Fonds RA012 - Bick family fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Bick family fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Photographic material
  • Object

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of fonds.

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1868-2002 (Creation)
    Bick family

Physical description area

Physical description

1 cm of textual records
145 photographs : black and white, colour
27 books
1 table cloth

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Archival description area

Name of creator

Biographical history

The Bicks were a Jewish-German family who lived in Sorau, now Żary, Poland, until their escape to Chile in 1939. The documents in this fonds pertain mostly to Siegfried (birth name Jude Siegfried Bick, b. July 16, 1882, in Sorau, Germany), his wife, Johanna Bick (birth name Johanna Munter, b. November 24, 1889, in Labischin, Germany), and their son, Werner Bick (b. December 14, 1919, in Sorau, Germany).
Siegfried Bick was born to Simon Bick (b. 1846; d. 1907) and Rosa Rosenthal (b. 1841; d. 1923). He had six brothers and sisters: Max, Georg, Jenny, Regina, Bertha and Felix. After the death of his father in 1907, Siegfried and his brother, Max, purchased their parents’ clothing store from their mother. Siegfried married Johanna Munter in April 1912. They had a daughter the following year and, in 1919, they had a son, Werner.
The Bick family home was vandalized during Kristallnacht, on November 9, 1938. Siegfried and Werner were imprisoned. Siegfried was transferred to Sachsenhausen concentration camp and Werner was released after four days in the local jail. He immediately contacted his uncle, Georg, who lived with his family in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Georg promised to send a friend to help him cross the border. Werner sought refuge in Vaals and studied woolen fabric design at a textile school for two months.
Siegfried was released from Sachsenhausen on December 13, 1938. On February 5, 1939, Siegfried and Johanna arrived in Rotterdam and stayed at the refugee camp there. They were reunited with Werner soon after and the three of them moved to the Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam, which was being used as a refugee centre. Siegfried, Johanna, and Werner were set to leave Europe the day before the start of Second World War, September 1, 1939. They traveled to Antwerp, Belgium, and almost did not make it aboard the Chilean ship, the Copiapó, for which they had already purchased tickets. The ship, which was the last to make it out of Hamburg, Germany, before the war began, arrived in Valparaíso, Chile, with around 300 passengers on board, on September 29, 1939. The Bicks, who were among ninety Jewish refugees aboard the Copiapó, settled near Santiago.
In Chile, the Bicks found success farming and operating a cheese-making business. In 1949, Werner married Ingrid and the two of them lived in Lo Espejo, a suburb of Santiago. They had four daughters: Olivia, Silvia, Jacqueline and Rosely. After Siegfried died in January 1966, Werner decided to move the family to North America and began searching for a new city to live in. Werner and his daughters, Olivia and Jacqueline, arrived in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on January 13, 1969. The rest of the family soon followed. The Bicks owned a dairy farm in Aldergrove, British Columbia.
Johanna died February 26, 1979, in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Werner died April 26, 2010. 

Custodial history

At least two prayer books belonged to Simon and Rosa Bick from the late nineteenth century. Books and photographs traveled with Siegfried, Johanna and Werner Bick from Sorau, Germany, to Chile in 1939, and then to Aldergrove, British Columbia, Canada, in 1969. The table cloth belonged to Johanna Bick. All records were maintained by Werner Bick until his death in 2010. Records were donated to the VHEC by his wife, Ingrid Bick, in 2011. A second accrual was donated by Ingrid Bick in 2017.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of photograph albums, loose photographs, books, memoir, table cloth and official documents relating to the lives of members of the Bick family. Fonds has been arranged into the following series: Werner Bick memoir series (2002), Prayer books series (1868–1933), Bick family photographs series ([1891?]–[200-]), Siegfried and Johanna Bick emigration documents series (1938–1939) and Household object series ([before 1979]).

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


Collection has been arranged into five series which reflect the major activities of the Bick family, as well as thematic divisions as it came to the VHEC. Series 3, Collected books series, was removed July 2018 and books in this series removed from the collection.

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      Finding aids

      Finding aid available. Inventory of books collected by the Bick family is available.

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      Further accruals are possible.

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      Dates of creation, revision and deletion

      Prepared by Sarika Kelm in November 2016. Revised 2017 to include description of accrual. Revised 2018.

      Language of description

      • English
      • German
      • Hebrew
      • Spanish

      Script of description

        Accession area