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Joseph Bornstein Collection

Identifier: AR 4082/MF 650

Scope and content note

This collection relates to the life and work of the German journalist and publicist, Joseph Bornstein, and the Austrian writer and journalist, Joseph Roth. While the material on Joseph Bornstein covers his life after his arrival in the United States until his death in 1952, Joseph Roth's documents go back to 1926 and then to the 1930s until Joseph Roth's death in 1939. The collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, several personal items, some newspaper clippings, and a few photographs.

The personal items of Joseph Bornstein relate to his immigration process and contain several affidavits filed on his behalf.

The correspondence of Joseph Bornstein consists mostly of letters from his friends in exile who tried to reestablish the severed contact after the Second World War. The series also contains Joseph Bornstein's letters to his wife.

The collection contains parts of manuscripts of Joseph Bornstein's book, Politics of Murder, and preparatory research notes for other non-fiction projects. The correspondence related to the publication of his works can also be found here.

Another substantial portion of this collection is related to Joseph Bornstein's work at a literary agency together with Liesl (Elisabeth) Frank. Their agency represented foreign authors, among them Hermann Hesse and Alberto Moravia, in the American literary market. This series consists of business correspondence with various publishing houses, literary agents, and also some manuscripts, possibly of the German publicist Valeriu Marcu.

Series V: Joseph Roth consists of material related to the work of Joseph Roth. It is not clear how and when this material appeared in Joseph Bornstein's possession, but it came together with his papers and supplements the Joseph Roth Collection also housed at the Leo Baeck Institute Archives. The series contains some personal documents of Joseph Roth, his hand-written notes, a collection of his poems, and his correspondence, both personal and business.


  • Creation: 1917-1952


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English, French, Italian, and Russian.

Access Information

Readers may access the collection by visiting the Lillian Goldman Reading Room at the Center for Jewish History. We recommend reserving the collection in advance; please visit the LBI Online Catalog and click on the “Request” button

Access Restrictions

Researchers must use microfilm (MF 650)

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 Joseph Bornstein (1899-1952), undated" href="" show="embed" title="Joseph Bornstein (1899-1952), undated" linktype="simple"/>

Joseph Bornstein was born on October 18, 1899 in Kraków, Poland, at that time part of the Habsburg monarchy. His father was a Russian citizen. After his death the family moved to Berlin in 1905. Joseph Bornstein attended the Sophien-Gymnasium and later the universities in Berlin and in Vienna. After the First World War, Joseph Bornstein became stateless and in 1925 was granted German citizenship that was revoked after 1933. Around the year 1920 Joseph Bornstein joined the circle of young socialist enthusiasts gravitating around Paul Levi (1883-1930), a cofounder of the German Communist Party (KPD) who re-joined the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) after disagreement with their Communist leadership in 1922. In this intellectual milieu Joseph Bornstein met Leopold Schwarzschild (1891-1950), Stefan Großmann (1875-1935), and Valeriu Marcu (1899-1942).

Joseph Bornstein started his collaboration with Leopold Schwarzschild and Stefan Großmann's intellectual journal the Tagebuch in 1923 where he worked on cases of political and social injustice in interwar Germany. After editor-in-chief Carl von Ossietzky left the Tagebuch for the Weltbühne in 1927, Joseph Bornstein became an executive editor, since Leopold Schwarzschild formally kept the position of editor-in-chief. He led the newspaper until 1931 when he resigned from this post, but remained closely associated with the Tagebuch. Joseph Bornstein's reports and investigative work were highly prized and he was extolled as a Wunderkind of German journalism in an obituary in the Aufbau. He covered a story of the investigation and trial of the murders of German Communist leaders, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht Karl, the story of Sacco and Vanzetti, and others. Joseph Bornstein was a member of the Deutsche Liga für Menschenrechte (German League for Human Rights).

In 1933, Joseph Bornstein left Germany via Switzerland and settled in Paris, France where he continued his collaboration with Leopold Schwarzschild in Das Neue Tagebuch. Joseph Bornstein remained at the paper until 1938 and wrote under the pen name of Erich Andermann. Besides Das Neue Tagebuch, he also contributed to other periodicals of the German exile community in France, such as Montag Morgen and Pariser Tageszeitung. From January 1939 to February 1940 he was editor-in-chief of the Pariser Tageszeitung. It is likely that it was during this period that he met Joseph Roth, who also emigrated to Paris in 1933, and contributed to a number of German exile publications, including Das Neue Tagebuch and Die Pariser Tageszeitung.

