Leo Baeck Institute works to preserve and promote the history and culture of German-speaking Jews.
German-Jewish Feminism in the Twentieth Century
Rabbi Walter Plaut and the 1961 Freedom Ride
The Second Robbery: Aryanization and Restitution of Jewish Property in Austria
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The Leo Baeck Institute is continually collecting new archival materials related to the history of German-speaking Jews. Please see in the following a list of recently processed and digitized archival collections, each with a short synopsis. Clicking on the link underneath the title will lead to the collection’s finding aid, which in turn contains links to its digital objects.
Max Liebermann autographs collection, AR 498 Finding aid with links to digital objects
The artwork of the Impressionist painter Max Liebermann (1847-1935) – highly esteemed and widely acclaimed – is well represented in the Art and Objects collection of the Leo Baeck Institute with a diversity of drawings, etchings, lithographs, and paintings, presenting a wide variety of genres, such as portraits, landscapes, and many others. – In addition, LBI’s archives hold a collection of Liebermann’s professional correspondence, before and during his tenure as president of the Preussische Akademie der Künste, a position he held from 1920 until his forced resignation in 1933. Foremost, the collection includes a bound album with the extensive correspondence written by Max Liebermann to Max Lehrs (1855-1938), an art historian and the director of the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin and Dresden. Also reflected in this correspondence are prominent events of the time, such as World War I, the revolutionary years after the war, German inflation, and the rise of Nazism. Liebermann also discussed questions pertaining to his own art, its exhibits, and publications. There are other letters to friends and colleagues, such as some to Bruno and Paul Cassirer, to the architect and author Paul Schultze-Naumburg; and a 7-page manuscript with a eulogy for the painter Walter Leistikow.
Lisa Rodewald collection, AR 25916 Finding aid with links to digital objects
Life and art of the German-born artist Lisa (Elise) Rodewald (1895-1979) is documented through official documents, correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, part of a film script, and brochures, that were donated by Lisa Rodewald’s estate to the Leo Baeck Institute’s archives. – She had studied at the Royal Academy of Art in her hometown Breslau. In 1936, Lisa Rodewald and her then 15-year-old son Claude escaped Nazi-Germany via England to the U.S., where she taught handicrafts and embarked on a career in embroidery and needlework, as well as paintings in oil and watercolor, exhibiting her work in Germany and England, as well as in the U.S.
Arnold and Werner A. Stein collection, AR 25821 Finding aid with links to digital objects
Correspondence and other original materials document the lives of Arnold Stein (1890- 1974) and Werner A. Stein (1925-2017): father and son who escaped with their family from Berlin to England and then on to the United States in 1939. Arnold Stein – originally from the Franconian town of Burgsinn - bought the printing business “Lindemann & Lüdecke” in Berlin that created posters, brochures, and advertisements primarily for arts and entertainment [to see an example in the LBI holdings click here]. The forced sale of the printing business resulted into an extended correspondence on issues of restitution well into the 1970s. – Arnold’s son Werner – he celebrated his Bar Mitzvah in April 1938 at the Prinzregenten Synagogue in Berlin, a few months before it was destroyed on November 9 - was forced to leave the public Goethe School and was sent to the Jewish "Private Waldschule Kaliski", where students studied regular subjects as well as survival skills (!). His schooling, US army service, and his eventual, longtime involvement with the "New World Club", the German-Jewish newspaper "Aufbau", and the German-Jewish "Congregation Habonim" in Manhattan are all well documented.
George Garrington collection, AR 25819 Finding aid with links to digital objects
The life of George Garrington (formerly Grünbaum) is presented by correspondence, personal documents, and photographs from his youth in Berlin – he was born there in 1923 -, through the war years spent in England – he arrived there with the help of Kindertransport in 1938 and served with the British Army from 1944 to 1948 - , to his later life in the United States from 1954 to his end in California in 2014. He had graduated from college in England with majors in math and physics and went on to work in the aircraft industry in England and in the aerospace and commercial manufacturing industries in the United States. Archival materials document George Garrington’s relationships with family and friends; his education, military service, and emigration; as well as his career in engineering.
Richard and Anna Nathan Collection, AR 25808 Finding aid with links to digital objects
Personal materials for Richard and Anna Nathan, such as school records, ID cards, birth- and marriage certificates, diaries, photograph albums, and correspondence, are joined by business documents pertaining to the family’s shoe company “ADA-ADA”, such as annual reports, financial statements, and restitution files.
