Hirsch/Hirt Family Papers / Record Group 31

Title Hirsch/Hirt Family Papers

Dates 1930–2010

Accession Number RG-31

Extent 0.2 linear foot (1 box and 1 folder)

Provenance Donated by Susanne Hirt.

Biographical Note

Susanne Hirsch was born in Berlin, Germany on August 1, 1913 to Josef and Dorothea Sara Hirsch. She had three siblings, Margarete Hirsch (b. October 9, 1911); and Alexander and Rosetta Hirsch (b. September 2, 1892) who were from her father’s first marriage to Hedwig Houscfel. In 1934 Susanne was forced to withdraw from medical school in Berlin. She then proceeded to study gymnastics in Switzerland and Vienna, Austria before in 1938 accompanying a German couple out of Europe as their au pair. With her arrival in the United States Susanne was told by her employer to change her name from Hirsch to Hirt. Around 1941 Susanne began to teach Anatomy at the University of Wisconsin, she also enrolled in courses for Physical Therapy. She later earned a Masters degree in Education from the University of Virginia and in 1945 was hired by the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia where she remained until she retired at the age of 69.

Margarete Hirsch escaped Germany and lived in England before immigrating to the United States in the late 1940s. When she first escaped to England, Margarete worked with refugee children and later became a translator for the American Army, work that took her back to Germany. Once in the United States Margarete worked as a social worker in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. When she retired she moved to Richmond, Virginia. There are photographs of her with Susanne and their half-sister Rosetta, together in Richmond. Once Margarete and Susanne left Germany they each wrote to their mother, Dorothea Sara Hirsch (Dora Sara) who remained in Berlin. There were many attempts made to emigrate Dora Sara out of Germany to live with Susanne in the United States. None were successful and communication ended in January 1942. Attempts were made by both sisters to work with the Red Cross to locate Dora Sara. It was later determined that she was deported to and perished in Riga, Latvia.

There is less known about Rosetta Hirsch, but it is clear that she lived with Susanne before her death in 1965. She left behind many letters and personal statements regarding her life in Germany during Hitler’s rise to power, as well as about her father’s brother, Hermann. Hermann Hirsch was the younger brother of Josef Hirsch and known as a portrait and landscape painter. His style was fluid between naturalism and impressionism. In 1934 he committed suicide. There is no documentation regarding Susanne’s half-brother Alexander Hirsch.

Restriction on Access No restriction    Restriction on Use No restriction    Language English and German.

Preferred Citation Virginia Holocaust Museum, Record Group 31, Hirsch/Hirt Family Papers, [Folder #].

Scope and Content

The Hirsch/Hirt Family Papers consists of biographical materials, correspondence, government documents, photographs, articles, reprinted copies of Hermann Hirsch artwork, address books and documents pertaining to the donated records and their location. Biographical materials provide an overview of the lives of the Hirsch family, focusing on Susanne Hirt, and including Dorothea Sara Hirsch, Margarete Hirsch, Rosetta Hirsch, and Hermann Hirsch. These materials include written statements, family trees, and interview notes. The bulk of the record group is made up of correspondence, primarily between Dora Sara Hirsch and her daughters Margarete and Susanna between the years 1938 and 1942. Also included is Red Cross communications, government documents, emails from Ruth Shapiro, the executor of Susanne Hirt’s estate. Family photographs depict Dora Sara, Margarete, and Susanne together, some including their father. Others are of the sisters, Susanne, Margarete, and Rosetta living in Richmond post-war. Also included are portraits of Susanne and Margarete associated with their employment in the years during and after the war. Articles and newspaper clippings show Susanne’s career in Physical Therapy, cultural events such as a play and a televised documentary of the Holocaust. There are also articles on Hermann Hirsch and his art, with Rosetta’s letters regarding his work. There are reprinted copies of some of his sketches and paintings with specifications per piece as well as a cd with digital copies. Remaining materials include address books and the script of a speech in London and scans of a book cover.


Box Folder Contents
1 1 Biographical Materials
1 2 Correspondence
1 3 Agency Documents
1 4 Hermann Hirsch Papers
1 5 Newspaper Clippings and Articles
1 6 Family Photographs
1 7 Address books, speech
1 8 Post-Donation Documentation
2 1 Oversized Photo

Indexing Terms

  • Hirt, Susanne (b. August 1, 1913, d. September 17, 2006)
  • Hirsch, Margarete (b. October 9, 1911, d. January 31, 2000)
  • Hirsch, Rosetta (b. September 2, 1892, d. November 25, 1965)
  • Hirsch, Dorothea Sara (b. August 9, 1877, d. 1942)
  • Hirsch, Hermann (b. June 4, 1861, d. March 4, 1934)
  • Hirsch, Josef (b. December 9, 1854, d. February 23, 1922)
  • Hirsch, Alexander (b. unknown, d. unknown)
  • Houscfel, Hedwig (b. 1861, d. unknown)
  • Stucki, Ilse (b. unknown, d. unknown)
  • Höxter, Irma (b. unknown, d. unknown)
  • Weigert, Oscar (b. unknown, d. unknown)
  • Freundlich, Gunda (b. unknown, d. unknown)
  • Fischer, Anne (b. unknown, d. unknown)
  • Fischer, Ernst (b. 1896, d. 1981)
  • Shapiro, Ruth (b. unknown)
  • Horowitz, Inge (b. unknown)
  • Charlottenburg, Germany
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Bremke, Germany
  • Riga, Latvia
  • Richmond, Virginia
  • Medical College of Virginia
  • American Army
  • Red Cross International Committee
  • American Red Cross
  • Deutsches Rotes Kreuz
  • United States–Emigration and Immigration–History–20th Century
  • United States–Holocaust–Personal Narratives
  • United States–Holocaust–Victim's Families
  • American Journal of Physical Medicine
  • Virginia Vignettes
  • Oral History Series
  • The Reflector
  • A National Jewish Interagency Project
  • The Liberal Jewish Synagogue, London, England
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