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Theodor Lessing Collection

Identifier: AR 980

Scope and Content Note

This collection features 5 original letters written by Lessing to Max Brod and original letters by Lessing's sister in which she recounts events from Lessing's life. In addition there are two printed cards, one a call to action by prominent intellectuals, which appear to have been created in the wake of Lessing's assassination. The rest of the collection consists primarily of photocopies of short manuscripts by Lessing, as well as photocopies of financial documents and correspondence regarding the creation of a foundation in honor of Lessing. In this group there are also a few letters to the Bäderzeitung newspaper about a bounty for Lessing offered by the German government.


  • 1922-1968


Language of Materials

This collection is in German.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Follow the link(s) 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

Theodor Lessing was born in Hannover in 1972. He studied medicine in Freiburg, Bonn and Munich, where he switched to philosophy, literature and psychology. In 1907 he returned to Hannover, where he taught philosophy at the Technische Hochschule. He served as a physician in World War I and established the Volkshochschule in Hanover in 1919. In the 1920s, he became a prolific writer and published articles and essays in several newspapers and magazines. Lessing left Germany in March of 1933 and moved to Marienbad from where he continued to publish in exile newspapers. He was shot in his office on August 30, 1933 and died the next day.


4 Folders


This collection features original letters to Max Brod, calls to action in the wake of Lessing's death, short memoirs about Lessing written by family and friend, photocopies of manuscripts, and various other materials relating to Lessing's life.

Other Finding Aid

An earlier inventory is available in the folder.

Original Location

There is no record of where the originals of the photocopied manuscripts and correspondence in this collection are located.

Separated Material

Photographs have been removed to the Photograph Collection ; clippings have been removed to the Clippings Collection.

Guide to the Theodor Lessing Collection, 1922-1968  AR 980
Processed by LBI Staff and Timothy Ryan Mendenhall
© 2009
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • October 12, 2011 : Link(s) 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