Accession Number: NEKHC:2015.26

Object: Hat Box

Category: Dorothy Fleming; The Dorothy Fleming Collection; Life Before the Holocaust; Austria; Kindertransport

Physical Description: Fabric, card and plastic box. Metal buckle to secure lid. Blue, red, and green tartan fabric. Floral lining fabric.

Information on Item: This hat box forms part of the Dorothy Fleming Collection. The hat box belonged to Dorothy's mother, Hanna.

Further Information: This hat box forms part of the Dorothy Fleming Collection and belonged to Dorothy’s mother, Hanna. Dorothy Fleming was born Dora Oppenheimer in Vienna, Austria, and as a young child enjoyed family life. Reflecting on her early life Dorothy recalls good memories of her childhood in Vienna where she lived with her parents, sister, and paternal grandmother. Hanna and Dorothy had a good relationship, and the two were members of an ice skating rink which holds fond memories for Dorothy. Music was a large part of Dorothy’s young life, musical interests were encouraged by her mother who sang in a philharmonic choir and was an accomplished violinist. Hanna along with her mother, Clara, known to Dorothy as ‘Big Grandma’ would play chamber music together with Clara playing the piano. As a response to the increasing danger to the family from the rise of Nazism and persecution of Jewish people, Dorothy and her sister were sent by their parents to England on the Kindertransport in January 1939. Hanna was able to secure passage to Britain along with Erich, Dorothy’s father, who had been an optician in Vienna and was able to secure a related work permit to come to Britain through the help of a friend. When they left, Dorothy's parents were able to bring many of their belongings and sent much into storage including larger items such as furniture. Hanna's mother, Clara, did not leave Vienna as she chose to stay and care for her husband (Dorothy’s grandfather) Jaques, who had become very ill. Jaques died of natural causes in 1941, because she no longer had an opportunity to leave Clara was deported by the Nazi regime to Lodz Ghetto in the same year. From there Clara was taken to Chelmno Killing Centre, where she was murdered. Hanna lived to an elderly age in Britain. 

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