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Eduard Rudnicki Collection

 Collection
Identifier: AR 7046

Scope and Content Note

This collection is divided into three series, documenting the life of Eduard Rudnicki, also known as Eli Rottner, especially his connection to the academic circle around the German-Jewish philosopher Constantin Brunner whose friend and follower he was throughout his life. Even after World War II and Brunner's death in 1937, Rudnicki dedicated all his time and effort to spread Brunner's and Spinoza's philosophy in Germany, Poland and Israel.

Series I is subdivided in three Subseries and contains personal and business correspondence mainly of Rudnicki, but also of others. Rudnicki's correspondence with Constantin Brunner deserves special mention. On the other hand, especially the correspondence between Rudnicki and Magdalena Kasch in the 1960s is one blatant example of Rudnicki's difficult relationship with most of the Brunner circle. Rich correspondence with other Brunnerians is included, too, which sheds light on postwar Brunnerian activities. Of high importance is also the included correspondence between Constantin Brunner and other followers, e.g. Gustav Landauer.

Series II comprises writings about or dedicated to Constantin Brunner and related topics, like Baruch de Spinoza. This series is subdivided into three subseries; while Subseries 1 contains manuscripts written by Rudnicki himself, Subseries 2 consists of manuscripts, writings, and essays of other Brunnerians.

In Series III one can find a photo collection of Rudnicki and the Brunnerian circle, of the Ethical Seminar in Czernowitz and portraits of Brunner and Spinoza.

Dates

  • 1907-1977
  • Majority of material found within 1922-1977

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in German, Polish, Hebrew, Yiddish and English.

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

email: lbaeck@lbi.cjh.org

Biographical Note

Eduard Rudnicki, better known as Eli Rottner, was born on March 8, 1898 in Stryj, East Galicia. From the age of 8 until the age of 16 he was living in Kolomea and left this town and his parents for Vienna in 1910. He was fighting in World War I from 1916-1918 as a soldier on the Austrian side. In 1918, he returned to Kolomea with his troop which was demobilized there in November of the same year.

His friend Schlomo Ball introduced Rudnicki to the Jewish Zionist youth organization Haschomer being a member himself. In the spring of 1919, however, they formed their own youth group working on a farm in Slobodka-Lesna in order to enlarge their agricultural abilities aiming to immigrate to Palestine in the near future. In June 1919, a pogrom in this town, in which several were killed and others badly injured, forced Rudnicki and Ball to leave Slobodka-Lesna. They illegally fled to Czernowitz, which was Rumanian territory since 1918.

In Czernowitz, Rudnicki got to know Friedrich Katz. Friedrich Katz (1886-1957) was a teacher, philosophical author and poet, who called himself Frederick Kettner after his immigration to the U.S.A. Katz invited Rudnicki to his lectures dealing with the philosophy of Brunner, Spinoza, Plato and the Bible. Katz played an important role in the reception of the philosophy of Constantin Brunner, being the founder of the so-called 'Ethical Seminar' in Czernowitz, which Eduard Rudnicki joined. This seminar aimed to establish Constantin Brunner's ideas of an ideal community as a community of 'spiritual Spinozists'. In 1923, Rudnicki met Brunner in person, which led to a correspondence and friendship between the two.

After the seminar ended in 1922, Rudnicki moved to Berlin. In 1933, he was expelled by the Nazis as an 'Ostjude' and deported to Poland. He got married in 1935, and in 1936 his daughter Anna Elisabeth was born. He and his daughter survived in Poland in hiding, using the name Stanislaw Glac. His wife was killed by the Nazis. Rudnicki got severely wounded being shot into his left thigh. The wound didn’t get proper medical treatment due to the situation during World War II and for the rest of his life, Rudnicki was physically challenged. He also became profoundly deaf in both ears and blind in one eye.

Eduard Rudnicki married Dr. Anda Lewi-Rudincka in 1954. In 1957, he immigrated to Israel after having lived in Poland until then. Because of bad health, Rudnicki returned to Germany to his daughter in 1966, divorced his wife and died in 1979.

He was deeply involved with the Brunner circle throughout his life and worked with the Internationaal Constantin Brunner Instituut, which was established in The Hague by Magdalena Kasch in 1948. However, he fell out with Magdalena Kasch as well as the members of the Brunner circle in Israel during the 1970s.

Eduard Rudnicki/Eli Rottner is the author of four works related to Brunner's and Spinoza's philosophy:
1964
Studie zu Spinozas "Traktat über die Verbesserung des Verstandes und über den Weg, auf dem er am besten zur wahren Erkenntnis der Dinge geleitet wird".
1972
Aus Spinozas Heimat und Constantin Brunners letzter Zufluchtsstätte: Eindrücke.
1973
Das Ethische Seminar in Czernowitz: Die Wiege d. intern. Constantin-Brunner-Kreises.
1979
Spinoza in Israel: eine kritische Betrachtung.

Extent

2.5 Linear Feet

Overview

This collection documents the life of Eduard Rudnicki, also known as Eli Rottner, a follower and friend of Constantin Brunner. Throughout his life he was devoted to spread Brunner's and Spinoza's philosophy. This collection shows not only his personal and intellectual life, but exposes his relationship to Brunner, to the Brunner circle and the Internationaal Constantin Brunner Instituut in The Hague. Correspondence between Rudnicki and Brunner and several other known Brunnerians are included, as well as a large amount of manuscripts and newspaper clippings written by Rudnicki and others about and dedicated to Constantin Brunner and Baruch de Spinoza. There is also a photo collection of Rudnicki, Brunner and his circle to be found.

Related Material

The LBI Library has several books by Eduard Rudnicki:
  1. Aus Spinozas Heimat und Constantin Brunners letzter Zufluchtsstätte: Eindrücke [B 3213 B74 R6]
  2. Das Ethische Seminar in Czernowitz: Die Wiege d. intern. Constantin-Brunner-Kreises [B 3213 B74 R62]
  3. Spinoza in Israel: eine kritische Betrachtung [B 3997 R6]
The LBI Archives additionally include the Constantin Brunner Collection, AR 1024, which has been digitized and is available online.

Separated Material

Some publications from Series II were removed during processing of the archival collection.

Processing Information

The collection was re-ordered and re-labeled and an adequate finding aid was created.
Title
Guide to the Papers of Eduard Rudnicki (1898-1979) 1907-1977 AR 7046
Status
In Progress
Author
Processed by Miriam Schulz
Date
© 2011
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from EduardRudnicki.xml

Revision Statements

  • August 15, 2012 : Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

Contact:
15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States