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Franz Rosenzweig Collection

Identifier: AR 3001

Scope and Content Note

The bulk of this collection is created from two independent donations that were mutually supplementary, and for the researcher’s convenience it was only sensible to consolidate these two important collections into one. The donation of Nahum Glatzer, a professor at Vanderbilt University, contained many of the manuscripts of Franz Rosenzweig, some of the family materials, the book reviews of Franz Rosenzweig’s books, and Franz Rosenzweig’s personal items. The other gift was donated by the son of Franz Rosenzweig and Edith Rosenzweig-Scheinmann Raphael Rosenzweig. It contained correspondence with various friends and colleagues of Franz Rosenzweig, including the correspondence with his wife as well as the originals of congratulations to Franz Rosenzweig on his 40th birthday in 1926. Both collections had files with necrologies, obituaries and commemorative articles. There are a considerable amount of materials and documents scattered throughout the holdings of the LBI Library and Archives that relate to Franz Rosenzweig, some of them as independent collections, and some as specialized collections, i.e. Art Collection and Photo Collection.

Series I: Personal holds various personal items of Franz Rosenzweig, including originals and a facsimile of the 40th birthday album presented to Franz Rosenzweig on his fortieth birthday, which includes testimonials from S. Y. Agnon, Hermann Badt, Bertha Badt-Strauss, Fritz Goitein, and Jacob Rosenheim. The obituaries and commemorative articles are also to be found here.

Series II: Writings contains manuscripts, including Franz Rosenzweig’s diaries, drafts of his publications, lectures for the Freie Juedische Lehrhaus (The Free Jewish House of Teaching) and other institutions, and his papers from his university studies in Freiburg im Breisgau and Berlin. Another substantial part of this series are reviews of Franz Rosenzweig’s works.

Series III: Correspondence may be of special interest to researchers, since it contains letters to Franz Rosenzweig from such colleagues as Leo Baeck, Isaac Breuer, Martin Buber, Joseph Carlebach, Karl D. Darmstaedter, Max Dienemann, Richard Ehrenberg, Victor Ehrenberg, Nahum Glatzer, Margarete Goldstein, Oscar Loerke, Eugen Mayer, Friedrich Meinecke, Alfred Mombert, Hermann Oncken, Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Fritz Schwarzschild, Caesar Seligmann, Ernst Simon, Rudolf Stahl, Bruno Strauss, Eduard Strauss, Margaret Susman, Gershom Scholem, Karl Wolfskehl, and Arnold Zweig. Transcripts of Franz Rosenzweig’s letters to his parents Adele and Georg Rosenzweig written during the First World War and those to his wife Edith Rosenzweig are also to be found here.

Series IV: Family contains genealogies and histories of the Rosenzweig and Ehrenberg families; letters; photos of family members; diaries and memoirs of family members, including Adele Rosenzweig's memoirs of Franz's childhood.

Series V: Varia contains material that was not included into the original arrangement of the collection.

Series VI: Addenda holds material that arrived later and was not included into the already arranged collection.


  • Creation: 1832-1999


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, Hebrew, and Judeo-German. There is also some Latin and Greek.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Use Restrictions

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

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History15 West 16th Street

New York, NY 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305


Biographical Note

Franz Rosenzweig was born in Kassel on December 25, 1886 to Georg and Adele Rosenzweig. His father was a relatively successful local businessmen who was publicly active. He was a member of the Municipal Council in Kassel, sat on boards of many institutions, among them the Jewish orphanage in Kassel. His mother, Adele Rosenzweig neé Alsberg, was the third of six children and after her marriage managed to keep in their household a liberal and open atmosphere.

In 1905 Franz Rosenzweig graduated from the Friedrichsgymnasium in Kassel and started to study medicine in Göttingen. After changing universities several times, in 1908 he left the sciences and started to study philosophy and history. After studies in Berlin he went to Freiburg im Breisgau where he studied with Friedrich Meinecke. After another stay in Berlin, Franz Rosenzweig came back to Freiburg i. B. and finished his studies with the dissertation " Hegel und Staat " (Hegel and State). In 1913 he studied in Berlin with Hermann Cohen, who resigned from the Philosophy Department at Marburg University and started to teach Jewish Philosophy of Religion at Akademie für die Wissenschaft des Judemtums (School of Science of Judaism) in Berlin.

In 1914 Franz Rosenzweig volunteered with the Red Cross and served on several fronts, After serving in Belgium and Germany, Franz Rosenzweig was assigned to the Balkans in 1916, where he stayed until almost the war’s end.

During the war he diligently read and worked on his texts, so that he was able to publish several philosophical works, including Das älteste Systemprogramm des deutschen Idealismus , and his letters to his teacher Hermann Cohen from the front in Zeit ist’s , both in 1917. Shortly after the war his dissertation Hegel und Staat appeared in print in two volumes in 1920. However, he is probably best known for another work, Der Stern der Erlösung (The Star of Redemption), published in 1921.

