The Kurt and Anneliese Mendel Family Home Movies Collection

Download Finding Aid

Collection Details

Collection Dates: 1948 – 1981
Scope and Content Note: Family home movies
Biographical Note:

Kurt Mendel was born in Neuss, Germany in 1908. From April of 1927 to July 29, 1929 he attended the medical school of the University of Cologne and received a Certificate of Medical Pre-Examination and in 1932 obtained a Physician’s degree. In January of 1933 he began his training in General Surgery at the Friedrichshain Hospital in Berlin. In July of 1933, Kurt had to give up his position because the race laws of the Third Reich made it impossible for a Jewish man to exercise his profession.  Kurt and six other doctors decided to flee in secrecy and went to Italy where he obtained a degrees of Doctor in Medicine and Surgery and once passing the Italian Medical Licensure  Examination, received the title Physician and Surgeon.

Anneliese Weisner was born March of 1917 in Essen, Germany. In 1934, Anneliese’s father felt the pressure of the rising Nazi party and took his family to Holland. In 1935, she Annelise went to Czechoslovakia to work at a summer camp for children. When she returned home, she became reacquainted with Kurt when she returned to Holland. At that time Kurt was assistant to the director of Diagnostic and Therapeutic X-ray in Maastricht. Kurt was able to emigrate to Brazil where he had family. Being only 18, Anneliese could not follow unless they married. They did so by proxy and in 1936, Anneliese emigrated to Brazil where they raised their children Margarida (b. 1937) and Irene (b. 1945).

In Brazil, only native Brazilians could practice medicine, so Kurt attended symposiums and graduate training programs as a guest. Both daughters emigrated to the United States. Margarida came with three other girls including Bea Feitler who is featured in many of the home movies. Eventually Kurt and Anneliese joined them once he passed the ECPMG test in 1965. In 1966, at 57 yrs of age, Kurt did his residency at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Illinois and became a staff physician at Chicago University Hospital.

In 1986, Kurt and Annelise celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary by marrying each other face to face for the first time. It was covered by CNN.

Kurt passed away in 1995. Anneliese moved to California shortly thereafter and passed in 2014.

Extent: 3 35mm 78 8mm 15 S8mm home movies
Provenance: Donated by his granddaughter Alex Kesler

Objects in the collection