» Resources   » Archival Collections   » Joseph Zobel Collection
Joseph Zobel Collection (1939-1945)
ACC# 2004.010
EXTENT: Archived 1 of 6 boxes

Biographical and Historical Note
Joseph Zobel was born Nov. 22, 1900 in Bruss, Poland. He lived in Berlin, Germany from 1930-1935. He lived in Tel Aviv, Palestine from 1935-1938. He immigrated to the United States in 1938. Initially, he lived in San Antonio, Texas from 1938-1939. He moved to Corpus Christi, Texas in 1939.

He was the owner of City Loan & Jewelry Co., which was located at 1008 Leopard St. in Corpus Christi.

Zobel sent money to Paul Fleischer, his brother-in-law, and Julius Zobel, a brother who lived in Berlin, Germany. There are records in the collection of money transfers to both from 1939 to 1941 while they were in Berlin.

Fleischer was deported in 1941. There is a record of a Julius Zobel, from Berlin, who was transported to Osten (Gedenkbuch – Opfer der Verfolgang der Juden).

Zobel sent money and aided his other brother-in-law, Martin Fleischer, who was a member of the French Foreign Legion stationed in Bou-Afra, Morocco. Martin Fleischer was born Feb. 11, 1902 in Berlin, Germany. He was a German citizen until he lost his citizenship because he was a Jew. He lived in Berlin until 1938. He fled to France and joined the French Foreign Legion at the outbreak of the war. He was sent to Morocco.

Zobel worked with various immigrant aid organizations to send money to these three relatives. He also worked with organizations to secure safe passage for Martin Fleischer to travel to the United States.

Zobel received assistance from the:

  • American Friends Service Committee (the Quakers)
  • American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
  • American Red Cross
  • AUFBAU (an American Jewish weekly publication in German and English)
  • German American Company
  • Hebrew Sheltering & Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
  • Labor Zionist Emergency Fund
  • National Refugee Service, New York City
  • Self Help of Emigres from Central Europe, New York City, and

Collection Overview:
The Joseph Zobel Collection is housed in archival boxes and is arranged in three subgroups. Subgroups have been designated for correspondence (Immigrant Aid and Personal), Business/Financial Records and Miscellaneous.

This collection consists chiefly of correspondence between Zobel and various immigration aid services. It also contains receipts from currency wire transfers, personal letters, business correspondence and bills.

The correspondence that encompasses the collection paints a picture of what Zobel’s life was like from 1939 to 1945. It shows the true persistence of a man who immigrated to the United States and his determination to help his family. He did everything he could to help financially, as well as securing the necessary visa to bring Martin Fleischer to the United States.

Subgroup/Series Descriptions:
  • Series 1:
    Correspondence to and from Zobel and other personal documents, arranged chronologically.
    The correspondence is housed in one archival box and is arranged in five folders chronologically. The correspondence is written in German, English and French. The majority of the correspondence deals with the aid that Zobel gave in helping his family members in Germany and in French-occupied Morocco. There is significant correspondence between Zobel and HIAS. Much of this correspondence deals with Zobel securing a visa for Martin Fleisher to leave French Morocco to come to the United States. There are several wire transfers to Fleischer as well as to the various organizations to pay for Fleischer's journey. There also is correspondence between Zobel and various governmental agencies in regard to Zobel being declared an "enemy alien" after the United States declared war on Germany. There is a dialog about the confiscation and return of guns from Zobel’s business (City Loan and Jewelry) because of his "enemy alien" status.

    Folder 1: 1939
    Folder 2: 1940
    Folder 3: 1941
    Folder 4: 1942
    Folder 5: 1943

  • Series 2:
    Records pertaining to Zobel's business, City Loan and Jewelry.
    Box 2: Correspondence and records, 1938-1940
    Box 3: Correspondence and rRecords, 1941-1945
    Box 4: Invoices and receipts, 1939-1945

    These materials were received as one accession in 2004 as a gift of Scott Serota, who found the documents in boxes in a building in Corpus Christi.

Container List:

     Box/Location            Series                                             Dates       
     1                             Correpondence                                1939-1945
     2-3                          Business and financial records           1939-1945
     4                             Miscellaneous
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