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Hermann Marcus Selzer Collection

Identifier: AR 25045 / MF 799

Scope and Content

The collection consists of personal items and documents, correspondence, and manuscripts, produced and acquired in the course of Hermann M. Selzer’s life. In addition, the collection also contains a small amount of photographs.

The bulk of the materials consist of typewritten fictional and non-fictional manuscripts written by Hermann Selzer. Most of these manuscripts focus on life in Pakistan, but others deal with his reflections on his life, on religion, on the Arab-Israeli conflicts, and various other topics.

Correspondence is mainly family related, although there are also letters which deal with his medical practice, as well as letters to and from authorities in Germany and Israel.

This collection contains material in German, English, Hebrew, Hindi, and Arabic.


  • 1909-2005

Language of Materials

This collection is in English, German, Hebrew , Arabic, and Hindi.

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 "Request" 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

Hermann Marcus Selzer was born in Stryj (then Poland; now Stryi, Ukraine), in 1909 as the second of four children of Moshe Selzer and Deborah (née Spiegel). His father, an orthodox Jew, struggled to support the growing family. In 1914, the family moved to Oberhausen, an industrial town in the Ruhr valley. After finishing high school, Hermann enrolled at the medical school of the university of Cologne. In 1931, upon completion of his preparatory courses, he transferred to the medical academy in Duesseldorf to begin his clinical training. Shortly before his final exams in 1933, he was arrested and incarcerated by the Nazis. Upon his release, Hermann Selzer left for Italy where he met Kate, a former girlfriend, and married her in 1934. Both completed their internships in Rome. As the situation of foreign Jews in Italy began to deteriorate, the couple decided to immigrate to India, then still under British rule.

After brief stays in Palestine and Bombay, Kate and Hermann Selzer settled in Lahore, Pakistan, at that time an underdeveloped, small town, where their first child Hazel, also known as "Pipsi", was born. They opened a medical practice and soon established contacts among the English-speaking and high ranking civil servants. However in December 1940, the family was taken to an internment camp in Southern India as "enemy aliens" until June 1946, when they were able to return to Lahore. Their practice once again prospered thanks to their connections with leaders in politics, government, and the nobility. In addition, Hermann Selzer was an active Freemason and he was appointed the District Grand Master of the Pakistan Masonic lodge.

In 1971, Hermann Selzer decided to retire in Israel and the family left Lahore. For the next ten years, he worked part-time in various clinics of the student health service. Kate, his wife, suffered from Alzheimer's disease and died in 1986. Hermann Selzer died on November 25, 2007, in Jerusalem.

In the course of his life, Hermann Marcus Selzer has been a citizen of Poland, Germany, Pakistan and Israel, and, for five years, a person without citizenship. Although Yiddish and German were his native languages, he became more or less fluent in Italian, English, Urdu and Hebrew.


9.25 Linear Feet (19 boxes; 5 oversized folders)


This collection documents the life of Hermann Marcus Selzer. Much of the material deals with that part of his life which was spent as a physician in Lahore, Pakistan and Germany, although there is also material regarding his time in Israel. It contains documents, correspondence, typewritten manuscripts, and photographs.


The collection is on thirteen reels of microfilm (MF 799):

  1. Reel 1: 1a/0 - 2/1
  2. Reel 2: 2/2 - 3/7
  3. Reel 3: 4/1 - 5/5
  4. Reel 4: 5/6 - 6/10
  5. Reel 5: 7/1 - 8/4
  6. Reel 6: 8/5 - 10/1
  7. Reel 7: 10/2 - 11/7
  8. Reel 8: 11/8 - 13/5
  9. Reel 9: 13/6 - 14/9
  10. Reel 10: 14/10 - 15/10
  11. Reel 11: 15/11 - 16/9
  12. Reel 12: 16/10 - 18/9
  13. Reel 13: 18/10 - Oversized OS 78
Guide to the Papers of Hermann Marcus Selzer (1909-2007) 1909-2000 AR 25045 / MF 799
Processed by Arthur Rath
© 2002
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from HMSelzer02.xml

Revision Statements

  • December 2004:: Converted to ead 2002. Revised as HMSelzer02.xml. Removed deprecated elements and attributes, updated repository codes, added language codes, changed doctype declaration, etc.
  • July 2005:: Minor addition to the description of the collection and correction of the encoding.
  • December 2007:: Biographical information updated.
  • May 2008:: Microfilm inventory added.
  • March 2010:: Removed "Oversized Materials" series. Edited Container List.
  • 2010-06-09: : Encoding of linking to digital objects from finding aid was changed from <extref> to <dao> through dao_conv.xsl. File name changed to HermannMarcusSelzer.xml.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States