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Rudy and Hilde Miller Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS 200.24
The papers of Rudy and Hilde Miller offer an understanding of the German-Jewish refugee and émigré experience during the 1930s in England and the United States. It also offers a glimpse into the fate of Jews who remained in Germany if they were unable to secure exit visas. Variant spellings of names occur throughout the collection. Both Rudy Miller [Windmüller] and Rudy Max Falkenstein have the same variant spellings of their first name at different times. Rudi Windmüller is also known as Rudy Windmüller in Germany, and in the United States is known as Rudy Windmüller, Rudy Windmueller, and Rudy Miller. Rudy Falkenstein is also known as Rudi in England. Hildegard Heymann, Rudy Windmüller’s sister, writes from Germany as Hilde. Hilde Müller, is know by a variant spelling of Hilde Mueller. On marriage to Rudy Miller, she becomes Hilde Miller. Fröhlich, is also spelled Froehlich.

Series I consists of materials relating to Rudy Miller as Windmüller and his life in Germany from 1915 through the 1930s, his emigration via Cuba, and his attempts to bring his sister and her family to the United States as documented in Subseries A. Considerable photographic documentation appears in subseries B, in the form of scrapbooks detailing family, friends and social groups of which Rudy Windmüller was a member in Germany. Documentation in subseries A also indicates other German-Jewish associations, within sports organizations and the Independent Order B’nai Brith in Germany (UOBB: Unabhängiger Orden Bne Briss). Subseries C, D and E document life in the United States, work in retailing, social life, family life and fatherhood.

Series II consists of materials relating to Hilde Miller prior to her marriage, during her marriage to Rudy Miller and widowhood. Subseries A details life for Hilde Mueller/Müller as a refugee on a domestic service visa into the United Kingdom. Placed through a local British rabbi at the home of Max and Miriam Waldenberg, Hilde enjoyed a close association with them, and their children throughout their lives. Documentation shows how they attempted to aid the parents of Hilde Mueller/Müller to leave Germany. Eventually as other sections of this subseries document, both Leo and Adele Müller were forced into a camp from where they sent Red Cross telegrams. This subseries also highlights the growing friendship between Rudy/Rudi Falkenstein and Hilde Mueller/Müller. Also a refugee, he was interned on the Isle of Man in Peveril, near Peel, but later released, and also aided by the Waldenberg’s. He later became seriously ill, and died in 1946. The remainder of this series documents Hilde Mueller/Müller departure from England to the United States with the aid of the Waldenberg’s. Subseries B includes considerable photographic documentation in the form of scrapbooks detailing family, friends and social groups of which Hilde Mueller/Müller was a member. Subseries C, D and E document life in the United States, work, family life and motherhood. A significant section of subseries C details efforts for reparations claims to Germany, an ongoing requirement, as laws changed over time. Within subseries C, a small amount of materials touches on Hilde Miller extended family on both Mueller and Fröhlich (maternal) lines.

Series III documents the youth years of Evelyn Miller, and her marriage to Barry Weinstein, as well as Weinstein family materials, retained by Hilde Miller from her perspective as mother and grandmother.

Dates

  • 1915-2004
  • Majority of material found within 1938-1978

Creator

Language of Materials

Collection material in English and German.

Terms of Access

The personal papers of Rudy and Hilde Miller Papers, 1915-2004, (bulk 1938-1978) are open for research. There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of this collection.

Copyright

Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Extent

2.67 Linear Feet (2 manuscript boxes, 1 legal manuscript box, 1 flat oversize box)

Overview

Personal papers documenting aspects of émigré and immigrant lives of Hilde and Rudy Miller and their family, friends, and foster family in Germany, England and America. Material includes German, US and UK government documents, personal and legal correspondence and photographs.

Biographical Note

Rudy Miller known as Rudolph Salomon Windmüller at birth was born on June 4, 1903 to parents Karl and Emma Windmüller in Duisburg-Beeck a town near Gelsenkirchen in Nordheim, Westphalia, Germany. His mother was born Emma Spier. The Windmüller’s made their home in Gelsenkirchen where they had a store, with the family name of Windmüller. In 1937, in face of growing anti-Semitism, and harassment by police, who began tracking his travel movements, he managed to leave Germany on a visa to Cuba, and then made his way to Buffalo, NY. In Buffalo he became a furniture buyer for Maisel Furniture, a job he maintained throughout his life. Married three times, his first marriage to Ilse Meyer was annulled. His second marriage to Elsie Kramer, was cut short by her death from cancer in 1949. During their marriage, they adopted a small boy, whom they name David. Rudy Miller married Hilde Mueller, whom he met at Breezy Hill, a German-Jewish holiday resort in the Catskills, where Hilde Mueller worked during the summer. This led to fatherhood again, with the birth of Evelyn Adele Miller in 1951. A talented artist and musician, he also played and performed in the Jewish Community Center Orchestra. He died on July 5, 1966 in New York City on a business trip for Maisel Furniture. He is buried in Lot 278, section Z at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY.

