A Guide to the Hyman Walborsky Memorial Collection

Date: May 2017 by Katalin Franciska Rac - University of Florida Smathers Libraries

» See the Hyman Walborsky Memorial Collection Donated to the Price Library

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Josephs, Aileen, 1964-
Title: Hyman Walborsky Memorial Collection
Dates: 1916-2016
Abstract: This collection includes personal documents, photographs, correspondence, an album, a documentary on DVD, and a screenplay written and collected by Aileen Josephs. The items in the collection record her family's history from her personal view including her own personal and professional growth as a female immigration lawyer and activist.
Extent: .42 Linear feet. 1 Box.
Identification: MSS 0375
Language(s): Includes materials written in English, Spanish, Hebrew, and Yiddish.

Biographical/Historical Note

Aileen Josephs, née Walborsky, dedicated this collection to her father Hyman Walborsky's memory. His father, Israel Wolborsky, left Poland for the US in 1923, leaving behind his wife Sara Miadovitch. She and their firstborn son Hershel, later Harry (1924-2002), followed Wolborsky to America in 1929. Hyman, the younger son (and Josephs' father) was born in New York in 1931. It is unclear if Hyman or his elder brother Harry changed the family name to Walborsky. After serving in Korea, Hyman worked for the underwear company Exquisite Form. The company sent him to various Latin American countries as a representative and to set up factories. He met his future wife and Josephs's mother Aura Navarro in Maracay, Venezuela. His brother Harry became a chemistry professor and taught until his retirement at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.

Aileen Josephs was born in Mexico City where Exquisite Form had sent her father to set up a factory. She spent her childhood in Mexico. In 1982 she enrolled in Brandeis University and continued her studies at Boston College Law School. She studied immigration law and became an immigration, human rights and civil rights attorney. For her senior thesis, at Brandeis University, under the mentorship of Prof. Lawrence Fuchs, she conducted fieldwork among the Salvadorian community in Waltham, Massachusetts and advocated for the establishment of a statutory type of safe haven for nationals from warzones and regions afflicted by natural disasters, which became what today is known as Temporary Protected Status. At Boston College Law School, she was engaged with the student-run Holocaust/Human Rights Research Project (HHRRP), founded at Boston College Law School in 1984 by Owen Kupferschmid, to ensure that Holocaust related law is studied and brought to bear against current human rights abuses in the world. It is now named The Owen M. Kupferschmid Holocaust/Human Rights Project-Boston College Law School-after the painful and early departure of Owen Kupferschmid in 1991. While a law student, Josephs helped organize the yearly conferences and co-wrote and produced the documentary Prosecuting Crimes of the State. It features a panel of prosecutors, lawyers, academics and human rights advocates from the Fifth International Conference held in 1990 and includes interviews Josephs conducted with conference panelists. Prosecuting Crimes of the State is available on YouTube as of 2020's Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom HaShoah. Josephs completed her studies at Brandeis University studies cum laude winning the Martin Lester Award in Legal Studies for her honor's thesis. In 1992, after working for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in New York City and her graduation from law school, with her husband Mitchell they decided to move to Florida. In addition to her legal practice, she served as Honorary Consul of Guatemala in Palm Beach County from 2007-2017-an honor bestowed to her by the Guatemalan government for her work protecting the human and civil rights of Guatemalans in Palm Beach and Martin, County. Their son is a graduate of the University of Florida.

Scope and Content

In Folders 1-6, including items pertaining to her grandparents' and father's lives, and her own life and work. Folder 7 holds the lists of the items that she donated to the Price Library providing also biographical background to them.

Folder 1 holds a photo album with pictures that record the life of different family members in Poland and the United States. A list of names of the pictures on the photographs is also enclosed. A DVD with the digitized photos in the album is also attached. In Folder 2 Israel Wolborsky's documents (passports, marriage contract, other official documents) are held. Letters, postcards, and a hand-written address booklet in Yiddish and English are in Folder 3. Sarah Walborsky's funeral documentation is in Folder 4. Aileen Josephs's Bar Mitzvah album can be found in Folder 5; in Folder 6, there is a screenplay from 2009 titled Crossing Borders by Josephs based on a case she worked on as well as the documentary Persecuting Crimes of the State about legal persecution of crimes against humanity that she produced in 1991. Her speech delivered in December 2009 at the L' Dor V' Dor Congregation in Lake Worth to commemorate her father is also attached.

Two prayer books, one of them printed in Poland, the other in the United States, previously in Israel Wolborsky's and possibly other family members' possession and use, are also part of the collection.

Two bounded volumes of Harry Walborsky's studies are separated from the archival collection.


This collection is arranged in chronological order.

Access or Use Restrictions


The collection is open for research.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Hyman Walborsky Memorial Collection, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated by Aileen Josephs.

Contents List

Box Folder
1 1 Photo album and DVD. undated
1 2 Israel Walborsky's personal documents. 1916, 1920, 1921, 1923, 1928, 1936, 1956, 1990, undated
1 3 Correspondence and address booklet. 1925, 1952, undated
1 4 Sarah Walborsky's funeral. 1964, 1964, undated
1 5 Aileen Josephs's Bar Mitzvah album. 1977, undated
1 6 Documentary and screenplay. 1991, 2009
1 7 Aileen Josephs's donation documentation. 2016
1 Two prayer books. undated

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Human rights.

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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