Photograph Collection

Unknown Photographer, Jewish service during WWI, Austria

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. A few examples include photographs of Rabbi Leo Baeck and the evolution of the Leo Baeck Institute itself, the Berlin Juedische Winterhilfe (Jewish Winter Help) organization and the services it provided prior to and during World War II, portraits of B’nai B’rith members taken in the 1940s, and photographs of Jewish synagogues, cemeteries and tombs throughout Germany.

One significant highlight is the collection of over 500 photographs from the Albert Einstein Collection. These photographs cover most of Einstein’s life; from his youth in Berlin 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 lifelong 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 some can be accessed online through the LBI online catalog or through the Digital Collections 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.