Hilde Miller, nee Mueller [Müller], was born in Siegburg, Nordheim, Westphalia, Germany on September 24, 1913, to parents Leo and Adele [née Fröhlich/Froehlich] Müller. Hilde lived with her parents into her early 20s, except for a brief spell in Paris as a teenager. Also part of the Müller household was Adele Müller’s brother Edward Fröhlich, also known as Uncle Edvard. Edvard working in a tanning business, connected to the shoe store, L. Fröhlich, Schuhwaren-Haus that Leo Müller ran in two different locations, one of which was located in Siegburg. As a result of increasing anti-semitic legislation, Leo and Adele Müller were eventually forced to close their shoe store, and were deported to a concentration camp, with Edward Fröhlich. Neither Leo and Adele Müller, nor Edward Fröhlich, survived the Holocaust.

In November 1938, after Kristallnacht, Hilde was able to obtain a domestic service visa for England, and left via Holland chaperoned by her father. Leo Müller then returned to his wife Adele Müller in Germany. During the late 1930s until 1942, Hilde received letters, and later Red Cross telegrams through 1942. While in England she lived with Max and Miriam Waldenberg as a maid, although she referred to both “The Guvnor,” Max Waldenberg, and Miriam Waldenberg as foster parents. This close relationship continued throughout her life, with visits to the United States by them and their children at various times. It was Miriam Waldenberg who encouraged Hilde Müller to move to the US after the death of Rudy Falkenstein in 1946. After a short few weeks in North Dakota with a Mueller [US/UK spelling] family relative, she moved to New York City, holding several jobs at the Tell Chocolate Factory and the Lerner Stores of NY. During the summer she also worked at a German-Jewish holiday resort in the Catskills, called Breezy Hill, where she eventually met Rudy S. Miller. They married in 1950 and welcomed their daughter, Evelyn Miller in 1951. In 1953, Hilde Miller was naturalized in Buffalo.

Until 1961, Hilde Miller was a stay at home mother for children David (from Rudy’s former marriage) and Evelyn. In 1961, when Rudy Miller suffered a heart attack, Hilde Miller began working at L. L. Berger, a high-end Department Store in Buffalo, as a gift wrapper. Soon after Rudy Miller died, she obtained a job at the University at Buffalo, Blood Group Research Unit, Department of Microbiology, in the School of Medicine located at Sherman Hall, which she retained until her retirement. Thereafter, she volunteered for Kosher Meals on Wheels deliveries as well as looking after her grandchildren. Hilda Mueller died on May 27, 2009, and is buried at Forest Lawn, Buffalo, NY.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in three series as follows:
  1. Rudy Miller [Windmüller]
  2. Hilde Mueller Miller
  3. Evelyn Miller/Weinstein

Acquisition Information

Evelyn Weinstein, daughter of Rudy and Hilde Miller, donated their personal papers materials in April 2016. The papers were arranged in April 2016 and it was deposited at the University Archives, Special Collections by the Jewish Buffalo Archives Project in April 2016.

The Jewish Buffalo Archives Project was founded in late 2007 under the auspices of the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Buffalo with a seed grant from the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies. The Archives Project collects mainly 20th century documentation relating to the diverse histories, religious traditions and cultures of Jewish communities within the Greater Buffalo area of Western New York, encompassing the geographic areas of Erie and Niagara Counties and partners with the University Archives at the University at Buffalo to make these records accessible.

The arrangement and description of the Rudy and Hilde Miller Papers, 1915-2004, (bulk 1938-1978) was made possible by funding obtained through the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies.

Accruals

Ongoing accruals are expected to this collection.

Related Resources

Processing Information

Collection was processed by Chana Revell Kotzin in April 2016. The Finding Aid was finalized by Chana Revell Kotzin in May 2016. EAD will be created by University Staff in 2016.

Source

Creator

Title
Finding Aid for the Rudy and Hilde Miller Papers
Status
completed
Author
Finding aid prepared by Chana Kotzin Revell, May 2016.
Date
May 2016
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
und

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

Contact:
420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-2916
716-645-3714 (Fax)