In the summer of 1920 he lectured in Kassel. He married Edith Hahn on March 23, 1920 and they moved to Frankfurt am Main.

Although he contemplated conversion to Christianity for a period, he rejected this course and returned to Judaism with increasing commitment. In 1920 Franz Rosenzweig, together with Nehemiah A. Nobel, Martin Buber, and others (among them also Erich Fromm), founded the Freie Juedische Lehrhaus in Frankfurt am Main, where Franz Rosenzweig tried to promote new educational methods based on real life experience. This institution was open for everyone without regard to denomination and people were accepted freely without entry exams or references. Next to Franz Rosenzweig and Martin Buber, Richard Koch, Eduard Strauss, Ernst Simon, and Siegfried Krakauer were teaching at the Lehrhaus, as did Nahum N. Glatzer later.

Franz Rosenzweig also successfully translated and commented upon the medieval liturgical texts and poems of Jehuda Halevi in 1924 and collaborated with Martin Buber on a translation of the Hebrew Bible Die Schrift (The Book) in 1926.

In January 1922, Franz Rosenzweig became ill with a quickly progressing paralysis (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), which soon prevented him from writing. From this point on, all his correspondence and works were dictated. At the end of 1923, Franz Rosenzweig almost lost his ability to speak and had to use a specially constructed type-machine. He became so weak that his wife Edith Rosenzweig had to communicate with him through gestures and signs. In October 1922 Rudolf Hallo took over the leadership of the Lehrhaus. It stayed open until 1930, and was reopened by Martin Buber in 1933.

Franz Rosenzweig died on December 10, 1929.


4 Linear Feet


Franz Rosenzweig (1886-1929), philosopher and theologian, belonged to the important personalities of the German Jewish intellectual life after the First World War. Franz Rosenzweig started the Freie Juedische Lehrhaus, where he tried to teach Jewish tradition and culture as part of real life experience and in this way bring it closer to assimilated German Jewry. He wrote several philosophical works and translated the Hebrew Bible with Martin Buber. The Franz Rosenzweig collection contains manuscripts of many of Franz Rosenzweig’s smaller works, some of his personal items, and correspondence with his parents and with more than fifty of his friends and colleagues. The collection contains other correspondence, and a great number of newspaper clippings, photographs, and some objects.


Edith Scheinmann-Rosenzweig, 1959-1960, 1980. N. Glatzer, 1973, 1974 LBI, 1990 Rudolf Stahl, 1993 (via William Hallo) William Hallo, 1996 Ruth Grunebaum Sondheimer, 1998 Bernhard Casper, October 12, 2000 (Addendum 5).


Collection is microfilmed (except for 2/28a Die Sachverstaendigen, 1917), use MF 579. MF 579 Reels 1-8.

  1. Reel 1: 1/1-1/22
  2. Reel 2: 1/23-2/14
  3. Reel 3: 2/15-2/34
  4. Reel 4: 2/35-3/4
  5. Reel 5: 3/5-3/12
  6. Reel 6: 3/13-4/8
  7. Reel 7: 4/9-4/70
  8. Reel 8: 4/71-4/94

Related Material

Franz Rosenzweig-Martin Buber Collection at LBI (AR 4219)

Rosenzweig Family Collection at LBI (AR 410)

Ehrenberg-Rosenzweig Family Collection at LBI (AR 4584)

Glatzer Archives of Divinity Libary of the Vanderbilt University also holds considerable ammount of materials related to Franz Rosenzweig.

The Martin Buber Archives at the Jewish National and University Library, Jerusalem also hold material that can be of interest to researchers.

Separated Material

Photos were removed and placed in the Photo Collection.

The Plaquette of Hermann Cohen was removed to the Art Collection.

Published version of birthday album in LBI Library under the title: Franz Rosenzweig: zum 25. Dez. 1926; Glueckwuensche zum 40. Geburtstag; Congratulations to Franz Rosenzweig on his 40. birthday, 25 Dec.1926 are in the library of LBI [BM 42 R675]

The memoirs of Samuel Meier Ehrenberg "Meine Lebensbeschreibung" (ME 788) and the biography of Amelie Rosenzweig "Grossmutter Malchen. Vom Kind bis zur jungen Frau" (ME 789) were moved to the LBI Memoir Collection.


Guide to the Papers of Franz Rosenzweig (1886-1929), 1832-1999 AR 3001
Processed by Stanislav Pejša
© 2003
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from FranzRosenzweig.xml.

Revision Statements

  • 2010-03-11 : encoding of linking to digital objects from finding aid was changed from <extref> to <dao> through dao_conv.xsl

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States