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Adolf Lorch (1883-1971) Papers

Identifier: P-1010

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of materials related to Adolf Lorch’s efforts to support the emigration of family members and others between 1934 and the early 1950s. Series I holds the bulk of the papers. These consist mainly of affidavits and related correspondence between Lorch and those for whom he wrote affidavits, their family members, representatives at various U.S. consulates, and others assisting refugees. A frequent correspondent is Cecilia Razovsky, the Executive Director of the National Coordinating Committee for Aid to Refugees and Emigrants Coming from Germany. Based on the materials in this collection alone, it is not always clear whether the family or individual in question was able to emigrate.

Series II holds a few further folders that are not directly related to emigration of particular individuals or families. These include a small number of family papers such as poems and correspondence, business correspondence (including advice for recent immigrants seeking work), a photograph of Adolf Lorch, and a biographical sketch likely written by his daughter.

Also included is the audio from an oral history interview with Walter Leonard, the son of Hugo and Mathilde Wertheimer whose papers are found in Box 1 Folder 16. 1 Walter Leonard was born Walter Wertheimer in Dieburg, Germany and immigrated to the United States with the assistance of his uncle Adolf Lorch, as reflected in papers also found in Box 1 Folder 16.2


  1. Walter Leonard." The Daily Advance. 16 November 2007. Accessed 4 March 2016.
  2. See also the record for Walter Wertheimer from the U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index 1936-2007, which lists his name as both Walter Wertheimer and Walter Leonard. Accessed 4 March 2016.


  • Creation: 1896-2013
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1934 - 1941


Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers, except items that may be restricted due to their fragility, or privacy.

Use Restrictions

No permission is required to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection, as long as the usage is scholarly, educational, and non-commercial. For inquiries about other usage, please contact the Director of Collections and Engagement at

For reference questions, please email:

Biographical Note

Adolf Lorch was born on April 21, 1883 in Dieburg, Germany, a town in southern Hessen. He immigrated to the United States in 1899 at the age of 16, the only one of his siblings to do so at the time. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1906 and went into the textile industry. By the 1930s, he was the President and General Manager of the Textile By-Products Corporation, located in Hudson, New York. He was married to Florence née Mayer, with whom he had four children.

In the mid-1930s, Lorch began corresponding with relatives in Germany who wished to emigrate. To assist them, he wrote affidavits that attested to the character of the potential immigrants and offered his own income and assets as a guarantee that they would not become public charges.

Between 1934 and the early 1950s, Lorch corresponded with at least seventy individuals and families regarding affidavits to support their emigration from Germany. He assisted his immediate family in the mid-1930s, and many were able to immigrate to the United States. By the late 1930s, members of Lorch’s extended family asked for his help, including some relatives whom he had never met. Friends from Lorch’s hometown of Dieburg also contacted him for assistance. Others who had no connection to Lorch at all wrote to him, having heard that he was willing to write affidavits. Several people were able to immigrate in this way with Lorch's support, meeting him for the first time after their arrival in the United States.

By 1941, U.S. immigration regulations changed, making it more difficult for Lorch to sponsor immigrants to the United States. The U.S. Consulate in Stuttgart eventually barred Lorch from writing any further affidavits, noting that it would be impossible for him to actually support all of the individuals and families he had already sponsored.

Adolf Lorch died on November 4, 1971 in New York.


0.75 Linear Feet (1 manuscript box, 1 half-manuscript box)

Language of Materials




This collection consists of materials related to Adolf Lorch’s efforts to support the emigration of family members and others from Germany between 1934 and the early 1950s. The bulk is made up of correspondence and affidavits. Also included are other family papers, business correspondence, a biographical sketch, and a photograph of Lorch.


The Adolf Lorch Papers are arranged into two series, both ordered alphabetically.

Physical Location

Located in AJHS New York, NY

Acquisition Information

The Adolf Lorch Papers were acquired in 2015 from Adolf Lorch's daughter Judith Brooks.

Digitization Note

This collection was digitized in its entirety.

Related Material

The Leo Baeck Institute holds a large number of collections documenting the emigration efforts of individuals and families from Germany.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage held an exhibit titled Against the Odds that ran from May 21, 2013 to February 15, 2015 and used some of the materials from the Adolf Lorch Papers. The online presence of the exhibit can be accessed at

The website for this exhibit was captured by the Internet Archive Wayback Machine starting in July 2013. The snapshots of the archived website can be viewed here:*/ Please note that the Wayback Machine may not render the website exactly as it appeared on the live web at the time, and that AJHS has no control over how often the site was crawled or how it displays now.

Processing Information

Materials were rehoused into acid-free folders and manuscript boxes. Folder titles, which consisted of individual or family names, were retained and often expanded to include first names. Materials were unfolded where necessary. Many of the papers in the collection were stapled together in large packets that included correspondence and affidavits. These staples often had to be removed so that contents of material could be seen. Some materials had been placed in Mylar sleeves previous to accessioning. This rehousing was likely done at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, where materials were used in an exhibition in 2013-2015. These sleeves were retained for fragile and torn documents. Two blank white handkerchiefs found with the papers were removed.

Guide to the Adolf Lorch (1883-1971) Papers, 1896-2013 P-1010
Processed by Leanora Lange
© 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Processed as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • May 2016: dao links added by Eric Fritzler.
  • May 2016: subjects updated by Leanora Lange.
  • June 2016: audio link added by Leanora Lange.
  • November 2020: RJohnstone: post-ASpace migration cleanup.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States