Guide to the Bodo Zimmermann Papers, 1996-2003
Special Collections & Archives
18111 Nordhoff St.
Northridge, CA 91330
Phone: (818) 677-2832
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Overview of the Collection
Collection Title: Bodo Zimmermann Papers
Zimmermann, Bodo, 1928-2007
Physical Description: 0.21
Language of Materials:
Old China Hands Archives
Abstract: Bodo Zimmermann was born in 1928 in
Berlin, Germany, and moved to Shanghai with his family in 1940 after their home and
business were confiscated by Nazi officials. The family was left destitute after the
move, so at age 13 Zimmermann dropped out of school began an apprenticeship in a bakery
in Shanghai. From 1942 to 1945, the family was interned by the Japanese at the Ward Road
Camp. After their release, in 1946, Zimmermann found a job as a baker working on the USS
LCI 220, which was tasked with delivering medical supplies in China. The collection
consists of unpublished memoirs, letters written by Zimmermann to friends regarding his
time in China and life on the USS LCI 220, a translation done by Zimmermann of a letter
written by a family friend regarding the Siberian Express railway in 1940, and drawings,
cards, and news articles collected or made by Zimmermann related to China.
Bodo Zimmermann was born in Berlin, Germany, on March 20
1928. His parents owned a successful department store, but in 1939 the store and their
home were confiscated by Nazi officials. The family planned to open a new store in
China, but after relocating to Shanghai in June of 1940 learned that the merchandise
purchased with the last of their money had also been confiscated.
Zimmermann dropped out of school at 13 to become an apprentice at a pastry shop. He and
his family were interned by the Japanese at Ward Road Camp in Shanghai from 1942 to
1945. At age 17, Zimmermann got a job as a baker on the American ship USS LCI 220 from
February to April 1946 shipping hospital supplies up the Yangtze River from Shanghai to
Chungking. He then worked as a baker on multiple ships and at bakeries before
permanently settling down in the United States in 1949.
Zimmermann served in the US military in Germany during the 1950s, and then as a
government employee of the military operating all of the commissary bakeries in Japan
and Korea. In 1968 he began work as a salesman for a low-moisture food company,
Vacu-Dry, where he retired as vice president of sales in 1990. Zimmermann married his
wife Helen in the early 1950s, and they had two children, Allen and Audrey.
This Collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Genre/Form of Material:
Jessica Geiser, 2013
Conditions Governing Use:
Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s)
of this collection has not been transferred to California State University,
Northridge. Copyright status for other materials is unknown. Transmission or
reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond
that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners.
Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of
the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Conditions Governing Access:
The collection is open for research use.
[Identification of item], [date],
, Special Collections and Archives, Oviatt Library, California State
Arrangement of Materials:
Series I: Memoirs, 1998
Series II: Correspondence and Drawings, 1996-2003
Series III: China Materials
Scope and Contents
The Bodo Zimmermann Papers consist of letters and original drawings by Zimmermann as
well as items he collected related to his experiences in China during the 1940s and
afterwards. The collection is arranged in three series: Memoirs (1998), Correspondence
and Drawings (1996-2003), and China Materials.
Series I, Memoirs, consists of two unpublished memoirs written by Zimmermann about his
journey to China by train as a young boy, and his subsequent life in China as a
Series II, Correspondence and Drawings, contains letters and drawings composed by
Zimmermann to friends remembering life in China during the 1940s and after, as well as a
translation done by Zimmermann of a family friend’s letter about taking the Shanghai
Express to China from Germany in 1940. The series is arranged chronologically.
Series III, China Materials, consists of a card and newspaper article collected by
Zimmermann that relate to China.
Detailed List of Contents
"The Siberian Express: Recollections of a 12 Year Old
Boy's Train Ride From Germany Through Russia, Mongolia, Manchuria to
1998 May 29
"East of the Soochow Creek",
1998 July 10
Correspondence and Drawings, 1996-2003
Letters to Peter O'Flaherty about Zimmerman's Life and the
USS LCI 220,
Drawing of the Living Quarters at Ward Road Internment
The Siberian Express Letter - Translated by Zimmerman,
Drawing of Toilets in Hongkew Ghetto,
2001 August 10
Letter to Robert Gohstand with Chinese Currency,
2003 August 3
Christmas Card from the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking
"Shanghai's Jewish Transplants" - Article from Jewish
Bulletin of Northern California,
2000 June 9