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Jüdische Geschichte und Kultur



The class photo: A search for traces of the fate of Jewish schoolchildren


Foto Süssheim

© Privatnachlass Karl Süßheim, Margot Suesheim (†), New York, und Familie

Karl Süßheim, the decades-long orientalist at Munich's Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) escaped the Shoah at the last minute in 1941 and emigrated to Turkey with his family. In his private papers - now in the possession of his granddaughter in the USA - there is a photo from 1937 showing his older daughter Margot's class in the courtyard of the Jewish elementary school ("Volksschule") in Herzog-Rudolf-Straße in Munich. The persecuted professor wrote down the names of all the children on the back of the photo with his usual care. This provides a starting point for the search for traces of their fates.

In a seminar at LMU, Kristina Milz (Leibniz Institute for Contemporary HistoryBavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities ), Julia Schneidawind (LMU) and 13 students are currently researching the fates of these children using online databases and research literature, but also archival sources. How does biographical research work? What can we find out about a person when initially we only have a name? The example of Margot Suesheim, who Americanized her name in her adopted country after the Second World War shows that the most astonishing life stories can be hidden behind the individual names. Often, but not always, these biographies ended in gruesome murder at the hands of the Nazis. The research project will result in an exhibition and publication.