More than Just a Moment—Unlocking the Value of the LBI Photo Collection

Friedl Roth with an unidentified
man, 1920s
Joseph Roth Collection, AR 1764

Austrian writer Josef Roth carried dozens of snapshots of his estranged wife, Friederike (Friedl), 
among his few possessions until he died in a Paris hospital for the indigent in 1939. In the 
mid-1920s, Friedl began to manifest symptoms of schizophrenia, and she was eventually 
institutionalized, plunging Josef into an alcoholic crisis of his own. Josef paid for her stays in 
a series of private sanatoria until he was no longer able, and Friedl was murdered by the Nazi 
euthanasia program at Schloss Hartheim in Austria in 1940.
The snapshots in Roth’s archival collection show an outwardly happy couple traveling around Europe 
during the period when Josef was a star correspondent
for the Frankfurter Zeitung.

Walter Schlect The Leo Baeck Institute’s photo collection contains tens of thousands of photographs of individuals, organizations, synagogues, and important historical events. In recent years, digitization has radically expanded access to this unique collection, but LBI recently launched an initiative to improve access to historic photographs in order to keep pace with evolving standards. Archivist…

Exile in the Spotlight: How Kurt Hirschfeld made Zurich into the World Stage for German Theater

Kurt Hirschfeld

The ensemble of refugee Jews and Marxists that Hirschfeld assembled at the Schauspielhaus Zurich—from the expressionist theater pioneer Gustav Hartung to the distinguished actress and original “Mother Courage” Therese Giehse—kept the best traditions of German theater alive during the Nazi years.

In our Midst. Facets of Jewish Life in Leipzig in the Modern Era

The Leipzig Brühl around 1920. Leipzig Jewish Community Collection, F 9629.
One of Leipzig’s oldest streets, the Brühl was flanked by narrow alleys and
courtyards with houses that traditionally offered lodging for Jewish fur traders
during the Leipzig Messe. In the early 20th century, these were replaced by the
furriers’ grand warehouse and office buildings, which reflected the city’s
significance as a hub for the fur trade. When this photograph was taken, around
10,000 people worked in Leipzig’s fur industry, supplying about a third of all fur
goods worldwide.

This exhibition at the City Library of Leipzig illuminates this history with items from LBI’s own rich collection alongside loans from local institutions including the Ephraim Carlebach Foundation and the City History Museum in Leipzig.

Stolen Heart: Exhibit on Expropriation in Heart of Berlin coming to LBI

An aerial photograph of Berlin in 1925 highlighting Jewish-owned properties.

The Leo Baeck Institute plans to mount an exhibit entitled Stolen Heart based on the exhibition Stolen Mitte: The “Aryanization” of Jewish Property in Berlin’s Historic City Center, 1933 – 1945 which was originally installed at the Stadtmuseum in Berlin in September 2013

Sara Levy’s World: Music, Gender, and Judaism in Enlightenment Berlin

Clockwise from top left: Musicians perform a work by J.S. Bach that was preserved in the archive of Sara Levy; an engraving by Anton Graff , probably of Sara Levy; Rebecca Cypess at the harpsichord; (l-r) Cypess, Christoph Wolff , and Nancy Sinkoff Photos by Philip Maier.

The Forchheimer Auditorium at the Center for Jewish History (CJH) took on the atmosphere of an artistic salon in Enlightenment-era Berlin on May 19 as a group of performers and scholars explored the life, times, and music of Sara Levy, one of the most influential hostesses of her day.

Preservation in the LBI Library

Threads in a sewn binding

Lauren Paustian Caring for a library of over 80,000 physical volumes is a hands-on job, according to Lauren Paustian, an associate librarian who handles many of the LBI Library’s preservation efforts. During “National Preservation Week” (April 26 – March 3, 2015), Paustian offered visitors to the Center for Jewish History (CJH) an overview of what…

LBI Materials Now Searchable in More Global Databases

Catalog aggregators that now link to LBI records

Leo Baeck Institute has made strides toward integrating its holdings into major global library catalogs, which means more one-stop-shopping for researchers interested in Jewish history.

New Gift to Support Pilot Projects in Transcription and Photograph Digitization

This handwritten diary from the 18TH century is typical of documents that could be transcribed under a new program. Photo, Jon Pack.

LBI will launch pilot projects aimed at improving access to and discovery of two classes of materials in LBI archives that are rich in information but too often hidden from researchers: handwritten manuscripts and photographs.

Family Matters: In Chicago, Generations Gather for Intimate Look at Family Histories Preserved in LBI Archives

Marianne Dreyfus, the granddaughter of Leo Baeck, discusses her family’s history during an LBI event October, 2014 in Chicago

LBI convened genealogists, friends, and family of two Chicagoans with German-Jewish roots for a discussion that connected individual and family narratives to the historical context of Jewish life in Germany before 1933, during the Holocaust, and today.

Germany’s Top Justice Official Tackles His Ministry’s Past at LBI

Rebecca Wittmann (University of Toronto) and Christoph Safferling (University
of Marburg) discuss the role of former Nazis in Germany’s post-war Justice
Ministry at the Center for Jewish History on November 14, 2014.

In the Center for Jewish History’s packed Forchheimer Auditorium, German Federal Justice Minister Heiko Maas addressed the crowd and spoke about the high numbers of Nazi Party members and sympathizers that were employed in the post-1949 Ministry of Justice in Germany, which was tasked with interpreting and enforcing the law.