Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower

Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

View All Posts

Feb 26

When Jewish and German Refugees Arrived in Greene County

Posted on February 26, 2016 at 9:42 AM by Elise Kelly

Last week, we featured an interweaving, coincidental tale that involved murder, gambling and public drunkenness. This story began to unravel when our Records Manager and Archivist found notes concerning a murder case scribbled on the back of a voucher. To read the beginning of our story, please refer to our last post.  We would like to tell our readers, the outcome of the trial. Mr. Grantham was found guilty of manslaughter and was sentenced to 6 years in prison.

Coming to America

From yesteryear to the present day, America has been a beacon of hope, freedom and opportunity for immigrants. At different intervals of time, our nation has experienced an influx of people from the British Isles, to the coasts of Greece, to the plains of Russia.
ellis island
Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island, 1902  via Wikimedia Commons

Before the onslaught of World War II, thousands of European Jews migrated to the United States. Conveniently, many settled in New York after coming through New York's Harbor. However, others did venture more westward.

Marie Treuer - Part of her Naturlization Record
 Marie Treuer, declared her intention to become a U.S. citizen in Xenia, Ohio in October of 1939. Marie was a Jewish woman born in Czechoslavakia in 1897. She married an Austrian man named Fritz Treuer in Vienna in 1920.

During the 1930s, Austria's government was moving more towards a centralized government in line with the fascist model.

By March of 1938, the country was annexed by Germany and subsequently, a large number of people fled Austria. Only eight months later in November, nearly all of the synagogues in Austria were destroyed.

Fortunately, Marie, her husband Fritz, and their thirteen year old son, Robert, escaped the devastating destruction that was carried out by the Nazis. Let's examine Marie's Declaration of Intention Form. (See Below).

                               Greene County Naturalizations 1940-1958

By 1940, the family was living in the village of Yellow Springs. I believe both Marie and Fritz were working at Antioch College at the time. (See Below).

                   1940 Miami Township (Village of Yellow Springs Census Record)

Fritz is listed as a "Stenographer - College Personnel" and Marie is listed as a "Music Teacher - College."
How fortunate, Marie went from being a cook in 1939 to teaching music at the college level only a year later! She probably was a music teacher in Vienna.

In 1942, when Fritz was forty-eight years old, he had to register for the selected service. (See Draft Card Below).

                              Fritz Treuer's 1942 Registration Card

According to this registration card, Fritz was working for the Antioch Bookplate Company.

Similar Paths
  At the same time the Treuer Family was making their way to America, a thirteen year old girl named Elise Cahn, was crossing the Atlantic on a vessel named The Manhattan.

Elise did not arrive in Greene County until 1943. (See Declaration of Intention Form Below).
Elise Cahn - Part of her Naturalization Record

                          Greene County Naturalizations 1940-1958

In '43, Elise was enrolled at Antioch College. Notice in the above record, her present nationality states: "stateless former German." Sometime between Elise's birth in 1925 and her voyage to America in 1938, she moved to Amsterdam in Holland. Cahn is both a Jewish and a German surname. Perhaps Elise sought initial refuge in the Netherlands but left before the Nazis entered in 1940.

During the war years, the process to become a U.S. Citizen was lengthy. Heribert Buerger, also born in Germany during the 1920s (1923 to be exact), arrived in the U.S. in 1936. When he filled out his Declaration of Intent in Xenia in 1941, he was eighteen years old. In 1944, he was still waiting to become a U.S.citizen. (See Letter Below).

                                Greene County Naturalizations 1940-1958

Mr. Buerger wanted nothing more but to become a citizen of the United States. These naturalization records are not only fascinating to examine but are extremely helpful. Through these records, we can obtain an understanding of the individual's past history and its significance that played out on the world stage.

Until Next Time!

This Week's Trivia Question:
How many refugees from Europe were accepted in the United States before and during World War II?

Answer to Last Week's Trivia Question: Where was Camp Dennison located? Answer: Near Cincinnati, Ohio


You must log in before leaving your comment