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Joe Engel papers

 Collection
Identifier: Mss 1065-011

Collection Overview

Photographs, correspondence, and other papers of Joe Engel, a Polish Jew imprisoned at Auschwitz from 1942 until 1945. Photographs depict Engel and other family members in pre-war Poland, as well as in Zeilsheim, a post-war German displaced persons camp. Other photographs show Engel and family members in Charleston, South Carolina, and Natanya, Israel. Correspondence relates to Engel's unsuccessful attempts to have his photograph displayed at the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland.

Dates

  • 1938-2006

Creator

Language of Material

Materials in English, German, Polish

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

The nature of the College of Charleston's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. Special Collections claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Biographical Note

Joe Engel was born on October 9, 1927, in Zakroczym, Poland, approximately 25 miles northwest of Warsaw. He lived with his parents and eight siblings in a rented three-room house. Engel spoke Yiddish at home and also knew some Polish, German, and Hungarian. He started attending cheder when he was five years old and began public school at the age of seven. After the German invasion of Poland in 1939, Engel's family was forced out of Zakroczym and escaped to Plonsk, east of Warsaw. Plonsk was eventually turned into a ghetto.

In 1942, the Nazis liquidated the Plonsk ghetto. Engel was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in the fall of 1942. He was selected to attend a bricklaying school in the Auschwitz main camp. Engel worked in this camp until January 1945, when he and other prisoners were sent on a death march through Czechoslovakia, ahead of Russian forces. Survivors of the march, including Engel, were forced into open cattle cars, from which Engel escaped by jumping. He managed to hide from SS patrols in the area and joined a Nazi resistance group. Liberated by the Russian army in March 1945, Engel returned to Poland, eventually escaping to West Germany to avoid being drafted by the Polish army. In 1949, Engel obtained an affidavit to immigrate to the United States from an aunt living in Charleston, South Carolina.

Extent

0.25 linear feet (5 folders)

Abstract

Photographs, correspondence, and other papers of Joe Engel, a Polish Jew imprisoned at Auschwitz from 1942 until 1945. Photographs depict Engel and other family members in pre-war Poland, as well as in Zeilsheim, a post-war German displaced persons camp. Other photographs show Engel and family members in Charleston, South Carolina, and Natanya, Israel.

Collection Arrangement

Materials are described at the folder level.

Acquisitions Information

Materials donated in 2000 by Joe Engel.

Alternate Form of Materials

Digital reproductions of photographs and oral history transcript available online in the Lowcountry Digital Library.

Related Material

Related materials in Special Collections include a 1997 oral history interview with Joe Engel (Mss 1035-147). Also available in the media collection is a 2002 interview with Engel in the videorecording "For every person there is a name" (D804.3 .F68 2002) and a curriculum package and resource guide for South Carolina voices: lessons from the Holocaust (Mss 1070, D804.3 .S34 1992). This documentary includes videotaped interviews with South Carolina Holocaust survivors, including Engel. Digital reproductions of photographs and oral history transcript are available in the Lowcountry Digital Library.

Processing Information

Processed by Rebecca McClure, May 2011.

Title
Inventory of the Joe Engel Papers, 1938-2006
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by: Rebecca McClure; machine-readable finding aid created by: Rebecca McClure
Date
2011
Description rules
DACS
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Sponsor
Funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources supported the processing of this collection and encoding of the finding aid.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Special Collections
College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424
(843) 953-8016
(843) 953-6319 (Fax)