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Photograph Collection

The Leo Baeck Institute’s Photograph Collection contains over 25,000 photographs documenting the history of German-speaking Jewish communities, families and businesses from all over the world.

The photos portray prominent members of German-speaking Jewish communities; buildings such as synagogues, businesses and residences; cultural, youth, religious and educational organizations; military including Jewish soldiers and World War scenes; as well as images showing aspects of daily life of various German-speaking Jewish populations, from social gatherings and school portraits to family vacations and religious ceremonies.

There are many highlights to the Leo Baeck Institute’s Photograph Collection, such as photographs of Rabbi Leo Baeck himself; photographs that depict the restless and courageous social work of Jüdische Winterhilfe der Jüdischen Gemeinde zu Berlin during the early years of the Nazi regime; photographs of synagogues and Jewish cemeteries that were mostly destroyed throughout the German speaking lands; and a moving photo album put together by the Leo Baeck Institute in honor of Den Unvergessenen - The Not Forgotten Ones: men and women who had died during the Nazi terror in their service of fellow Jews.

There also are – of course – hundreds of photographs that illustrate the various facets of German Jewish culture, like – for example – an array of portraits and private family snapshots that show the acclaimed author Joseph Roth.

Another significant highlight are photographs depicting physicist and Nobel prize laureate Albert Einstein: these photographs cover most of Einstein’s life; from his youth in Germany to his arrival in New York, to his time in Princeton, and the extensive worldwide traveling he did throughout his life. The photographs offer a view into Einstein’s professional life and his interactions with many other notable figures, as well as into his personal life, including his love of sailing, his family, his homes, and his friends.

Photographs from the Leo Baeck Institute’s Collection are regularly included in a wide variety of international publications, exhibitions, documentaries and educational materials.

Many photographs have been digitized and may be accessed online through the LBI online catalog.

Please contact archivist Michael Simonson in the following cases:

  • If you can identify or correct any information in the photograph records;
  • If you are a copyright owner who is not properly identified;
  • If you cannot find the photograph you are looking for;
  • To request a reproduction or for permission to use an image.