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Julius and Elisabeth Hirsch Family Collection

 Collection
Identifier: AR 25585

Scope and Content Note

The Julius and Elisabeth Hirsch Collection holds the papers of this couple, with much of the collection consisting of family correspondence. Prominent subjects include the immigration of family members and genealogy of the family. In addition to extensive correspondence and family trees the collection includes notebooks, essays and articles, newspaper clippings, photographs, early drafts of Julius Hirsch's family memoir, and research notes.

Correspondence will be found in Series I, and consists mainly of letters to and from Julius Hirsch, although correspondence between Elisabeth Hirsch and her parents are also present. Julius Hirsch wrote frequently, often multiple page, descriptive letters. The bulk of the correspondence is with family members, including Julius Hirsch's many brothers, uncle, and father. Correspondence often discusses immigration plans, family news, descriptions of family members' new countries of residence such as South America or Israel, and some mention current events. Julius Hirsch's letters often discuss questions of Judaism or Zionism. Letters with non-family members include his letters from the 1930s with friends but also letters relating to postwar projects.

Correspondence with Julius Hirsch that relates to his genealogical research is located in Series III. This correspondence is also extensive and often includes family news in addition to information he used in connecting the branches of the family trees. Series III additionally holds a number of family trees. In addition to the Hirsch and Schiff families, among the very many other families mentioned are the Wolf, Nathan, Frank, Schlesinger, and Stadler families.

Series II contains the personal papers of Julius and Elisabeth Schiff. Much of this series consists of Julius Hirsch's notebooks, which include notes, essays, and articles by him dating from his years at school through his internment on the Isle of Man in the early 1940s. Notebooks also contain various notes and texts of lectures. This series also includes personal papers, such as ration books and identification papers, as well as some examples of Henri Hirsch's medical writing.

Other research material forms the basis of Series IV: Research Papers. The bulk of this series consists of an assortment of newspaper clippings and other articles. Notable are the papers that relate to Jewish education in Hamburg and research on Burgenland in Austria, which includes an interview with Elisabeth Hirsch, whose grandfather Moritz Schlesinger lived in Eisenstadt.

Dates

  • 1842-2008
  • Majority of material found within 1935-1950, 1990-1996

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English, and Hebrew.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

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

Julius Esaias Friedekomm (called "Ulli") Hirsch was born on June 22, 1916 in Hamburg, Germany, one of the five children (Hermann, Ludwig, Werner, Julius, and Edgar) of the physician Henri and Mina (née Frank) Hirsch who survived childhood. Mina Hirsch died on June 1, 1924, and the following year Henri Hirsch married Roberta Benjamin, which added two step-brothers (Alfred and Otto) to the family. The Hirsch family was Orthodox Jewish, and Julius Hirsch attended the Talmud Torah-Realschule and the Heinrich-Hertz-Schule.

In 1935 Henri Hirsch developed a way to use x-ray radiation to treat cancer, a discovery that brought him to the attention of Nazi authorities. He fled to his brother Sigmund (Sigi), who lived in Genova, Italy, and then went to Merano, Italy. Roberta Hirsch dissolved and closed the laboratory with the help of Ludwig and Werner Hirsch and then joined her husband in Merano with their sons Edgar and Otto. Julius and Alfred went to Switzerland to complete their studies.

In 1936, while visiting his uncle Willy Hirsch in Antwerp, Belgium, Julius Hirsch first met Elisabeth (Lisl) Schiff, who spent two years in Belgium. Elisabeth had been born on June 16, 1918 in Sobor, Hungary, daughter of Edmund and Hilda Schiff from Budapest.

In 1938 Henri Hirsch died in Merano. Werner Hirsch, who had gone to Palestine, joined the rest of the family in Merano the same year, where he died of cancer at the age of thirty. Meanwhile, Julius Hirsch studied carpentry and cabinetry in Merano and kept up voluminous correspondence with Elisabeth Schiff. His brothers Hermann and Ludwig Hirsch began investigating means of emigration for the family. Although Roberta Hirsch had been born in San Francisco, American consuls questioned the validity of her citizenship so the family began collecting other visas. A Bolivian consul in Trieste provided each family member with a visa but it was not recognized by American consuls. Then a Salvadorian consul, after learning that Roberta Hirsch’s father had been the largest coffee exporter in San Salvador, granted Roberta, Otto, Edgar, and Julius Hirsch visas and other official documentation for that country. Transit visas were granted by the United States for Otto, Roberta, and Edgar, but not for Julius who by then was no longer a minor. Julius Hirsch remained in Merano and dissolved the household, with plans to emigrate to San Salvador. Hermann Hirsch and his wife Rita went to Bolivia, while Ludwig Hirsch, his wife Hilde and their son went to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

While the Hirsches had prepared their emigration to the Americas, Elisabeth Schiff had rejoined her family in Budapest, Hungary, after two years in Belgium. The Schiffs had made plans to emigrate to England. Julius Hirsch changed his plans and decided to join his brother Alfred in England, where he was pursuing studies in photography. Alfred assisted Julius in procuring a student visa. In December 1939 Julius Hirsch and Elisabeth Schiff married in England. In 1940 Julius Hirsch was interned at the Hutchinson Internment Camp on the Isle of Man due to being German-born; by October 1941 he had been released.

Extent

2.75 Linear Feet

Abstract

The Julius and Elisabeth Hirsch Collection holds the papers of this couple, with much of the collection consisting of family correspondence. Prominent subjects include the immigration of family members and genealogy of the family. In addition to extensive correspondence and family trees the collection includes notebooks, essays and articles, newspaper clippings, photographs, early drafts of Julius Hirsch's family memoir, and research notes.

Digitization Note

The collection was digitized in its entirety. Access is restricted to on-site only for box 4 folders 1-4 and box OS 159 folder 2 due to copyright concerns.

Related Material

The LBI Archives include the related Camp Hutchinson and Gwyrch Castle collection, DM 221/ MF 1485.

Separated Material

A film reel ("Purim at Grandmother's, 1932") has been removed to the LBI Audiovisual Collection.

The memoir Before Memory Fades: An Attempt at Capturing the Past by Julius Hirsh (1996) has been removed to the LBI Library. This memoir includes a family tree as well as narrative on the family history and anecdotes of memorable family events.

Processing Information

During processing of the archival collection, series and subseries were formed based on the content of the collection. Some larger folders were further subdivided into multiple folders. Duplicate photocopies of items were removed from the collection. Julius Hirsch's memoir was removed to the LBI Library and the film was removed to the LBI Audiovisual Collection.
Title
Guide to the Papers of Julius and Elisabeth Hirsch 1842-2008 AR 25585
Status
In Progress
Author
Processed by Dianne Ritchey
Date
© 2014
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Sponsor
Digitized as part of the CJH Holocaust Resource Initiative, made possible by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany.
Edition statement
This version was derived from Julius_and_Elisabeth_HirschFamily.xml

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

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