Joseph Birnberg and Mania Nussenbaum Birnberg papers

Language of Description
Alt. Identifiers
  • 2014.412.2
  • 2014.412.1
  • 2018.406.1
Level of Description
  • German
  • English
  • Russian
  • Hebrew
  • Yiddish
  • Polish
EHRI Partner

Extent and Medium




Biographical History

Joseph Birnberg (born Josef Birnberg, 1920-1997) was born on 20 November 1920 in Kołomyja, Poland (Kolomyi︠a︡, Ukraine) to Nachman Kerner Birnberg (b. 1880) and Ernestyna Esther Tropp Birnberg (b. 1886). Nachman owned a weaving factory where he made patterns for rugs and textiles. Joseph had three brothers, David Salomon (b. 1904), Baruch (Bubbie, B. 1924), and Moses (Emil, b. 1930). Joseph graduated from the Polish Business School in Kołomyja. After the Soviet Army occupied eastern Poland in 1939, the Kerner-Birnberg family factory was confiscated and Joseph was conscripted into a work battalion. He survived the Holocaust in the Ural region of Russia where he worked cutting trees in a forest and as a bookkeeper. After the war, Joseph was repatriated back to Poland and worked for a Jewish congregation in Wrocław. He moved to Salzburg, Austria in 1946 to work for the American Joint Distribution Committee. He married Mania Nussenbaum, a survivor from Zborów, Poland, in 1947. They lived in the New Palestine DP camp and immigrated to the United States in 1951. They settled in Chicago and had two children: Nathan (b. 1950) and Renee (later Renee Birnberg Silberman). Joseph’s parents and brothers all perished during the Holocaust.

Mania Nussenbaum Birnberg (born Mania Nussenbaum, 1922-2010) was born on 13 September 1922 in Zborów, Poland (Zboriv, Ukraine) to Natan Nisan Nussenbaum (b. 1900) and Amalia Wolfzahn Nussenbaum (b. 1895). She had one brother, Bumek (Abraham), and one sister, Ryfka (Regina). The Nussenbaum family were religious, and owned a small brewery, a mill, and produced vinegar in their cellar. In 1942 family friend Golda Schächter and her children Martin and Frieda fled Skalat (Ukraine) and were hidden by Marysia Barys, who lived in the small village of Gaje Kajdanowe (today Kudinivitsi) near Zborów. Marysia expressed a willingness to hide others, and Golda wrote to the Nussenbaum family in the Zborów ghetto. As a large number of Nazis approached the ghetto, Mania and another young woman escaped. Mania reached Marysia’s house and was hidden there until they were liberated by the Soviet Army. In May 1945 Mania, Golda, and her children moved to Opole briefly, and then to Salzburg. Mania’s family were deported from Zborów and perished at the Bełżec Killing Center. She married Joseph Birnberg in 1947 and they immigrated to the United States in 1951.

Archival History

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum


United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Renee Birnberg Silberman In memory of her parents: Joseph N. Birnberg and Mania Nussenbaum Birnberg.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Renee Birnberg Silberman

The collection was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum by Renee Silberman in 2014. Accretions were donated in 2015 and 2018. The accessions previously numbered 2014.412.1 and 2018.406.1 have been incorporated into this collection.

Scope and Content

The collection includes documents and photographs relating to the Holocaust-era experiences of Joseph Birnberg, originally of Kołomyja, Poland (Kolomyi︠a︡, Ukraine), including his wartime work in the Ural region of Russia, his postwar work with the American Joint Distribution Committee in Salzburg, Austria, his marriage to Mania Nussenbaum, and their immigration to the United States. Also included are a small amount of documents and photographs related to Mania, originally of Zborów, Poland (Zboriv, Ukraine), in the New Palestine DP camp in Salzburg. Biographical materials include documents related to Joseph’s wartime employment in Russia as a wood cutter and bookkeeper; his work with a Jewish congregation in Wrocław, Poland and the American Joint Distribution Committee in Salzburg; a small amount of correspondence; and his immigration to the United States. Other materials include Joseph and Mania’s Ketubah and marriage document, a postwar document regarding property of Mania’s, restitution paperwork, and identification cards of family friend Golda Schächter and her daughter Frieda. Photographs include depictions of Joseph and Mania’s marriage and life in the New Palestine DP camp, the Schächter family, pre-war images of the Birnberg family, and post-war depictions of Renee Birnberg’s husband Joseph Silberman’s family, who were also Holocaust survivors.

System of Arrangement

The collection is arranged as two series. Series 1. Biographical material, 1943-1965 Series 2. Photographs, circa 1920-1993


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.