Richard Nathan (1873- 1958) received his primary education at the Philantropin school in Frankfurt am Main, before serving in the Prussian Army in 1894. Together with his brothers Wilhelm and (later also) Alfred, Richard founded the “ADA-ADA” shoe manufacturing company, which had to be sold under duress in 1937. Richard Nathan was married to Anna née David (1887-1958); their oldest son, Franz Hermann went to the United States to study American manufacturing methods, and eventually he was joined by his parents and his two younger brothers, Erich and Walter in Chicago.
Walther Rothschild Collection, AR 25798 Finding aid with links to digital objects
The collection contains manuscripts by the author, scholar, and publisher Walther Rothschild, particularly drafts of his unpublished novel, De Profundis : [a novel from the present past].
Walther Rothschild was born on January 23, 1879, in Barnum, Wuppertal (Rhineland). In 1905, he started his own publishing house in Berlin, but he was forced to sell his company in 1935. Warned of his impending arrest during the Kristallnacht, he and his wife fled and joined their daughters in Switzerland, eventually moving to London and finally settling in California.
Die Profundis is a story about the daily life of the German-Jewish upper middle class after Hitler's rise to power. Rothschild shared the manuscript with family and friends, but never had it published. It tells the story of three male generations of the Herford family that exemplify the experience of the German-Jewish middle-class in the 1930s and 1940s.
Also included in the collection are Rothschild’s journal "Doch draussen stürmt es" (But Outside There is a Storm) about his life in Europe and his emigration out of Germany to California; as well as “Wiedersehen mit Europa” (Reunion with Europe), a travel report about his visit to Germany in 1956, noticing the changes that occurred there.
Walther Rothschild passed away in December 1957 in Carmel, California.
Eva Lowenherz Collection, AR 25759 Finding aid with links to digital objects
Curt C. Silberman Papers, AR 25782 Finding aid with links to digital objects
The collection documents the life and professional activities of Curt Silberman following his emigration to the United States from his hometown Würzburg in Germany, from the 1940s to the 1990s. Correspondence; manuscripts of his speeches; ephemera; publications; anniversary booklets; and photographs paint a rich picture of Silberman’s engagement in immigration issues and his assistance to newly arrived refugees, as well as his devotion to social welfare, cultural, and educational issues and his participation in organizations and institutions, such as the American Federation of Jews from Central Europe; the Leo Baeck Institute in New York; Middlebury College in Vermont; and many others.
Heilberg Breslauer Addenda, AR 25727 Finding aid with links to digital objects
The collection - a legacy of Marianne Breslauer née Schäffer, affectionately and respectfully assembled by her daughter Helen - combines a wide variety of documents that derived largely from the estate of three related women: there are letters, photographs, vital documents, professional and educational records, diaries, family trees, and much more from Helen Breslauer herself, as well as materials describing the lives of her mother Marianne; and of Marianne’s maternal aunt Frieda Heilberg. Frieda Heilberg, born in Breslau in 1894, was an economist and social worker in Germany and in the U.S., highly active with the National Council of Jewish Women and other international organizations; she died in Milwaukee, WI in 1986. And Marianne Breslauer née Schäffer - born in Bresalu in 1914 and a learned social worker in her own right - devoted her life largely to her father Hans Schäffer (1886-1967) in Germany, Sweden, and the in U.S., as well as to her husband Henry Edward (Heinz Eduard) Breslauer (the wedding of Marianne Schäffer and Henry Breslauer was held in Aunt Frieda’s apartment in Manhattan.)
