WASHINGTON — The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is opening a new exhibit based on the contents of one Holocaust survivor’s purse and the story of her imprisonment in a concentration camp.
The museum is opening the exhibit, “Camilla’s Purse,” Friday in a documents gallery. It focuses on Camilla Gottlieb and the records she secured in her black leather purse, including letters, official documents and personal possessions.
Camilla Gottlieb and her husband Hermann Gottlieb were among Vienna’s 200,000 Jews when Germany annexed Austria in 1938. In 1942, they were deported to a camp in Czechoslovakia.
Hermann Gottlieb died of a lung infection in the camp, but Camilla Gottlieb survived. She eventually emigrated to the U.S., and her family learned more about her Holocaust experience after finding her purse when she died.
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