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Posted on: March 19, 2021

Frisco Heritage Museum Exhibit Highlights Couple's Escape from Nazi Germany to Frisco

Fleeing to Frisco Exhibit graphic, picture of Leo and Irma Wollenreich

(March 19, 2021) An exhibit telling the story of Leo and Irma Wollenreich, who escaped Nazi Germany in 1941 and began a new life in Frisco, opens at the Frisco Heritage Museum March 24, 2021.

Fleeing to Frisco: How One Jewish Family Escaped Nazi Germany and Rebuilt Their Lives runs through August 31, 2021.

Leo Wollenreich was a prominent and successful cattle trader in Straubing, Germany prior to World War II and was later forced to sell his property and home to an elite Nazi family. Leo was later imprisoned at the Dachau Concentration Camp in 1938. After his escape, he and his wife Irma fled to Portugal and eventually settled in Lebanon, Texas (now known as Frisco) and established a cattle trading business with the help of his cousin, Dallas philanthropist Stephen K. Khan. The Wollenreichs were active members of the Frisco community.

This story was brought to the Frisco Heritage Museum by current Frisco residents Jesse and Lupe Sanchez. Jesse worked on the Wollenreich ranch for 30 years as a cowboy, and Irma Wollenreich gifted that land to Jesse and Lupe upon her death in 1988.

The exhibit features original handwritten letters by Irma in search of her mother in Germany, family photos, newspaper articles. Judaica, Irma’s original cookbook, and a 300-year-old Shabbat/Shabbos lamp that resided in the family home. The lamp is on loan from Temple Museums, The Temple-Tifereth Israel, Beachwood, Ohio.

Special thanks go to the following individuals and organizations for making this exhibit possible:

Heritage Association of Frisco

Jesse and Lupe Sanchez, Frisco residents

Dr. Dorit-Maria Krenn, State Archives, Straubing, Germany 

Elisabeth Böhrer -- historian specializing in Schweinfurt, Germany 

Yad Vashem--Holocaust Memorial, Jerusalem, Israel

Naomi Teveth, Tel Aviv, Israel, author of the Wuerzburg Database on JewishGen

Sue Koletsky, Director of Temple Museums, The Temple-Tifereth Israel, Beachwood, Ohio

Rabbi Mendy Kesselman, Chabad Frisco

This Frisco Heritage Museum is located at 6455 Page Street and is free to the public. Museum hours are Tuesday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., closed Sunday and Monday.

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