943, 1945 Oct-Nov
1.0 Folder(s)
Multiple languages
Language of Materials note
Materials are in English, and in German with English translation.
Mixed materials [Folder]
Archives Box 5
This collection comprises correspondence to Dr. Hans Esberg from Max Cohn about his experiences surviving refugee camps and concentration camp. Also included is a letter written to Dr. Esberg by the wife of a GI dated May 5, 1945. The soldier was given a letter from Dr. Esberg’s mother by a friend of hers. That letter is dated March 8, 1943 and describes the death of his father and the imprisonment of Max Cohn, who was in Theresienstadt.

Preferred Citation note

Hans Esberg correspondence – 1988.1300, Tauber Holocaust Library – JFCS Holocaust Center, San Francisco, California

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Biographical/Historical note

Absent biographical material, this history was constructed through online genealogical resources, including ship manifests and Social Security death records.

Hans Esberg was born on April 11, 1892 in Wolfenbuttel, Germany. A physician, he was married to Betty Esberg (born 1896) and had a daughter, Gertrud (born 1921). The Esbergs left Germany in November 1938 and traveled first to New York and then to San Francisco, arriving on November 25, 1938. Dr. Esberg registered for the draft in April 1942.

Dr. Esberg died in 1971; Mrs. Esberg died in 1989.

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Scope and Contents note

This collection comprises correspondence to Dr. Hans Esberg, a German refugee living in San Francisco, from family members in Germany during and immediately after World War II.

The collection includes a letter of particular interest, written to Dr. Esberg by the wife of a soldier and dated May 5, 1945. The letter explains that her husband, Berthold Berlizheimer, a German refugee, while with the armed forces in Germany, was given a letter written by Dr. Esberg’s mother. The letter had been entrusted to a friend, who asked that the soldier pass it along to Dr. Esberg in San Francisco. The original letter was lost – because of censorship concerns, the letter had to be translated into English. The collection includes the English language transcript of the letter, as well as a typed version.

The collection also includes correspondence from Max Cohn, the brother of Dr. Esberg’s wife, about his experiences while interned in Terezin concentration camp from 1942 until its liberation in May 1945 by the Russians. Because Max Cohn was a World War I veteran who lost an arm, he was deported to Terezin along with other veterans. He describes the general living conditions in Terezin, the administration of the camp, the wood factory where he worked, and the privations the camp inmates suffered. He notes the visit of outside observors, a period during which the camp was temporarily improved and mentions the filming of a documentary by the famous German director Kurt Gerron. (The Fuehrer Gives a City to the Jews.) Mr. Cohn also describes his experiences during and after the liberation of the camp, and his return to Wiedenbruck, where he had lived prior to the war. Writing to family members, he also recounts the fate of his father, who died prior to deportation, and the arrival of his mother to Terezin from Wolfenbuttel, and her illness and subsequent death.

The original narrative was written three separate letters, in German, from October 1945-January 1946. An English language version is also available.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Tauber Holocaust Library

JFCS Holocaust Center
2245 Post Street
San Francisco, CA, 94115
[email protected]

Conditions Governing Access note

There are no restrictions to access for this collection.

Conditions Governing Use note

There are no restrictions to use for this collection.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Theresienstadt (Concentration camp).

Personal Name(s)

  • Cohn, Hans
  • Cohn, Max — Correspondence


  • Army spouses, United States
  • Concentration camp inmates — Czech Republic — Terezin (Severoéceský kraj)
  • Concentration camps — Czech Republic — Terezin (Severoéceský kraj)
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) — Czech Republic — Terezin (Severoéceský kraj)
  • Refugee camps — Europe
  • Soldiers — United States
  • World War, 1939-1945 — Concentration camps — Czech Republic
  • World War, 1939-1945 — Personal narratives, Jewish

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Collection Inventory

Correspondence regarding mother of Dr. Esberg, 1943-1945

Letter from Kate Berlizheimer, 1945 May 5

Translation of mother’s letter of 1943 March 8, handwritten by Berthold Berlizheimer, unknown

Typescript of handwritten letter with notation, unknown

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Correspondence to Dr. Esberg from Max Cohn, 1945-1946

Correspondence from Max Cohn, 1945 October 26 – 1946 January 29

English translation of correspondence from Max Cohn, unknown

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