Suitcase of Awiwa Finkelstejn
Gift of Aviva F. Blumberg
Id no. 774.91, Luggage
Subject(s):  Emigration-DP, Journey, Children
After the war, Awiwa [Aviva] Finkelstejn packed all her belongings into this small suitcase and set off for the United States to reunite with her father, Chaim Finkelstejn, the only other surviving member of her immediate family. Awiwa had been born in Warsaw, Poland in 1931. Chaim Finkelstejn was in Switzerland attending The World Zionist Congress when the war started in 1939, was unable to return to Poland, and ended up in USA in 1940. He immediately began to try to get visas for his family to join him. With the invasion of Poland, however, Awiwa was eventually sent to the Warsaw Ghetto with her older sister Esther, and her mother, Rivka. Before the ghetto was sealed, Rivka was able to pass into the ?Aryan? side of Warsaw occasionally, where she made contact with a non-Jewish shopkeeper by the name of Marja Rychowiecka. Upon Rivka?s request, the shopkeeper agreed to hide Awiwa in her home. Thus, Awiwa survived the years of the war, while her mother and sister were killed. After the war, Awiwa found an old family friend in Warsaw who contacted her father. The friend bought this suitcase and gave it to Awiwa for her journey to meet her father. After receiving temporary care in a children?s home in Otwock, Poland, Awiwa finally set out for her journey to the U.S. in November 1945. She traveled to Sweden and Norway, as indicated by the Norwegian SS Stevengerfjord sticker on the front of the suitcase, then sailed from Oslo to New York, arriving at 622 West 113th Street in Manhattan, her father?s address, as indicated by the US customs sticker.
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