• [Typewritten copy of the diary of Paul Meyer]
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[Typewritten copy of the diary of Paul Meyer]

Archival Item

Resource TypeDocuments
Title NoteThe supplied title proper is based on the subject of the item.
Date of Creation[after 1938]
GenreAlbums, Diaries & Scrapbooks
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 immigrate 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 document : 17 p. ; 29.5 x 20.8 cm
Scope & ContentItem is a typewritten memoir Paul Meyer wrote after his arrest during Kristallnacht until December 1, 1938 when he was released from Dachau. Also included is an abstract and commentary written by Paul Meyer more than fifty years after he wrote his memoir. Item is typewritten in black and red ink on off-white paper, with one page typed on white paper.
Caption, signatures and inscriptionsThe off-white paper contains a large watermark reading: ORIGINAL/ Schreibmaschinen. Schreibmaschinen translates to “typewriters.” Underneath the watermark’s text is a small oak tree branch with two leaves and an acorn. Four holes have been purposefully punctured into the diary’s left edge. A small white sticker with Paul Meyer’s address in Vancouver, BC is adhered to the first page.
LanguageGerman, English
Archival HistoryPrevious item number assigned by the VHEC: 96.025.004
Existence and Location of Copies