Caroline’s Dollhouse

This charming, portable dollhouse was made by Holocaust survivors as a gift for a 5-year-old girl.

Unknown Artist

This dollhouse was made near Hamburg, Germany, as a gift for Caroline Pinder, daughter of Captain Richard and Jessica Pinder, when she was five years old. During World War II, Captain Pinder served with the British Special Forces, parachuting behind enemy lines to train French resistance fighters. After the war, he was stationed in Hamburg as part of the military government of the British Zone. There, Captain Pinder was joined by his wife Jessica and his young daughter Caroline, who recalled watching her father testify at the Nazi War Crime Trials from atop a military policeman’s shoulders.

While in Germany, Caroline’s mother volunteered with the Catholic Women’s League, teaching trades to refugees and providing supplies such as textiles, leather, wood, and paint. As a show of thanks, the refugees created this unique portable dollhouse for five-year-old Caroline. The house was designed for easy disassembly and flat-packing in a suitcase. Caroline’s family moved frequently and the dollhouse always moved with her. As an adult, Caroline followed her parents into public service, serving as Vice Consul of Chicago’s British Consulate General. She donated this cherished possession to Spertus Institute in 2008.

Caroline’s Dollhouse

Caroline’s Dollhouse

Caroline Pinder Cracraft tells the story behind the unique portable dollhouse that she donated to Spertus. Filmed at Spertus in 2015. A copy of the complete and unedited interview is available at the Spertus Library reference desk.

Name: Caroline’s Dollhouse
Artist: Unknown Artist
Origin: Germany, 1947
Medium: Architecture, Metal Hardware, Paint, Wood, Woodwork
Dimensions: 15 9/16 x 24 13/16 in.
Credit: Gift of Caroline Pinder Cracraft
Catalog Number: 2008.2.1
Asher LibraryThe Redemption of the Unwanted: From the Liberation of the Death Camps to the Founding of Israel

Abram L. Sachar (New York: St. Martin’s/Marek, 1983)

Asher LibraryAfter the Holocaust: Rebuilding Jewish Lives in Postwar Germany Michael Brenner (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997)
Asher LibraryDP: Europe’s Displaced Persons, 1945-1951 Mark Wyman (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998)