Alfred and Ellen Lewis papers

Language of Description
Alt. Identifiers
  • 1995.A.0250
Level of Description
  • English
  • German
  • Chinese
EHRI Partner

Extent and Medium


oversize folder




Biographical History

Alfred Lewy (1908-1991) was born in Berlin to Moritz and Frieda Lewy. At the time of Hitler’s rise to power, Alfred owned a wholesale import/export business. Due to the rise of anti-Semitic laws, however, his business was taken from him, and Alfred looked for ways to leave the country. After failing to gain a visa to the United States and Paraguay, Alfred and his parents eventually obtained passage to Shanghai, China. They left on a Japanese ship out of Naples in April 1939, and arrived in May of the same year. While living in Shanghai, both Moritz and Frieda died. Alfred soon married Ellen Katz, who he met in the Shanghai ghetto, and both left for the United States in 1947. The couple settled in New York City, and changed their last name to Lewis.

Ellen Katz (1923 - ) was born to Martin and Edith Katz in Berlin, Germany. She was a student at the time of the Kristallnacht, when her parents decided that the family must leave Germany. They moved to Shanghai in June of 1939. While in Shanghai, Ellen worked when she could, but her family carried on mainly from the assistance given by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Ellen met and married Alfred Lewy, and sailed for the United States in 1947. Her mother died in Shanghai, but her father was able to immigrate to the United States soon after Alfred and Ellen.

Archival History

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum


The Alfred and Ellen Lewis papers were donated to the United States Holocaust Museum in 1993 by Ellen Lewis.

Scope and Content

The Alfred and Ellen Lewis papers document the journey of Alfred Lewy and Ellen Katz, two German Jews who immigrated with their families to Shanghai, China soon after the Kristallnacht. Documents include passports, registration cards, correspondence with the Consulate General, and other documents obtained in both families’ pursuit of a visa, first to China and later to the United States. Also included are copies of the Shanghai Jewish Chronicle (Shanghai Echo), a German newspaper published for Jewish refugees in China. The Alfred and Ellen Lewis papers contain primarily documents obtained by both families in their immigration to Shanghai and later the United States. Each series is separated by individual, beginning with Alfred Lewy and then Ellen Katz, followed by each set of parents. The documents contained in the collection a variety of paperwork needed to leave Germany, including passports, police registration forms, correspondence with Consulate Generals to obtain visas, certificates of conduct, and documents concerning the military service of Moritz Lewy and Martin Katz. Other documents concerning immigration to the United States includes medical documents such as vaccination booklets, affidavits, verification forms and visa applications. Also included are several copies of the German newspaper Shanghai Jewish Chronicle (later Shanghai Echo), which was a newspaper published for Jewish refugees in Shanghai.

System of Arrangement

The Alfred and Ellen Lewis are arranged as five series: •Series 1: Alfred Lewy, 1938-1959 •Series 2: Ellen Katz Lewis, 1938-1959 •Series 3: Moritz and Frieda Lewy, 1915-1940 •Series 4: Martin and Edith Katz, 1910-1959 •Series 5: Publications, 1945-1947


Corporate Bodies



This description is derived directly from structured data provided to EHRI by a partner institution. This collection holding institution considers this description as an accurate reflection of the archival holdings to which it refers at the moment of data transfer.