Sophie Henriette Bettelheim’s Passport
Donated by Gary Siegel
Sophie Bettelheim’s Austrian passport was stamped in Vienna and France before she ultimately escaped to the US in 1941.
Austria was annexed by Germany in 1938. Sophie’s name can be found in Nazi records from that time when Jews were forced to report their assets. Weeks later, these assets were transferred to Aryan ownership.
To move to the United States, each person needed an immigration visa stamped into his or her passport. It was very difficult and time-consuming to receive this visa; the entire process could take years. A refugee like Sophie would have an easier time moving to other European countries while waiting to enter the U.S.
To learn more about US Immigration policy, how it affected Jewish refugees from the Nazis, and how it connects with Pittsburgh’s survivor community, see our original online exhibit For You Were Strangers: Jewish Immigration to Pittsburgh, 1880-1990