Gertrude S. Goldhaber collection, AR 25820 AFinding aid with links to digital objects
The collection documents life and science of nuclear physicist Gertrude Scharff Goldhaber (1911-1998), offering professional correspondence, materials related to conferences and lectures, articles, research notes, as well as personal correspondence, diaries, educational records, and much more. Born into a Jewish middle-class family in Mannheim, she clearly had “no interest in studying law” and followed her early fascination with nuclear physics. She completed her Ph.D. in experimental physics summa cum laude at the University of Munich in 1935. With the need to escape Nazi Germany, she contacted Maurice Goldhaber (1911-2011), whom she had previously met as a student in Berlin and worked in a post-doctoral position at the University of London's Imperial College. When Maurice Goldhaber moved to Urbana, Illinois to become a physics professor at the University, Gertrude followed, and they got married in 1939. Because of strict anti-nepotism rules, Gertrude had to work as an unpaid assistant in Maurice’s nuclear physics laboratory: a glass ceiling for women that she could not break throughout her career. Among many contributions to the world of physics, Gertrude Goldhaber worked on spontaneous nuclear fission, and her discovery was kept classified until after World War II in 1946. In 1950, the Goldhabers moved to Long Island, joining the staff at the Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory. In addition to her research, Gertrude Goldhaber was involved with many organizations, such as a committee on the Status of Women in Physics, and she promoted science education for children and college students, particularly girls and women. – The Gertrude S. Goldhaber collection is part of the larger “Maurice and Gertrude Goldhaber Collection”, and was processed for LBI at the Center for Jewish History’s Shelby White & Leon Levy Archival Processing Laboratory with the help of a grant from the American Institute of Physics
Kaiser family collection, AR 25801Finding aid with links to digital objects
150 years in the lives of Miriam (Kaiser) Harel’s large family that had resided in Germany for hundreds of years: Seven densely packed boxes with correspondence, vital records, certificates of education and emigration, photographs, as well as detailed writings document the family of Arthur (1859-1912) and Mathilde Kaiser née Steinberg (1866- 1930) and their children, particularly Isidor and his brother Max.
The memoirs of Isidor Kaiser cover the period from his birth in Brilon in 1890, through his emigration from Germany in August 1939. He portrays his parents, childhood home, aspects of their Jewish family life, the political and social landscape of Prussia at that time, and his education, including remembrances of antisemitic taunting by other students. - Max Kaiser’s memoirs span almost his entire life, from his birth in Wittenberg in 1910, to becoming a United States citizen in 1995. The memoirs include remembrances of his childhood and the difficult years of World War I.; his engineering exam in March 1933 and his decision to emigrate to Palestine after Hitler came to power. Max documents his voyage to Palestine in 1934 and his career in the paper industry. An entry written in 1992 on his daughter Miriam’s 50th birthday describes the situation in Palestine the year of her birth, their family life, and her later military service and studies.
Paul and Margaret A. Engel collection, AR 25921Finding aid with links to digital objects
The bulk of these material pertain to the restitution claims of Paul Engel; his wife Margaret A. Engel née Elikann; Margaret’s sister Selma Hacker née Elikann; and Selma’s husband Carl Hacker. Documents include claim forms, correspondence with lawyers, correspondence with relevant governmental agencies in Germany and in the United States, correspondence amongst legal heirs, correspondence with banks, financial records (including bank statements), and newspaper clippings. The two couples focused their claims on the estates of their respective parents and requested compensation for lost businesses, household belongings, and other valuables, as well as lost income, and life insurance policies. - Also included is Correspondence among family members in Karlsruhe; in the French internment camp in Gurs, and in the United States, ranging from 1938 to 1942. Post-war correspondence includes a mix of personal and family updates and discussion of the family’s restitution claims. - Vital records, such as education and emigration certificates and others shed more light on the individuals’ lives.
Edna Ehrlich papers, AR 25639Finding aid with links to digital objects
The Edna Ehrlich Papers, dating from 1898-2014, document the personal and professional life of Edna Ehrlich, an economist with the Federal Reserve of New York for 43 years. The collection focuses on her work as an economist expert in Asian markets and her relationships with her husband Otto Ehrlich, an economy professor, and her friend Jin Xiang, a Chinese composer. The collection contains personal documents and images relating to the Gottesman and Ehrlich families; Otto Ehrlich’s interests in art and musical history; photographs, slides, albums, and other vacation documents from Ehrlich’s travels; interviews, writings, and correspondence from her work as a consultant and economist at the Federal Reserve; administrative and concert planning documents for the East-West Music Exchange Association; and Jin Xiang’s compositions, concert programs and reviews, and correspondence relating to royalties, organizations, other musicians, and professional opportunities.
Leo and Anne Marie Grebler family collection, AR 25872Finding aid with links to digital objects
The Leo and Anne Marie Grebler Family Collection records the Greblers’ personal and professional lives in Germany and the United States through correspondence, documents, family histories, writings, and photographs. Both the personal correspondence and photographs available in the collection demonstrate the Greblers’ close relationships with their extended family and friends, particularly Jacob (called Jascha) and Marianne (called Bertel) Marschak. A substantial quantity of information regarding the Grebler, Gerson and related families is also available. Writings by Leo Grebler elucidate his career as an economist and his special interest in real estate and housing finance.
