Lore Stern's Doll
Lore Stern, from Kassel, Germany, was a toddler under the age of two when the Kristallnacht pogrom took place.
Lore's father, Markus Stern, was arrested and sent to the Buchenwald camp. The neighbors offered to hide his wife Kaetchen and their little daughter in their house, to protect them from the rabble that was breaking into and vandalizing Jewish homes. Lore, already in pajamas, hid with her mother at the neighbors' until the pogrom was over. When they returned home, they found that the place had been torn apart, and was not fit for habitation. They moved in with Kaetchen's mother, Lena Kahnlein-Stern. After six weeks' internment, thanks to the US visa in his possession, Markus was released on condition that he leave Germany immediately. Having reached the US, Markus started working on getting his wife and daughter out of Germany. Eighteen months later, Kaetchen and Lore finally obtained US visas. They sailed from Portugal on the "Mouzinho" in August 1941. Lore took Inge, the doll she had received for her birthday from her grandmother Lena, with her on her voyage. She dressed Inge in the pajamas that she had worn the night of Kristallnacht, pajamas she had since grown out of. On 9 September, the ship docked in New York port, and Markus was reunited with his family.
Markus and Kaetchen only discovered what had befallen those family members who had remained behind in Germany after the war. Markus's parents Jettchen and Daniel Stern, Kaetchen's mother Lena, Markus's only sister Sarah, Kaetchen's sisters, Bella Simon and Selma Sender and their families, were all murdered in the Holocaust. Moritz and Erma, two more of Kaetchen's siblings, immigrated to the US before the war.
In 1991, Lore immigrated to Israel. In 2018, she donated her doll, Inge, personal letters and documents to Yad Vashem for posterity as part of the "Gathering the Fragments" project.
In the testimony, Lore spoke about her doll, Inge:
It [the doll] was very meaningful for the simple reason it was given to me as a gift from a grandparent… and of course the fact that I brought it from Germany with me was very meaningful. After I married and had children, I didn't allow them to play with her… The pajama she always wore, that was my remembrance from Kristallnacht.
In Their Own Words
Lore Mayerfield Stern, born in Marburg, Germany, talks about the Kristallnacht pogrom in Kassel, and how she and her mother hid in the home of their German neighbors to escape the violence and vandalism.