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Sophie Henriette Bettelheim’s Austrian Passport

Sophie Bettelheim’s Austrian passport was stamped in Vienna and France before she ultimately escaped to the US in 1941.

Austria was annexed by Germany in 1938. Sophie’s name can be found in Nazi records from that time, when Jews were forced to report their assets. Weeks later, these assets were transferred to Aryan ownership.

To enter the United States, each person needed an immigration visa stamped into his or her passport. It was difficult to get the necessary papers to leave German-occupied Europe, and US immigration visas were difficult to obtain. The process could take years, which is why a refugee like Sophie would have had an easier time moving to other European countries before gaining passage to the United States.