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A refuge under threat

The home of the Jewish Women's Association in Neu-Isenburg

“Isenburg Police issued an ultimatum to us today to hand over Esther Kleinmann's complete papers (notice of change of address and passport) by the 25th of this month, otherwise she will be deported.”


Bertha Pappenheim (1859–1936), born and raised in Vienna, was a leading German-Jewish feminist. Better known as the patient Anna O. in Sigmund Freud’s “Studies on Hysteria,” she later moved to Frankfurt a.M., where she gradually shifted the emphasis of her activism from charitable work to women’s empowerment. In 1907, she established a home in Neu-Isenburg for young Jewish women in need of protection, a feat she considered her most important achievement. Under the Nazis, the home had to register all inhabitants with the police. In the letter displayed here, the secretary of the home asks Rabbi Dr. Merzbach at the District Rabbinate in Darmstadt to immediately send the papers of a resident of the home, Esther Kleinmann, who would otherwise face deportation.



Jüdisches Museum Berlin


Katz/Rubin Family Collection, Gift of Sally and Chaim Katz


on the days before