Skip to main content

Sonia Wachstein Collection

Identifier: AR 10808

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains materials documenting both Sonia Wachstein’s professional as well as her personal life. Series I contains biographical information about Sonia Wachstein and passports, ID cards, transcripts and diplomas. Her diaries and other personal writings are additionally located in this series, including her doctoral thesis for the University of Vienna about Viennese theatre at the end of the 18th century There are also photographs and materials about a trip to Vienna in 1992. Several items, including her diaries and her creative writing, document her life as an immigrant during the 1940s in London and New York.

Series II: Professional includes materials related to her employment as a social worker as well as her writings about child welfare and other social work-related topics. Series III includes research material on Bernard Wachstein, and poetry by Meinhardt Lemke, among other material.


  • 1915-1996
  • Majority of material found within 1939-1962


Language of Materials

The collection is primarily in English and German, with Hebrew, Latin and Yiddish.

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

Sonia (Sophie) Wachstein was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1907. Her father, Bernhard Wachstein (1868-1935), was a famous historian, bibliographer, and genealogist. He wrote and published about the Vienna Jewish community. He was also director of the library of the Kultusgemeinde in Vienna.

Sonia Wachstein studied and later taught at the Chajes Gymnasium in Vienna. She immigrated to London, England, in 1939, where she taught English to German Jewish refugees. After the end of World War II she arrived in New York and made a living by teaching German at Brooklyn College. She entered a work-study program at the Graduate School of Social Work at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, where she received her Ph.D. in social work. She later became a supervisor in the Brooklyn school system. After her retirement, she taught English to Russian students at Bryn Mawr College. She died in New York in 2001.


1.0 Linear Feet


This collection documents Sonia Wachstein's personal life and professional work. It includes personal documents, correspondence, diaries, and photographs concerning her personal affairs as well as her education and professional life as a social worker.

Related Material

There are books by Bernard Wachstein in the LBI library [f BM 309 V5 A2] and the LBI Archives holds the Meinhardt Lemke Collection [AR 4235].

Sonia Wachstein's published memoir Hagenbergergasse 49 : Erinnerungen an eine Wiener juedische Kindheit und Jugend is available in the LBI Library [DS 135 A93 W33 1996]. An English version of the memoirs is also available entitled Too Deep were Our Roots: a Viennese Jewish Memoir of the Years Between the Two World Wars [st 2387].

Separated Material

Some books were removed and are now in the LBI library. Photocopies of their covers and their copy right information remained in the collection. Some of the books had dedications or notes, which were photocopied and included in the collection.

Guide to the Papers of Sonia Wachstein(1907-2001) 1915-1996 AR 10808
Processed by Katharina Hoffmann and Dianne Ritchey
© 2009
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from SoniaWachstein.xml

Revision Statements

  • May 2015:: dao links added by Emily Andresini.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States