Jewish Museum Milwaukee opens Monday

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Paul Strnad and his wife Hedvika desperately wanted to leave Czechoslovakia in 1939, the year Adolf Hitler threatened Jews in his speech to the Nazi Reichstag.

He wrote to his cousin Alvin Strnad in Milwaukee, hoping he could help get his wife a job as a dress designer. He also sent colorful drawings of her designs.

"You may imagine that we have a great interest in leaving Europe as soon as possible because there is no possibility of getting a position in this country," Strnad wrote.

The Strnads eventually were separated. Paul died in the Nazi camp Treblinka and his wife died in Warsaw, Poland, although it is unclear why she was taken there or if she was in a camp.

The letter and drawings as well as numerous other local stories, Jewish traditions and around 200 donated artifacts are featured at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee, which opened Monday.

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