John Kafka collection

Language of Description
Alt. Identifiers
  • 1995.A.0102
  • RG-10.239
1 Jan 1901 - 31 Dec 1995
Level of Description
  • German
  • English
  • French
EHRI Partner

Extent and Medium


oversize folder




Biographical History

Dr. Eduard Bloch (1872-1945) was a Jewish medical doctor who practiced in Linz, Austria in the late 1800s to early 1900s. Eduard was born in Frauenberg (currently Hluboká nad Vltavou, Czech Republic) and had three sisters and one brother. He married Emilie Kafka (Emliy, 1875-1961, born Linz) in 1902 and they had a daughter, Gertrude Bloch (Trude, later Kren, 1903-1992, born in Austria). Eduard studied medicine in Prague and served as a medical officer in the Austrian Army. After his discharge in 1901, he opened a private practice in Linz. His patients included Adolf Hitler and his mother, Klara Hitler (1860-1907). Eduard treated Klara for breast cancer that eventually claimed her life and he served as the Hitler family doctor until 1907. Hitler expressed his gratitude for Eduard’s caring and professional treatment of his mother in postcards sent to Eduard prior to becoming Chancellor of Germany. After Germany's annexation of Austria, Eduard's medical practice was closed on October 1, 1938. Gertrude and her husband, Franz Kren (Frank, 1893-1976, born in Austria), immigrated to the United States in October 1938 aboard the SS Conte di Savoia. Their two children, George (1928-2000) and Joanne, were already in England and were soon reunited with their parents in America. After his practice was closed, Eduard wrote to Hitler and received special protection by the Gestapo. Eduard and Emilie were allowed to remain in their home until their immigration paperwork was finalized. In December 1940, they sailed aboard the SS Marqués de Comillas from Lisbon and arrived in the United States on January 8, 1941. They reunited with Gertrude and her family and settled in New York, but Eduard was no longer able to practice medicine because his medical degree was not recognized.

John Kafka (born Hans in 1921) was born to Egon Kafka (?-1927) and Klara Braunschweig Woltar (born in Switzerland). Klara married Paul Woltar in 1910. Shortly after the birth of their daughter, Grete (b. 1913) Paul died. In 1919 Klara married Egon Kafka and moved to Linz, Austria. Egon passed away in 1927. In the mid-1930s John was sent to a boarding school in France on the advice of his uncle, who felt that Austria had become unsafe for Jews. After two years John moved in with his Aunt Bertha Braunschweig in Strasbourg. Klara joined her son in 1938. After the German invasion of France in 1940, Klara and John moved to central France before immigrating to the United States in March 1941. John was Eduard Bloch’s nephew. Eduard helped raise John after his father’s death in 1927.

Archival History

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum


The John Kafka collection was donated by John Kafka to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1994 and 1998.

Scope and Content

The John Kafka collection mainly consists of correspondence, printed material, and articles relating to Dr. John S. Kafka and Gertrude Kren’s (née Bloch) refutation of Rudolph Binion's (1927-2011) psychoanalytic theories on the origins of the Holocaust and correspondence related to the return of postcards and other items written by Adolf Hitler to Dr. Eduard Bloch. The collection also includes biographical material and articles written by Eduard Bloch as well as biographical material, photographs, and family research relating to the Bloch and Kafka families. Biographical material includes original and photocopies of Eduard Bloch’s obituary and memorial, a writing by Lili Bloch titled “How I met my husband” and other articles about her life, and Bloch and Kafka family research and photographs. The series also includes a family history, curriculum vitae, a list of publications, and clippings relating to John Kafka. Correspondence includes original and photocopies of letters between Eduard Bloch, friends, and colleagues and correspondence to and from Gertrude Kren regarding an article by Rudolph Binion’s referencing and with her lawyer in attempts to locate postcards sent to Eduard from Hitler. The series also includes correspondence about articles, reviews, and journals and letters regarding Binion’s article from John Kafka. Printed material includes reviews of Adolf Hitler: A family Perspective, The Mind of Adolf Hitler, and The Devil in the Flesh, articles written by Eduard Bloch, Gertrude Kren, George Kren, and John Kafka, promotional material, and refutations and responses to articles by Rudolph Binion and David Irving. Series 4 includes articles and clippings relating to the war and the post-war analysis of the Holocaust.

System of Arrangement

The collection is arranged in four series: Series 1: Biographical material, 1919-1990s Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1901-1992 Series 3: Printed material, 1946-1995 and undated Series 4: Articles, 1927-1992 and undated



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.