After the war broke out Joseph Bornstein volunteered in the French army, but was interned in the camp Marolles, near Blois. In February 1940 he was mobilized in the French army, and was attached to the British Expeditionary Force in the 712th labour company. Joseph Bornstein was sent to Africa with this unit and later demobilized in September 1940. Shortly thereafter he was issued an emergency visitor visa by the consul of the United States in Algiers, Algeria. He arrived in the United States in March 1941 and settled in New York, N.Y..

In January 1942, Joseph Bornstein joined the US Office of War Information where he was Senior Script Editor at the German section of the International Press and Radio Program Division of the Overseas Branch. He also contributed to the broadcast of the Voice of America.

After the war he worked together with the widow of the poet Bruno Frank, Liesl (Elisabeth) Frank, in an agency that represented foreign authors on the American book market. Among their clients were two Nobel price winners - the German writer Hermann Hesse and the Italian novelist Alberto Moravia.

Joseph Bornstein married Jacqueline Lindner probably in 1944.

Joseph Bornstein continued his writing, including an analysis of the Nazi propaganda in Europe Action against the enemy's mind (1942), and after the war, The Politics of Murder in 1950. In the latter book he scrutinized political violence, murders, and assassinations in inter-war Europe and the Soviet Union. Great attention was paid to the case of the death of Leon Trotsky and Stalin's political practices. Joseph Bornstein worked on several other non-fiction projects that he left unfinished.

Joseph Bornstein died in New York on June 23, 1952. His wife Jacqueline Lindner committed suicide in October 1952.


1.4 Linear Feet


Joseph Bornstein was one of the most accomplished journalists of Weimar Germany. His criticism of the political and social conditions in Germany in general, and of the practices of German justices in particular, made him a strong opponent of the right wing and populist parties long before the Nazis took power in Germany in 1933. Immediately after takeover, Joseph Bornstein left Germany and settled in France where he worked for various German exile newspapers. After the war broke out, he left France and managed to emigrate to the United States where he worked for the Office of War Information. After the Second World War he became a literary agent and writer of non-fiction books. The material in the Joseph Bornstein collection contains material from the post-war period of his life until his death in 1952. It consists of manuscripts, research notes, and professional and personal correspondence. An important part of this collection is material related to Joseph Roth that contains some of his notes, his poems, and correspondence with some of his friends and publishing houses.

Other finding aids

The previous inventory lists are filed in the first box of the collection.


This collection is available on 5 reels of microfilm:

  1. Reel 1: 1/0-1/34
  2. Reel 2: 1/35-1/57
  3. Reel 3: 1/58-1/76
  4. Reel 4: 1/77-2/4
  5. Reel 5: 2/5-2/11

Related material

The Leo Baeck Archives possesses papers of several personalities with whom Joseph Bornstein collaborated, among others:

Hermann Kesten Collection (AR 968)

Joseph Roth Collection (AR 1764)

Leopold Schwarzschild Collection (AR 7043)

Separated material

No material was separated from the collection. Previously, the material related to Joseph Roth was made into a separate collection Joseph Roth-Joseph Bornstein, but these documents were returned to the Joseph Bornstein Collection in 2004.

Processing note

The collection was inventoried and arranged by Ilse Turnheim in 1975, who compiled a preliminary inventory list. At that time a decision was made to keep the materials related to the writer Joseph Roth separate from the rest of Joseph Bornstein's material. This portion was named Joseph Roth - Joseph Bornstein Collection, AR 4152. During revision of the arrangement of the collection both collections were rejoined and the Joseph Roth material constitutes a series within the Joseph Bornstein Collection. The collection was rearranged according to contemporary standards of the archival description, the German titles of folders were translated, and where applicable the names were checked against the name authority file of the Library of Congress.

Guide to the Papers of Joseph Bornstein (1899-1952), 1917-1952 AR 4082/MF 650
Processed by Stanislav Pejša
© 2004
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from JosephBornstein.xml

Revision Statements

  • 2010-03-23 : 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