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Biographical/Historical Information

Gerda Preuss was born in 1920 in Dusseldorf to father Philipp and mother Anna (née Marx). She has one brother, Kurt, born in 1911. Gerda had been sent to Switzerland in 1935 to receive training as a nurse for babies, and then she moved to New York in 1939. Gerda worked as a baby nurse and then managed a medical practice while attending New York University, where she completed a BA in education and a MSW in Clinical Social Work. She was a psychiatric social worker at the VA for 30 years and also maintained her own private practice. She died in 2020 at age 100.

Anna or Aenny Marx was born in Cologne in 1887. As a young woman she spent time in France, Belgium, and England. She married Philipp Preuss and had two children, Kurt and Gerda. They lived in Dusseldorf until rising Anti-semitism forced Philipp and Aenny to leave in 1938. Both their children had already left Germany by then. They first settled in England (where Aenny had a friend from her time spent abroad), and then they moved to America in 1941. They arrived in Boston with very little luggage, as their belongings that been burned during an air raid in Antwerp while being transported to America. After immigrating to America and then moving to New York, Aenny did work as a caterer for parties. She and her husband returned to Germany briefly in 1958 and thereafter received a small sum of money in restitution.

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Napkin rings and small cup from the Preuss family, Leo Baeck Institute, 2022.25a-c.