Interview with "Betty", DM 359Listen to this interview
In the 1970s, Jacqueline Sonderegger-Zenner worked at a “button” (trimming) store in the Washington Heights section of New York City on Broadway (circa 181st Street). Also employed was a German Jewish immigrant called “Betty”, who had survived several concentration camps during the Holocaust. As a college student, Jacqueline wrote her final paper under the tutelage of Elie Wiesel, based on this interview with “Betty”.
Ruth Jacobsen collection, AR 25902Finding aid with links to digital objects
The collection contains photographs, manuscripts, correspondence, notebooks, collage books and works of art relating to the artist and author Ruth Jacobsen, a Hidden Child of the Holocaust. The collection is dedicated to Jacobsen’s attempt to cope with her past and sharing her testimony with others through her art. - Ruth Jacobsen was born in 1932, in Frankenburg, Germany, growing up under the Nazis’ restrictions imposed on Jewish life. After escaping to the Netherlands, Ruth was separated from her parents and hidden by multiple Christian families. Towards the end of the war, they were reunited, but both of Ruth’s parents committed suicide shortly after. Ruth immigrated to the United States in 1953, and dedicated herself to her art, creating collage works centering around the Holocaust; the 1980s AIDS crisis; and Indigenous rights.
Hans Heller collection, AR 25858Finding aid with links to digital objects
Artist, author, businessman and thinker: the papers of Austrian born Hans (John) Heller (1896-1987) describe his rich career in Austria, England and in the United States. Between the World Wars, Heller worked in his family’s famous candy business, “G.&W Heller”, and at the same time his home was a center for liberal intellectuals, artists, and Freudian psychologists. Heller contributed to periodicals such as ‘Die Weltbuehne’, and published one of the first anti-Nazi novels, "A Man in Search of His Homeland" in 1936. He fled Austria after the Anschluss, ultimately arriving in the US, where he reestablished the Heller Candy Company, producing hard, filled candies. The collection contains Heller’s memoirs and manuscripts of his literary oeuvre, as well as papers documenting the Heller Candy Companies in Vienna, Liverpool, New York City, and Paterson, NJ.
Salomons-Fox family collection, AR 25886Finding aid with links to digital objects
The Salomons-Fox family collection documents the lives of various family members of the extended Salomons-Fox family. Topics of the collection are the education; the emigration or attempted emigration to the United States; the establishment of a new life in America; and the professional career of the individuals represented in the collection by family trees; passports; photographs; and correspondence. An extensive amount of the collection focusses on the artistic career and life of Dave Fox. Also included are papers pertaining to his brother, the circus artist and actor, Jackie (Leo) Gerlich, as is documentation about the ’Weinberg Torah’, originally from Rheda, Germany.
Richard Straus family collection, AR 25680Finding aid with links to digital objects
This collection contains the documents of diplomat Richard Straus, his wife Elaine, and his son Alan, in addition to documentation on extended family members, especially including members of the Straus, Heimberger, and Niedermann families. The most prominent topics relate to Richard Straus’s career; family members’ emigration and Holocaust experiences; and Alan Straus’s early life. Also present are materials relating to family members’ lives in Germany prior to the 1930s. The collection includes extensive personal family correspondence and photographs; official, educational, and professional documents; family members’ writings as well as articles about them; childhood and educational memorabilia; and documentation related to the deaths of family members.
Nikolaus Bela Braun : 1900-1951, MS 1105Read it online
Two very short manuscripts shed some light on the life of the German artist Nikolaus Braun. Born in Berlin in 1900, Nikolaus Braun studied with Arthur Segal at the Kunstschule in Berlin and joined the Novembergruppe, a loose union of radical artists, which was created in December 1918 in Berlin under the impression of the November revolution. In 1938, he and his first wife, the artist Anne Ratkowski destroyed their paintings, before escaping Nazi Germany with their little son Andy. Nikolaus Braun and his wife, the opera singer Ilse Asch survived the Holocaust in Budapest, before immigrating to New York City, where he died shortly after his arrival. – A third manuscript is part of the Anne Ratkowski-Wanger Collection, AR 6326, folder 9.