Telegram to Eugen Meyer regarding Canadian immigration
Date of Creation28 Nov. 1938
GenreCorrespondence & Philatelic Materials
Administrative/Biographical HistoryPaul Meyer (b. October 9, 1916, d. September 14, 2003) and Max Meyer (b. February 22, 1913, d. April 1, 2004) were born in Cologne, Germany to parents Eugen Meyer (b. August 8, 1880 Cologne, d. October 10, 1964 Vancouver) and Alice née Jonas (b. circa 1890). Eugen Meyer ran a lace and tulle fashion business, M. Meyer & Co., founded by his father, Max Meyer (b. 1848 Bubenheim, Germany, d. 1896 Calais, France) in Cologne, around 1870. Eugen took the business over in the late 1890s, after the death of his father, and ran it with his uncle, Ernest, an accountant. At its height the business employed 300 workers.
Eugen Meyer served as a soldier in the German army in the First World War and wrote a diary of his and his unit’s experiences. Eugen’s brother, Alfred Meyer (b. 1882), also a soldier in the German army, was killed in France in 1918. Ernst Jonas, father of Alice, died on March 17, 1919 while a prisoner of war. Alice’s sister, Lucie Jonas, was married to Heinrich Frank; both were killed in Sobibor in 1943.
After the Nazis came to power in Germany, the Meyer siblings and other Jewish children were forbidden to attend school. Paul was arrested during Kristallnacht and sent to Dachau. Max, a salesman, was in Hanover on business and was not arrested on that night; he was able to buy a visa on the black market to help Paul get out of Dachau. The brothers were told they had to leave Germany or be interned. They obtained passports and a transit visa with help from an uncle, and then arranged passports for their parents. The Meyers paid high taxes upon leaving Germany.
The Meyers applied to emigrate to Canada and received special permission from the Commissioner of Immigration early in 1939, but their plans were cancelled at the outbreak of the Second World War. The family was able to leave Antwerp for New York in October, 1939, and then travelled by train to a camp outside of Montreal.
They settled in Vancouver, BC, where Paul and Max started a pottery business and their mother, Alice, worked for the Red Cross. In 1954, Paul returned to Cologne and visited the former location of his family’s lace business, on Apostelnstrasse II. The original building was damaged but the basement remained intact. Paul retrieved samples and other materials produced by M. Meyer & Co. in the basement and brought these materials back to Vancouver.
Extent & Medium1 postcard : 10.5 x 14.9 cm
Scope & ContentItem is a telegram informing Max Meyer of the granting of a Canadian visa.
Caption, signatures and inscriptionsThe item is machine printed on off-white paper. Additionally, in the recto’s upper left quadrant there is an illegible handwritten mark in blue coloured pencil (?) and a stamp with the topical and chronological date in black ink. The Belgium crest is machine printed in black ink at the top of the recto. Adhered to the recto are five thin strips of off-white tape. The first three, found on machine printed lines under the crest, read: = LC/ = MAX MEYER/ 94 RUE BERCKMAENS BXL. They appear to have been torn from the same piece of tape. The other two strips have been fixed to the bottom portion of the telegram. They read: +TORONTOONT 1164/10 14 10 1527 BELGO IMPERIAL/ = EINWANDERUNG CANADA EUCH UND ELTERN HEUTE GENEHMIGT ++. Transmitted light reveals a watermark across the entirety of the paper. Due to the obstruction caused by the tape, it is difficult to determine the words in the watermark. However, wings are clearly visible. It appears that the paper was torn from something, perhaps a ledger. Two holes have been purposefully punctured into the document’s left edge (recto).
Physical Characteristics and Technical RequirementsThe telegram displays many creases and folds. Reflected light shows remnants of clear adhesive around the pieces of tape on the document’s recto. The text on the tape has been smudge and exhibits surface soiling. The verso has two areas of paper residue—no more than 1.5 x 3 cm—affixed to the left and right edges, perhaps as a result of dismounting the item from an album. A piece of clear tape remains stuck to the verso’s middle top edge.
Archival HistoryPrevious item number assigned by the VHEC: 2002.001.001