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Tarnowski Family Collection

Identifier: AR 25746

Scope and Content Note

The Tarnowski Family Collection documents the lives of members of the Tarnowski family in Breslau, Germany. Much of this documentation consists of personal family letters sent by family members to the young Klaus Günther Tarnowski after he had left Germany and was residing in Sweden from 1939-1942. The collection includes a large amount of personal letters and postcards from Tarnowski and related family members, as well as photocopies of official documents, address listings, and identification documents.

Series I comprises the bulk of the collection, the personal correspondence that was sent to Klaus Tarnowski in Sweden in the form of letters, postcards, and some telegrams. While this correspondence primarily reassured Klaus of his family members' well-being it also provided news and concerns from those left behind in Breslau, especially of his parents and grandmother, with numerous details of the lives of family members and their activities and health, as well as some news of changes in Breslau. Other correspondence conveyed news from Hans Tarnowski in England; some information on Klaus Tarnowski's life in Sweden can also be seen through the family members' responses to his own correspondence. Some correspondence from more distant family members and from friends is also present.

Series II contains other documentation, including identification papers for Klaus Tarnowski and address listing for Friedmann family members. The majority of Series II consists of a large folder of photocopied correspondence and documentation from German government offices relating to the property and finances of Georg Tarnowski from the 1940s.


  • 1938-1948
  • 1960
  • Majority of material found within 1939-1942


Language of Materials

The collection is primarily in German, with smaller amounts of Swedish and English.

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

David Toren was born as Klaus Günther Tarnowski in Breslau on April 30, 1925, the younger son of the lawyer Georg Tarnowski and his wife Marie, née Friedmann. At age 14, in early August 1939, several weeks before the beginning of the Second World War, he was sent with a Kindertransport to Uppsala, Sweden. There he attended high school and then studied chemistry in Stockholm, before emigrating to Israel in 1948. In 1953, he and his American-born wife moved to England, where Toren studied law, before starting a career as intellectual property lawyer in the United States.

Georg Tarnowski was born in 1878 in Breslau, Germany (today Wrocław, Poland) and became a prominent lawyer who was also active in German-Jewish organizations, such as the Zentralverein Deutscher Bürger jüdischen Glaubens, Vereinigung jüdischer Frontsoldaten and – as a gifted author and poet – in the Prague-based organization for friendship, art and humor, Schlaraffia. As a lawyer, he had important business ties with clients in Sweden.

Marie Tarnowski’s father, Siegmund Friedmann, was a business man importing wood from South America, particularly from Venezuela, and he served as a consul for Venezuela in Germany. In spite of the Tarnowskis' strong ties to Sweden and Venezuela, they didn’t emigrate to either place but remained in Germany. Georg and Marie Tarnowski were murdered in Auschwitz in March 1943.


0.5 Linear Feet


The Tarnowski Family Collection provides documentation on the lives of Tarnowski and related family members' lives during the late 1930s and 1940s. The bulk of the collection consists of personal correspondence sent to Klaus Günther Tarnowski in Sweden from 1939-1942 but documentation, including official correspondence from German government offices, is also present on property of the Tarnowski and Friedmann families. Most prominent among the collection's personal correspondence are Georg, Marie, and Hans Tarnowski, as well as Betty Friedmann.

Separated Material

One folder of photocopies of personal letters already in the collection was removed during the processing of the archival collection.

Processing Information

The collection was rearranged during processing to form two series. Much of the correspondence of Series I was previously arranged chronologically, and this original arrangement was retained as Subseries 1. Several folders were without arrangement and were ordered to form Subseries 2.

Guide to the Papers of the Tarnowski Family 1938-1948, 1960 AR 25746
Processed by Dianne Ritchey
© 2017
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from Tarnowski_Family_ Collection.xml

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States