Highlights from the Archives

Albert Einstein Photographs and Personal Effects

LBI has preserved and Digitized the personal effects of Albert Einstein, including the guestbook from his summer home in Caputh, Germany (1929-1932) and more than 600 candid photographs as well as correspondence on topics ranging from art and music to the future State of Israel.

20th Century Philosophers

LBI has digitized the complete diaries and correspondence of philosopher and theologian Franz Rosenzweig, including writings related to his landmark translation of the Hebrew Bible into German with Martin Buber (1926-1929) as well as the entire estate of the philosopher Constantin Brunner.

Joseph Roth Collection

LBI has digitized the original manuscripts of the Austrian-Jewish author Joseph Roth’s (1894-1939) most important works. Best known for his elegiac novel on the decline of the Austro-Hungarian Empire Radetzkymarsch, Roth now stands aside Kafka, Mann, and Musil in the canon of world literature.

Memoirs, Diaries, Scrapbooks, and Correspondence

Digibaeck includes thousands of unpublished memoirs that chronicle Jewish life in Germany and in emigration. These documents offer first-hand accounts of experiences as diverse as the revolutions of 1848, emigration to Shanghai, the Kindertransport, and the participation of German Jews in the American civil rights movement of the 1960’s.

Mendelssohn Family

Collections representing four generations of the Mendelssohn family, the quintessential German-Jewish dynasty. These range from personal effects and correspondence of the patriarch, enlightenment philosopher Moses Mendelssohn to letters written by his grandson, the composer Felix-Mendelssohn-Bartholdy.

Art and Objects Highlights

Impressionists – Max Liebermann and Lesser Ury

DigiBaeck includes many original works and rare prints of works by Max Liebermann an important German impressionist, and founder of the Berlin Secession. Lesser Ury (1861-1931), another Berlin impressionist who had a complicated relationship with Liebermann, is also represented in DigiBaeck.

Expressionists – Ludwig Meidner

Exponents of German Expressionism, an early 20th century movement that shaped many other avant garde movements over the course of the century, and artists influenced by it are well-represented in DigiBaeck, from Ludwig Meidner to Peter Lipman-Wulf.

Illustrators – Hermann Struck, Hugo Steiner-Prag, E.M. Lilien

Among the many art books in DigiBack are limited edition volumes containing most of the major works of the illustrators E.M. Lilien, Hugo Steiner-Prag, and Hermann Struck.

Persecution, Deportation, and Emigration

Among the artworks in DigiBaeck are many works that attest to the experience of German-speaking Jews under the Nazi regime. These include works secretly created in Theresienstadt by architect Norbert Troller, depictions of refugee and internment camps by Samson Schames, and David L. Bloch’s extensive body of work documenting the Shanghai Ghetto.

Book Highlights

Children’s Literature

Children’s literature digitized by LBI reflects efforts by German-Jewish communities to educate children about Judaism, and even Zionism, an increasingly relevant topic following the Nazi seizure of power in 1933. Some, like the illustrated “Childrens’ Haggadah” remain enduring favorites today.

Augenspiegel (Recommendation on whether to confiscate, destroy, and burn all Jewish books) (1511)

This early defense of religious tolerance was written by the Christian Hebraist Johannes Reuchlin in rebuttal of a widely discussed proposal to ban all Jewish books.

Jüdisches Ceremoniel (1726)

Jüdisches Ceremoniel (1726), a beautifully illustrated description of Jewish religious ceremonies, rites of passage and feast days intended as a primer on Judaism for 18th century German audience. Its author, Paul Christian Kirchner, was a convert from Judaism who sought to persuade other Jews to follow his example and believed that an informed German public would be more effective at winning converts.

The Complete Horse Connoisseur (1764)

What is extraordinary about this veterinary work designed for equestrians, “Der Vollkommene Pferdekenner”, is the “Anhang” or Appendix, which consists of 36 pages of Hebrew words and phrases which were used by Jewish horse-traders, transliterated into Gothic letters and provided with German definitions. It was intended to give German horse buyers an extra edge in negotiations in an era when many horse dealers were Jewish.

Multimedia Highlights

Jewish Liturgical Music

DigiBaeck includes a number of rare recordings of Jewish liturgical music from the 1920s. These shellac 78 rpm records are documents of Jewish religious life as well as the history of the recorded sound industry. [portfolio_slideshow]

Oral History Interviews

Hundreds of Oral History Interviews are available through DigiBaeck that record the experience of German-Jewish refugees who settled in the United States. They include interviews conducted by the Research Foundation for Jewish Immigration, New York, 1971-1981 as well as interviews conducted by conscientious objectors from Austria who spend a year conducting interviews with former refugees from Austria in lieu of military service.

Home Movies

Amateur films from the 1930’s in a handful of LBI collections offer a unique glimpse of various aspects of daily life in Germany. They include footage of vacationers at a Jewish resort outside Berlin, the 1932 German Championship Soccer match, and family vacations to the Alps and even Palestine.