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Inventory of the Rudolf Herz Papers, 1944-2011

Descriptive Summary

Abstract: The collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, interviews on videocassette and DVD, photographs, and other papers of Rudolf "Rudy" Herz, a native of Stommeln, Germany, who survived incarceration in Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, and other concentration camps during World War II. After immigrating to the United States in 1946, he served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
Title: Rudolf Herz papers
Creator: Herz, Rudolf, 1925-2011
Date(s): 1944-2011    
Extent: 2.33 linear feet
(2 document boxes, 1 flat box, 5 videocassettes)
Repository: Special Collections, College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424
Phone: (843) 953-8016
Fax: (843) 953-6319
Call Number: Mss 1065-050
Language of Material: Materials in English, German, and Czech

Biographical Note

Rudolf "Rudy" Herz (1925-2011) was born in Stommeln, Germany, son of Ernst and Karoline Herz. In 1942, he and his entire family, including his parents, grandmother, four brothers, and a sister, were deported by train to Theresienstadt concentration camp outside of Prague. Herz stayed in Theresienstadt until May 1944, at which point he, his parents, and his siblings were sent to Auschwitz; his grandmother died while in Theresienstadt.

In July 1944, Herz and his older brother, Alfred, were selected for labor in a camp near Dresden, Germany, where they worked until February 1945. As the Russian army approached the camp, they were forced to march toward the interior of Germany. From there, they were sent by train to Mauthausen, then Gusen, deadly work camps in Austria. By the end of April, having seen SS guards at the camp destroy technical drawings for the planes produced there, Herz knew that Allied forces were near. The guards soon abandoned their posts and fled the camp.

On May 5, 1945, two days before Germany surrendered, American troops arrived at Gusen and liberated the prisoners. Herz made his way to nearby Linz, Austria, seeking medical treatment. He traveled to Holland, then trekked to France, joining a group that planned to settle in Israel. However, after he learned that his younger brother Karl-Otto had survived the war and immigrated to the United States, he decided to follow him. Herz served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and eventually settled in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with his wife, Ursula Syré Herz, whom he married in France in 1964.

Collection Overview

The collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, interviews on videocassette and DVD, photographs, and other papers of Rudolf "Rudy" Herz, a native of Stommeln, Germany, who survived incarceration in Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, and other concentration camps during World War II. After immigrating to the United States in 1946, he served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

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.


    • Herz, Rudolf, 1925-2011
    • Auschwitz (Concentration camp)
    • Theresienstadt (Concentration camp)


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


    • Stommeln (Pulheim, Germany)

    Types of Material

    • Black-and-white photographs
    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Color photographs
    • Correspondence
    • Costumes (character dress)
    • DVDs
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Manuscripts (document genre)
    • Notes
    • Photocopies
    • Translations (documents)
    • Typescripts
    • Videocassettes

    Related Resources

    Related Material

    Related materials in College of Charleston Special Collections include three oral history interviews with Herz, Mss 1035-099 (1996), Mss 1035-251 (2001), and Mss 1035-349 (2011).


    Photographs, 1952, 2010-2011, undated   box 1 | folder 1

    Two photographs of Rudy Herz in Korea during the war. Also included are two military insignia used by Herz's unit.

    "1945", 2008, undated   box 1 | folder 2

    Manuscripts, typescripts, and notes related to "1945," a short memoir by Herz describing events immediately after the liberation of Mauthausen, where Herz was imprisoned.

    "The Traverse Flute of Frederick Wilhelm II", 1999, undated   box 1 | folder 3

    Annotated typescripts and notes related to "The Traverse Flute of Frederick Wilhelm II", a short memoir in which Herz describes hearing a radio program that was accidentally broadcast over the public address system in an unnamed camp.

    Manuscripts and notes, 1999-2008, undated   box 1 | folder 4

    Miscellaneous manuscripts, poems, and other writings by Herz, mostly handwritten.

    Theresienstadt letters, 1944, undated   box 1 | folder 5

    Color photocopies of Herz's letters and postcards, in French and German, to Lilly Schörpner.

    Correspondence, Hermann Gurfinkel and Dieter and Irene Corbach, 1980, 1990-1996, undated   box 1 | folder 6

    Letters, clippings, and other ephemera in German from Hermann Gurfinkel and Dieter and Irene Corbach.

