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Inventory of the Joe Engel Papers, 1938-2006

Descriptive Summary

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.
Title: Joe Engel papers
Creator: Engel, Joe, 1927-
Date(s): 1938-2006    
Extent: 0.25 linear feet
(5 folders)
Repository: Jewish Heritage Collection, Special Collections, College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424
Phone: (843) 953-8016
Fax: (843) 953-6319
URL: http://archives.library.cofc.edu
Call Number: Mss 1065-011
Language of Material: Materials in English, German, Polish

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.


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.

Collection Arrangement

Materials are described at the folder level.


Search Terms

The following terms have been used to index this collection in the Library's online catalog. They are grouped by name of person, family, or organization, by topical subject, by place, and by types of material.

    Names

    • Engel, Joe, 1927-
    • Auschwitz (Concentration camp)
    • Zeilsheim (Displaced persons camp)

    Subjects

    • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
    • Holocaust survivors--Poland
    • World War, 1939-1945--Atrocities

    Places

    • Zakroczym (Poland)
    • Zeilsheim (Frankfurt am Main, Germany)

    Types of Material

    • Correspondence
    • Digital images
    • Black-and-white negatives
    • Photocopies
    • Photographs
    • Rosters

    Related Resources

    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.


    Inventory



    Photographs, 1938, 1945-1949, late 1950s, 1970s   folder 1

    Photographs of Engel and his family in pre- and post-war Poland and the displaced persons camp in Zeilsheim, Germany. Also includes photographs of Engel and family in Charleston, South Carolina and Natanya, Israel. Photographs are available in the Lowcountry Digital Library.



    Photocopies, 1938, 1945-1949, late 1950s, 1970s, 1998, undated   folder 2

    Photocopies of photographs in folder 1 and a newspaper clipping about the 1998 Holocaust Remembrance Commemoration in Charleston.



    Negatives, 1938, 1945-1946   folder 3

    Negatives and digital images on CD and DVD of photographs in folder 1.



    Correspondence, 2004, 2006   folder 4

    Correspondence in English and Polish regarding Engel's unsuccessful attempts to have his photograph displayed in the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland.



    Auschwitz rosters, 1943, 1944, undated   folder 5

    Photocopies of German Auschwitz rosters on which Engel's name appears.


    Administrative Information

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Joe Engel papers, College of Charleston Libraries, Charleston, SC, USA.

    Acquisitions Information

    Materials were 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.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Rebecca McClure, May 2011.

    Encoded by Rebecca McClure, December 2011.

    Reviewed and uploaded by Martha McTear, January 2012.

    Funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources supported the processing of this collection and encoding of the finding aid.

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