Harry Blas and Erika Stockfleth Blas papers
The collection consists mainly of copy negatives, slides, and digital images of pre-World War II images of the families of Harry Blas, born in Łódź, Poland, and Erika Stockfleth Blas, born in Grevesmühlen, Germany. Post-war images show their 1951 wedding in Hamburg, Germany, and their daughter, Susan. Also included is a short memoir by Harry Blas detailing his experiences in the Łódź ghetto and Auschwitz concentration camp, and a handwritten genealogy of the Stockfleth family by Erika Blas.
- circa 1910-circa 1980
Language of Material
Materials in English
This collection is open for research.
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Harry Blas (1924-2003), né Herszl Blass, was born in Łódź, Poland, to Sarah and Peretz Blass. In 1939, after the German occupation of Łódź, Blas and his family, including his parents, siblings, and young nephews, were ordered to move to the Jewish ghetto. In August 1944, the family was sent to Auschwitz. From there, Harry Blas was sent to Austria to work in an ammunition factory, where he stayed until the American army liberated his camp. Only one other member of Blas's family survived, his brother, who had volunteered to work in a German labor camp while in the Łódź ghetto.
Erika Stockfleth was born in Grevesmühlen, Germany, to Marie-Gertrude Botta-Stockfleth and William Stockfleth. Her mother, who was Jewish, had been raised by a great-aunt after her parents died in a train wreck. In 1941, her father, a Protestant, helped a Jewish family escape Nazi Germany by taking the family to Hamburg and helping them buy tickets for travel to Uruguay. Upon his return to Grevesmühlen, he was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to fight on the Russian front. His family never saw him again, and believed that he may have perished in a Russian labor camp.
Afraid that their Jewish identity would be discovered, Marie-Gertrude Botta-Stockfleth hid Erika and her younger sister, Heidi, with a gentile girlfriend. Marie-Gertrude told Erika that she was Jewish shortly before going into hiding, but she did not tell Heidi, instead saying that she was sick as an excuse for the girls being sent away. Shortly before the war ended, a farmer took the sisters home and they arrived a few days ahead of American troops. In February 1946, Marie-Gertrude Botta-Stockfleth died of pneumonia. Her daughters could not find a rabbi in Grevesmühlen and the Jewish cemetery had been demolished, so their mother was eulogized by a Protestant minister and buried in a Christian graveyard.
Erika Stockfleth met Harry Blas while he was hospitalized in Germany. Stockfleth had come to the hospital to visit a school friend, and Blas was in the next bed. After Blas was released, he introduced Stockfleth to his brother and sister-in-law, who were living in Grevesmühlen with other Jewish displaced persons from Łódź. This group, including Blas and Stockfleth, decided to cross the border into the western section of Germany controlled by the British and Americans; Erika's sister had already crossed the border and joined her in Hamburg. Stockfleth and Blas married in 1951, then moved to New York a year later. In 1966, the couple relocated to Charleston, South Carolina, with their five-year-old daughter, Susan. Harry Blas's first cousin, Guta Blas Weintraub, had already settled in Charleston with her family.
0.1 linear feet (2 folders)
The collection consists mainly of copy negatives, slides, and digital images of pre-World War II photographs of the families of Harry Blas, born in Łódź, Poland, and Erika Stockfleth Blas, born in Grevesmühlen, Germany. Also included is a short memoir by Harry Blas detailing his experiences in the Łódź ghetto and Auschwitz concentration camp, and a handwritten genealogy of the Stockfleth family by Erika Blas.
Materials are described at the folder level.
Materials lent for copying in 2000 by Harry Blas and Erika Stockfleth Blas.
Alternate Form of Materials
Digital reproductions available online in the Lowcountry Digital Library.
Processed by Rebecca McClure, January 2012.
- Auschwitz (Concentration camp)
- Blas, Erika
- Blas, Harry, 1924-2003
- Grevesmühlen (Germany)
- Holocaust survivors -- Poland
- Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
- Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Personal narratives
- Jewish ghettos -- Poland -- History
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Atrocities
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Concentration camps -- Germany
- black-and-white negatives
- black-and-white slides
- color slides
- digital images
- genealogies (histories)
- photo CDs
- Łódź (Poland)
- Inventory of the Harry Blas and Erika Stockfleth Blas Papers, circa 1910-circa 1980
- Processed by: Rebecca McClure; machine-readable finding aid created by: Rebecca McClure
- Description rules
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources supported the processing of this collection and encoding of the finding aid.