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 NoteThe Story of Three Glass Bottles by Katie Powell - Zachor, Fall 2014 p. 11
NoteThe city of Oświęcim, Poland would later became 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 the city since the mid-1700s, their mansion a city icon. In 1804, Jakob Haberfeld established a vodka distillery. By the interwar years, Jakob’s grandson Alfons Haberfeld ran the family’s business. He married Felicia Spierer from Krakow in 1936.
In 1939, Alfons and Felicia departed on what was planned as 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, they were redirected to England just two days before their intended arrival and informed that Germany had invaded Poland.
The Haberfelds returned to New York where they tried to send money to their relatives in Poland. Gradually, they received fragments of news. Both Franciszka and her grandmother had fled to Krakow after the invasion and were living in the city’s ghetto with the rest of Felicia’s family. It was not until 1944 that the Haberfelds learned that both Franciszka and her grandmother had been murdered in Belzec death camp. Both Alfons and Felicia remained in the USA and worked in their later years to have the family home in Poland returned to the Haberfeld family.