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Meet the Kurzs

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Wilhelm Kurz and Selma Hirschfeld were already engaged when they were forced to leave Germany in the late 1930s. Wilhelm, out of other options, traveled to the Jewish colony in Shanghai; Selma and her family joined him soon thereafter. They were married – for the first time – on May 30, 1939.

As Mr. Kurz later described the process, “First there was the Jewish ceremony, with a rabbi; then we had to have a municipal wedding, from the municipality there in Shanghai.  That was in English. And then we had it in Chinese. [Laughing.] We had to make sure we were legally married.”

Wilhelm and Selma in Shanghai, circa 1940.


Gift of William and Selma Kurz. JMM 2004.43.2.


The Chinese ceremony, commemorated in this large and colorful marriage certificate, was held in July 1941, over two years after their first ceremony. The couple came to the US in 1947.  


Gift of  William and Selma Kurz. JMM 2004.43.1

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