    Correspondence, Hans Krasa Initiative, 1987-1999   box 1 | folder 7

    Letters, clippings, and ephemera in German and Czech from and relating to the Initiative Hans Krasa and the Terezin Initiative, associations created to educate the public about Theresienstadt.

    Correspondence, Papst-Johannes XXIII-Schule, 2010   box 1 | folder 8

    Letters and posters in German from students at Papst-Johannes XXIII-Schule in Stommeln, Germany, Herz's hometown. The students posted flyers in Stommeln to commemorate four Jewish children from the town who were killed during World War II, including three Herz children.

    Miscellaneous correspondence in English, 1988-2011   box 1 | folder 9

    Miscellaneous correspondence in German and Czech, 1999-2011, undated   box 1 | folder 10

    Hate mail, 1993, 1995, undated   box 1 | folder 11

    Antisemitic clippings and pamphlets, some with annotations, mailed to Herz from anonymous senders.

    Clippings in English, 1992-2009   box 1 | folder 12

    Photocopies of newspaper and magazine articles, including two letters to the editor written by Herz.

    Clippings in German, 1988, 2004-2011, undated   box 1 | folder 13

    Photocopies of newspaper and magazine articles and book excerpts.

    German translations, 2011   box 1 | folder 14

    Translations of some written German items in the collection, including clippings and book excerpts.

    Biographical information, 1943, 1945, 2000-2013, undated   box 1 | folder 15

    Includes eulogies of Herz written by Theodore Rosengarten and Paul Lawton, and a program from his funeral, held on October 24, 2011. Also included are copies of a program from a 1943 performance of Turandot in Theresienstadt and additional biographical information about Herz provided by his wife, Ursula Syré Herz, and daughter Chantal Herz Fryer.

    Stommeln lecture, 2011   box 2 | folder 1

    Lecture in German given by Rudy Herz while visiting the Papst-Johannes XXIII-Schule in Stommeln, Germany. Lecture is divided over two DVDs.

    Stommeln students' project, 2011   box 2 | folder 2

    Materials on DVD created by students of the Papst-Johannes XXIII-Schule in Stommeln, Germany, including documents, correspondence, and videos related to their Holocaust remembrance project. Translations of selected video interviews with Stommeln residents regarding the project are included. Two copies on DVD.

    Hier und Heute, 1986   box 2 | folder 3

    Report from the German television program Hier und Heute about the Jews in Stommeln, including an interview with Rudy Herz. Included is an English translation of the report. Two copies on DVD.

    Pulheimer Beiträge zur Geschichte, 2009   box 2 | folder 4

    Collection of essays in German about Pulheimer history. Rudy Herz and the Herz family are discussed on pages 279-280.

    Juden in Stommeln, Teil 1, 1983   box 2 | folder 5

    Part one of a two-part history in German of the Jewish community in Stommeln and the nearby city of Cologne.

    Stommeln, 2003   box 2 | folder 6

    Illustrated book in German about Stommeln.

    Guestbook, 2011   box 2 | folder 7

    Guestbook presented to Rudy Herz during his 2011 visit to Papst-Johannes XXIII-Schule in Stommeln.

    Reproduction of a concentration camp uniform shirt, undated   box 3

    South Carolina Council on the Holocaust interview, undated   videotape 1065-050-v01, 1065-050-v02
    (JHC Videocassettes Box 5)

    Two copies of an oral history interview with Rudy Herz.

    Seared Souls: Voices from the Holocaust, 1997   videotape 1065-050-v03, 1065-050-v04
    (JHC Videocassettes Box 5)

    Two copies of an SCETV documentary about Holocaust survivors who settled in South Carolina.

    Terezin: Resistance and Revival, 2003   videotape 1065-050-v05
    (JHC Videocassettes Box 5)

    Documentary about prisoner art at Terezin and how it was used as propaganda by the Nazis.

    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], Rudolf Herz papers, College of Charleston Libraries, Charleston, SC, USA.

    Acquisitions Information

    Materials were donated in 2012 by Ursula Syré Herz, wife of Rudolf Herz.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Rebecca McClure, September 2013.

    Encoded by Rebecca McClure, October 2013.

    Reviewed, edited, and uploaded by Martha McTear, December 2013.

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