Family photographs of WW2 Jewish refugees donated to Suffolk Archives

Claire Duncan and Victoria Savoulidis, Archivist at Suffolk Archives, Bury.

Claire Duncan has donated the historic family photographs to the Suffolk Archives. - Credit: Hannah Salisbury / William E Barton

Historic photographs of World War Two Jewish refugees who started new lives in Suffolk have been donated to the county archives in Bury St Edmunds.

On Monday, July 25, Claire Duncan, from Bungay, donated the family photographs to the archive after recognising people featured in the 'We Have To Move On' exhibition at the National Horse Racing Museum, in Newmarket.

The exhibition looked at refugees living in the Palace House Stables hostel in Newmarket during the 1939-45 conflict.

Claire Duncan

Claire Duncan got in touch with the archive after recognising people at another exhibition. - Credit: Hannah Salisbury

After seeing an advertisement for the exhibition, Mrs Duncan reached out to Suffolk Archives as she had old photographs of some of the people in the display, inherited from her parents.

The photos were taken by Mrs Duncan's father, William Barton, in June 1941. William was a conscientious objector who met Friedel Fanger, a Jewish refugee who fled to Britain with her parents, through agricultural work during the war.

The couple married in Burwell, near Newmarket and Friedel worked in a refugee hostel in Cambridge. It is not clear what their connection to the Palace House Stables hostel was.

Mrs Duncan said: “I haven’t yet seen the exhibition yet, I’m hoping to soon and I know I’ll feel so proud that I was able to contribute to such an important story.

Fritz and Eva Ball

Fritz and Eva Ball – Originally from Berlin, Fritz and Eva arrived at Palace House Stables in May 1939 and lived there until 1943. - Credit: William E Barton

Kate Littmann

Kate Littmann – Born in 1879 in Laurahütte, Germany, now known as Siemianowice Slaskie and in Poland. After her time in Newmarket, Kate emigrated to the USA in 1943, where she joined her son in Texas. - Credit: William E Barton

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"I’d been wondering what to do with these photos, knowing that they would have meaning and importance, and shouldn’t just be sitting in an album unseen.

"I felt really glad that they will now be seen by future generations but also a little sad that they weren’t part of my family’s private photos anymore.

"My mother was also a German Jewish refugee who helped other refugees at the time, so it feels like a little bit of her is missing now. However, she wouldn’t have been so sentimental!”

Community and Learning Officer (West Suffolk) at Suffolk Archives’ Bury St Edmunds branch,  Hannah Salisbury added: "Claire has kindly decided to gift the photos to Suffolk Archives, where they will be preserved for present and future generations.

"Her photographs add to the research we’ve been doing with the NHRM (National Horse Racing Museum) for the ‘We Have to Move On’ project, over the last two years.

"These new photographs are the latest addition to the collection, and it’s great to put faces to some of the names which the project team have discovered.”  

Claire Duncan and Victoria Savoulidis

Left to Right: Claire Duncan and Victoria Savoulidis, Archivist at Suffolk Archives, Bury. - Credit: Hannah Salisbury.

Frieda and Peter Hartstein

Frieda and Peter Hartstein – Frieda Hartstein was an opera singer from Vienna. In 1936 she and her husband Max, a doctor, were in London, where she gave birth to their son, Peter. By September 1939 Frieda and Peter were living at Palace House Stables but Max had gone back to Germany. - Credit: William E Barton