Collections

The Roedelheim Mahzor Collection: Change and Continuity

all three published in 1860 - left no specific rite, center Ashkenazi rite, right German translation of unspecific rite

Recently Moriah Amit, a librarian at the LBI and the Center for Jewish History, finished cataloguing a unique collection of mahzors published in Roedelheim. These editions, comprising 15 complete sets of the prayer books, were published between 1800 and 1923 in Roedelheim, Germany. Over more than 140 hours, Amit cataloged 304 volumes of 77 editions that are preserved in the LBI library collection. Their appearance—the change in printed layout and language chosen by the publisher, as well as notes and inscriptions by the owner, or generations of owners—reflect the interplay of continuity and change that mark all religious-cultural traditions.

Tarnschriften: Camouflaged Publications in Resistance Against the Nazis

The Tarnschriften, the size of a palm, are disguised as guides, e.g. for bicyclists.

Tarnschriften, or camouflaged publications, were one way to avoid censorship in Germany between 1933 and 1945: Texts that were forbidden by the Nazis were hidden between inconspicuous cover pages. The LBI holds two of these publications in its collection.

Final Sale in Berlin—Database of Jewish-Owned Businesses in Berlin Now Part of LBI Collections

An entry in the database for the wholesale egg business owned by Jakob Intrator, whose 
granddaughter Joanne joined Kreutzmüller at LBI on September 30, 2015.

Christoph Kreutzmüller On September 30, 2015, historian Christoph Kreutzmueller presented the new English translation of his study on the destruction of Jewish commercial life in Berlin and formally donated a remarkable database of Jewish businesses to Leo Baeck Institute. Since 2005, I have been studying how the National Socialist regime systematically destroyed and looted businesses…

Meine Liebe Käthe—A trove of century-old letters adds fuel to WWI debate

Letters from Kurt Riezler to Käthe Liebermann written in the early months of WWI. AR 25484

Engagement letters from a young Bavarian Catholic aid to the German Chancellor and the daughter of one of early 20th century Germany’s most famous painters speak volumes about the German-Jewish milieu in Wilhelmine Berlin and may also shed light on the origins of World War I.

German-Speaking Jews and Zionism: 1862-1941

Undated (likely pre-WWI) postcard from the Jewish National Fund AR 2536. This postcard depicts the certificate awarded for a donation to support the planting of five or more olive trees in Palestine at a cost of 6 marks per tree.

This fall, LBI will present an exhibition entitled German-Speaking Jews and Zionism, 1862 – 1941 at the Washington Hebrew Congregation, a historic reform congregation in the nation’s capital. This exhibition will highlight material from LBI collections on the pre-Zionist era and the early years of the Zionist movement in the 20TH century until 1941.

Moritz Steinschneider (1816 – 1907)

Moritz Steinschneider (1816 – 1907)

Steinschneider’s magnum opus about Jewish translations of the Middle Ages shows how Arabic and Hebrew writers were instrumental in the transfer of classical Greek knowledge to Europe and Western culture.

Esriel Hildesheimer (1820 – 1899)

Esriel Hildesheimer (1820 – 1899)

Hildesheimer believed strongly in the principle of Torah im derekh erez (Torah and worldly knowledge): that halakhic observance was not only compatible with the study of science and other secular subjects, but that both were necessary to recognize and become close to God.

Zacharias Frankel (1801 – 1875)

Zacharias Frankel (1801 – 1875)

Zacharias Frankel was one of the leading advocates for Conservative Judaism in Germany. As a proponent of “positive historical Judaism” he held that Reform Judaism ignored the national component of Judaism and focused mainly on its intellectual aspects.

Abraham Geiger (1810 – 1874)

Abraham Geiger (1810 – 18

One of the leading figures of the Reform Judaism movement, Abraham Geiger believed that Judaism was not a given quantity or a national law but a process still in flux; tradition itself was the result of this continuous process of growth.

Leopold Zunz (1794 – 1886)

In December 1817, Leopold Zunz, an instructor at a Jewish school in Wolfenbüttel, wrote an essay entitled Etwas über die Rabbinische Litteratur (“On Rabinnical Literature”). This little book marks an epoch in the history of modern Jewish scholarship.