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Walter, Greta and Karl Loewenstein Collection

Identifier: AR 25227

Scope and Content Note

The Walter, Grete and Karl Loewenstein Collection documents some significant events in the lives of Walter and Karl Loewenstein. Included in this collection are unpublished manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, official and restitution documentation, genealogical research and charts, fliers, and notes and notebooks.

Papers pertaining to Walter Loewenstein are located in Series I. The bulk of this series consists of examples of Walter Loewenstein's writing, including articles on well-known individuals or scientific subjects. In addition, Series I also holds some personal papers, including several folders of photographs and correspondence along with handwritten notebooks of his ancestor, Isaac Loewenstein. Correspondence includes letters that were exchanged with family members such as Karl Loewenstein, Hermann Elias, and Grete Elias née Loewenstein. Other family correspondence includes letters sent in the late 1930s and early 1940s that mention the immigration of family members in addition to usual family news.

Series II holds Karl Loewenstein's papers. Most of this series consists of papers pertaining to his military service in World War II, although there is also a small amount of personal papers.

Papers relating to Nazi Germany and World War II will be found in several areas of this collection. Among the correspondence of Walter Loewenstein is a lengthy letter from "Selma," an unidentified family member, to Loewenstein's brother-in-law Hermann Elias. In this letter Selma details the fates of several other family members and her own experiences living in hiding in Berlin. Series I also encompasses a collection of documents from Rietberg officials during this time period that document the restrictions placed upon German Jews as well as several folders of correspondence concerning restitution for the Loewenstein family's losses. Series II includes material on Karl Loewenstein's wartime experiences, including an essay, some letters from superiors, and many leaflets designed for German soldiers.


  • Creation: 1821-2004
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1933-1989


Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English, with a small amount of Latin.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

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 "Reserve" button.

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

Julius Loewenstein was born January 17, 1868. He married Emma Brandenstein, born October 24, 1868. The family lived in Rietberg, in Westphalia (Germany) and together they had six children: Julie, Walter, Grete, Hans, Liselotte (Lilo) and Karl. Both Julius and Emma died in concentration camps: Julius while in Theresienstadt and Emma in Auschwitz. Their eldest daughter Julie died at a camp in Chelm, Poland.

Walter Loewenstein was born April 15, 1900. He married Else ("Elsie") Friede, born on May 14, 1910.

Grete Loewenstein was born April 17, 1902. She married Herman (sometimes spelled Hermann) Elias. They had two children, Ruth and Werner.

Karl Loewenstein was born September 8, 1910. He married Gerda Krüger. From February 1944 until November 1945 he served in the Information Services Branch of the U.S. Army, where he produced leaflets to be dropped to enemy forces and later was involved with Die Neue Zeitung, an American publication for the occupied German population.


1.5 Linear Feet


This collection holds papers of members of the Loewenstein family, especially Walter and Karl Loewenstein. Among the papers here are examples of Walter Loewenstein's writing, documentation of life in Rietberg in Westphalia (Germany) during the late 1930s and early 1940s, and correspondence concerning the fate of several family members during this time. Papers relating to Karl Loewenstein focus on his wartime activities. The genealogy of the Brandenstein family is also represented here along with a few papers of other family members. The collection consists of unpublished manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, official and restitution documentation, notebooks and notes, genealogical research, and fliers.


This collection is on four reels of microfilm (MF 1105):

  1. Reel 1: 1/1 - 1/19
  2. Reel 2: 1/20 - 1/28
  3. Reel 3: 1/29 - 2/15
  4. Reel 4: 2/16 - 2/17

Related Material

The LBI Library holds three books by Karl Loewenstein.

The LBI Archives additionally hold a fascinating memoir by Isaac Loewenstein [MS 796] in which he details his life in the military in 1820, including descriptions of his travels from Bielefeld to Luxemburg. In addition to portraying the various towns along the Rhine through which he traveled, the memoir outlines the daily life and training of a soldier during this time. This memoir has been transcribed and translated into English; the handwritten memoir is digitized and available online.

Separated Material

A book, 700 Jahre Stadt Rietberg and a video, Rietberg, were removed to LBIBO.

Guide to the Papers of Walter, Grete and Karl Loewenstein 1816-1976 AR 25227 / MF 1105
Processed by Dianne Ritchey
© 2010
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from Walter_Grete_Karl_Loewenstein.xml

Revision Statements

  • June 2011.: Microfilm inventory added.
  • February 13, 2012 : Links 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