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Herta Theresa Mohr (Vienna, 24 April 1914 - Bergen-Belsen, 15 April 1945) was a Jewish Egyptologist. She published about the tomb chapel of Hetepherakhty in the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden and died during World War II.
Life and work
Herta Theresa Mohr was born in Vienna as the only daughter of Adolf Israel Mohr and Gabriele Kaufmann. Her father was a physician who had been merited for his work during World War I. The family lived at Winckelmannstraße 2. Mohr initially started studying medicine like her father, but eventually enrolled at the Faculty of Philosophy and took courses in Oriental Studies. In 1937-1938 she followed courses in Egyptology and African Studies.
In September 1938 she gave a lecture about the tomb chapel of Hetepherakhty at the 20th International Congress of Orientalists in Brussels. It was titled “Einige Bemerkungen zur Leidener Mastaba” and was accompanied by “light projections”. At the time, Herta Mohr was living at Hogewoerd 113 in Leiden.
Mohr became a member of the Catholic student association Augustinus and was baptized as a Catholic on 13 July 1939. According to the Gedenkboek of the Catholic academic society she had a permit to travel to America, which she didn’t get the opportunity to use. In 1940 she moved to Eindhoven, where she lived with the Van Dam family at Prins Hendrikstraat 35.
Shortly after having written the preface to Hetep-her-Akhti, the Eindhoven police issued Mohr’s arrest. According to the Gedenkboek, she was about to go into hiding when she was arrested early in the morning of 2 August 1942. Together with other Catholic Jews she was brought to the Westerbork transit camp, and on 4 August she was interned in barrack 48.
At Westerbork, Mohr was granted deferral of transport (“Sperre”) because she worked as a translator. A highly unfortunate incident with a camp official, involving a letter containing allegations of corruption, finally caused her transport to Auschwitz on 25 January 1944. Her parents had been sent to Theresienstadt a few days earlier, but were sent on to Auschwitz at the end of October, where they were killed on arrival.
In January 1945, Auschwitz was being evacuated due to the advancing Russian forces. Part of the inmates were sent westwards via Gross-Rosen. In the hospital of Gross-Rosen, Herta Mohr was seen by someone with the same family name, but who was unrelated to her.
The place and date of Mohr’s death have been thoroughly researched, but could not be unequivocally established. Probably they were established later by a judge. According to the official records, Herta Mohr died in Bergen-Belsen on 15 April 1945, aged 30.
- Mohr, H.Th., The Mastaba of Hetep-Her-Akhti: Study on an Egyptian Tomb Chapel in the Museum of Antiquities Leiden (1943).
- Mohr, H.Th., Een vechtpartij te Leiden: Vorm en inhoud van een reliëf in de mastaba van Htp-Hr-Axtj, JEOL 7 (1940), 535-541, pl. IX.
- Actes du XXe Congrès international des orientalistes: Bruxelles, 5-10 Septembre 1938 (1940), 95-97.
- Federn, W., Book review in Bibliotheca Orientalis 3 (1946), 57-9.
- Gedenkboek 1940-1945 van de Katholieke academische gemeenschap (1947), 91-92.
- Giltay Veth, D. and Leeuw, A.J. van der, Rapport door het Rijksinstituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie uitgebracht aan de minister van Justitie inzake de activiteiten van drs. F. Weinreb gedurende de jaren 1940-1945, in het licht van nadere gegevens bezien (1976), 1310-1315.
- Beek, N. van de, Herta Mohr and the Mastaba of Hetepherakhty, in: Imaging and Imagining the Memphite Necropolis: Liber Amicorum René van Walsem (2017), 233-238.
- Website Jewish Monument
- Website Gedenkbuch für die Opfer des Nationalsozialismus an der Universität Wien 1938
- Project page Herta Mohr