Haberfeld factory bottle
Date of CreationUnknown, likely 20th century
GenreDaily Life & Household
Place of CreationOświęcim, Poland
DescriptionA bottle manufactured for use in the Haberfeld vodka distillery and factory in Oświęcim, Poland.
Measurements28 x 15 x 8 cm
InscriptionsFront: Jakob Haberfeld Oświęcim with crest
ProvenanceGifted to the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre in 2014 by an anonymous donor, who acquired the bottles in Poland.
Legal Statuspermanent collection
Credit LineCourtesy of an anonymous donor
Associated Materials Note"The Story of Three Glass Bottles" by Katie Powell, Zachor, Fall 2014 p. 11
NoteThe city of Oświęcim, Poland would become known as Auschwitz under German occupation and was adjacent to the complex of Nazi concentration and extermination camps by the same name.
The Haberfeld family had lived in Oświęcim since the mid-1700s; their mansion was a city landmark. Jakob Haberfeld established the Haberfeld vodka distillery in 1804. Jakob’s grandson Alfons Haberfeld ran the distillery in the interwar years.
In 1939, Alfons and his wife, Felicia, departed on a three-week business trip to New York for the World’s Fair. Their two-year-old daughter, Franciszka Henryka, remained in Poland in her grandmother’s care. When the couple tried to return home, two days before their intended arrival, they were redirected to England and informed that Germany had invaded Poland.
The Haberfelds returned to New York and tried to send money to their relatives in Poland. Gradually, they received fragments of news. Both Franciszka and her grandmother had fled to Kraków after the invasion and were living in that city’s ghetto with the rest of Felicia’s family. In 1944, the Haberfelds learned that both Franciszka and her grandmother had been murdered in the Bełżec death camp. Alfons and Felicia remained in the US and worked to have the family home in Poland returned to the Haberfeld family.