Leather briefcase

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Name of the exhibit: Leather Briefcase

Submitted by: Phil Emberley

Date of origin: 1932

Origin of the object: This briefcase was given to my father, Dieter Werner Eger by his parents, who later perished in the Holocaust. It was my father’s most treasured object as a child and he used it to take his books to school in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. In approximately 1934, my father was no longer permitted to attend school by the local authorities due to his Jewish ethnicity. The bag was most likely made in Germany, and purchased in Frankfurt am Main. The year selected above is approximate, likely +/- one year.

Description: My father was saved during the Holocaust by the Kindertransport. He arrived in England in August, 1939. For travel purposes via the Kindertransport, he was allowed to carry only this piece of luggage. While the bag was a treasured object during his childhood years (likely the most expensive thing he owned) it took on a whole new symbolism to the trauma that he experienced during the Holocaust. All of his relatives perished, and all personal mementoes were lost except for this bag. There is an ink inscription inside the bag “WE”. As a child, he was referred to as Werner, his middle name.

Voyage to Ottawa: I have been in possession of this object since my father’s death in 2006. It will remain a family heirloom and poignant reminder of the Holocaust.