Domestic Service Visas: 1938 . . .

Judith Diamond

 National Archives in Kew have a file on law. I don’t have a copy.

Terry Ashton

Hi Leah (and others who have also been interested in this topic),
This was such a coincidence to see this email on this topic, as I am also trying to find information on my cousin's mother (Esther Aronowicz) who arrived in the UK in March 1939 on a Domestic Sevice Permit. I have been to the website for World Jewish Relief and left details for them as they may be able to help.
Ms Terry Ashton
Melbourne Australia


ARONOWICZ: Germany/Poland
PRASHKER: Kalisz,  Poland

SZUMOWSKI: Gorki, Zdunska Wola, Lomza,  Poland

WAJNGOT: Hungary/Poland

GOLDMAN: Blaszki, Poland

SEGAL/SEGALOVITCH: Vilnius, Lithuania

HOLTZ: Dvinsk, Russia (now Latvia)


Eva Lawrence

My maiden aunt, my mother's sister came to England on a Domestic Service Visa. Potential immigrants were only admitted, even with a passport, if they could prove that they would not be a liability on the State. They had to have a job, unless a British resident who would guarantee them to an amount of £50. My grandmother, this aunt's mother, aged 60, was able to call on an English nephew for a gurantee, but there wasno such gurantee for my aunt.  Almost the only work unqualified women with apoor command of the language were able to take at the time was domestic service, and many English families offered jobs as maids, cooks or such like to refugees from Germany and Austria. You'd need a letter from your future employer,  and probably it was marked on your passport by the British consulate in Germany. 

They usually would still have to pay for their own journey to England   Many were live-in jobs.  My aunt, a trained secretary was quite unhappy working as a dentist's maid, where she had to answer the door wearing the black dress and white frilly apron that maids wore at the time, but she knew that it had saved her life. She found other work in a munitions factory as soon as she could - harder but less demeaning,. More varied work was  available for men, and married women were exempt, as it was accepted that their husband would support them.  Some of these women on domestic service visas have written autobiographies. 
Eva Lawrence
St Albans, UK.

Michael Hoffman

Hello Leah,

Make an enquiry with World Jewish Relief, the following is their website address 
They have the records for 57000 refugees that came to the UK from Germany and Austria
before and after WWII., they may be able to help you.

There is also a record for Berta Heilpern on a passenger list in 1948 for a passage to New York on the website of

Best regards

Michael Hoffman

Irv Adler


My mother came to England on a domestic permit in Sept 1938. I have been doing research on this topic and have been trying to to see what one of these permits looks like for more than 5 years now with no success. So, if you find one please let me know.
There has been quite of bit of research done on Austrian women who fled Vienna and came to England as domestics. A leading researcher in this field in Tony Kutschner. The Association of Jewish Refugees in London is a good source of information on the women who came to the UK as domestics. A complete book on the subject has been written by Traude Bollauf. 
Let me know if you would like to discuss this in further detail.



First, I would like to thank those who responded to my earlier quest for some sort of confirmation of my father's cousin's wife's death details.  Rosa Lichtenfeld Heilpern, it appears, was an unfortunate member of the 1939 Kladovo Transport group that in 1939, fled Vienna, Austria via the Danube, for Palestine, but were detained (for many reasons) in Yugoslavia, & ultimately killed by the Nazis.  I had information on where & generally when, but I didn't have the details about the how, leading up to her death, the missing details to better "prove" the theories I had after researching. The collective knowledge of this group is amazing, and I am most grateful to those who helped me out.  As mentioned before, Rosa's husband, Hans Heilpern, made if safely to Palestine in 1938, on board the illegal transport boat, Chepo.

And now for another brick wall with this family, Berta Heilpern, sister to Hans.  I found her listed as "paid domestic help" on the 1939 England & Wales Register.  In further research I read about a reference to "Domestic Service Visas," which were issued to Jewish refugees from both Germany & Austria. I was not aware of these.  I would have to think Berta somehow obtained one of these visas, but can find nothing of such a list, anywhere.  I would like to try and find out the following: 1) when she left Vienna for London ( I heard 1938, after May, when her last grandparent, whom she had been caring for, died.)  2) how she got to London & what route  and now, 3) to see this Domestic Service Visa and any details it might provide me.  If anyone has any knowledge of the visas, and where/how I might be able to search them, I would greatly appreciate it.  Thank you in advance.


Leah Heilpern Snider
Silverdale, WA USA

Families:  HEILPERN --- Ukraine & Austria
KORPUS --- Poland, Ukraine, Austria
MANDELKIERN --- Lublin & Chelm, Poland
STROH & PINELES --- Ukraine
GOLDENTHAL --- Ukraine, Austria, Germany