Skip to main content

Paul Egon Cahn Collection

Identifier: AR 25431

Scope and Content Note

This collection holds the papers of Paul Egon and Senta Ilse Cahn's family from the 1890s to 2002. It includes the personal and official papers of Paul Egon, mostly official documents of Paul Egon and Senta Ilse's family, as well as about one thousand personal photographs.

Series I holds the papers of Paul Egon Cahn, including personal correspondence, official papers reflecting his emigration from Germany to Kenya and to the U.S., as well as other personal documents. Series II holds papers of other members of the Cahn family and of Senta Ilse (Wassermann) Cahn's family, including correspondence, family trees and other historical documentation.

Series III consists of about one thousand personal photographs. It includes family portraits from the early twentieth century as well as personal photos of Paul Egon's time in Kenya and the U.S.


  • Creation: 1820-2002
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1935-1985


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English, and Spanish.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:

Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011


Biographical Note<extptr actuate="onload" altrender="Portrait of Paul Egon and Senta Ilse Cahn" href="" linktype="simple" show="embed" title="Portrait of Paul Egon and Senta Ilse Cahn"/>

Paul Egon Cahn was born in Andernach, Germany, on September 22, 1918 to Sigfried Simon Cahn (born 1888) and Regina Cahn (born Levy, 1893). He had two sisters, Inge and Erika. In the 1930s Paul Egon Cahn learned the auto mechanic trade in Andernach and subsequently worked as a car driver in Cologne, where the family moved in 1937. In 1938/1939 the three children were able to escape Germany; Erika immigrated to England, Inge immigrated to Australia and Paul Egon immigrated to Kenya. Shortly after arriving in Africa, Paul Egon attempted to help his parents leave Germany. Unfortunately, his effort to secure visas for his parents was unsuccessful. His parents were deported to Riga on December 6, 1941. In 1942 his father died. His mother was deported to Auschwitz, where she most likely died shortly after the liberation in 1945. Paul Egon remained in Kenya, living and working until he immigrated to the US in 1951.

In the U.S. Paul Egon Cahn met Senta Ilse (born December 8, 1913), daughter of Julius (born 1890) and Maria Magdalena Wassermann (born 1891). Julius (a Jew) and Maria (a Catholic) married in 1913 in Hamburg, Germany. Being married to a non-Jew protected Julius from being deported until February 1945. Then the Gestapo sent him to Theresienstadt and he was kept in captivity until May 3, 1945. Julius Wassermann survived the concentration camp. Together with his wife, now calling herself Lina Mary Wassermann, he immigrated to the US after the war and died in New York City in 1965. Lina Mary passed away in 1976.

Senta Ilse was in the U.K. during the Second World War, but in 1946 and 1947 she worked for the U.S. Army in Germany. She immigrated to the US in the late 1940s, where she married Joseph Gottschalk in 1949, got divorced in 1962 and married again to Paul Egon Cahn in 1964.

Senta Ilse Cahn died on May 30, 2006. Her husband Paul Egon passed away on September 10, 2010.


1.75 Linear Feet


The Paul Egon Cahn Collection holds personal and official papers of Paul Egon and Senta Ilse Cahn and their families, as well as about one thousand personal and family photographs.

Separated Material

The book Jeckpotz – Eine juedisch-deutsche Jugend 1914-1933 by Arie Goral-Sternheim was removed to the LBI Library, Call number DS 135 G5 G67 A19.

Processing Information

The collection has been reordered and split into three series. When possible, the items within the folders were arranged in a chronological order. The folders were reordered to reflect the new arrangement. Folders were also renumbered to accurately reflect their location.

Guide to the Papers of Paul Egon Cahn (1918-2010) 1820-2002 AR 25431
Processed by Fabian Wendler
© 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from PaulEgonCahn.xml

Revision Statements

  • November 25, 2013 : Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States