Herz-Aschaffenburg Family Collection
Scope and Content Note
This collection documents the family history and lives of members of the Herz and Aschaffenburg families. Significant individuals featured here include John (originally Hans) Herz and his uncle Gustav Aschaffenburg, although papers of several other family members are also featured here. The collection consists of correspondence, official professional and personal papers, published and unpublished writings of family members, obituaries and diaries. In addition, there are genealogical correspondence, notes and family trees.
John (born Hans) Herz is the focus of Series I. His papers primarily consist of correspondence, including letters sent to his family members while newly in the United States and during the time he assisted at the Nuremberg Trials. A few letters from his time in Princeton mention notables such as Albert Einstein while letters from Hartford mention his early teaching experiences. Other papers of John Herz include examples of his published writing as well as a few professional and official documents.
Material on the psychiatrist Gustav Aschaffenburg will primarily be found in Series II. This includes a small amount of correspondence as well as numerous copies of his professional writing and some copies of professional documents, including a few photographs. Other material on him includes correspondence of his daughter Helga with researchers seeking information on Gustav Aschaffenburg's life. A small amount of papers pertaining to Helga Aschaffenburg herself may also be found in Series II.
Papers pertaining to various other family members will be found in Series III. Notable among these may be the manuscripts of Eva Aschaffenburg. Other papers of this series include letters of Karl and Elizabeth Herz to their son Hans (later John), discussing their immigration attempts. Correspondence pertaining to the unsuccessful attempt of Willy Herz to emigrate from Germany is also documented here. In addition, this series holds the World War I diaries of Karl Levi.
Material on the family history and genealogy comprise Series IV. Much of this material consists of notes, family trees and correspondence of family members searching for distant relatives. These papers show the connections between the Herz and Aschaffenburg families as well as the related Feibes, Kaufman and Kingsley families, among many others.
Some folders include brief notations connecting the papers within to specific pages of John Herz's published biography.
- Majority of material found within 1935-1950
- Herz, John H., 1908-2005 (Person)
Language of Materials
The collection is in German, English and French.
Open to researchers.
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 "Request" button.
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
The Herz and Aschaffenburg families became interrelated through the marriages of two sets of siblings from Cologne. The merchant Hugo Herz was born in Cologne on March 26, 1864 and married Clara Aschaffenburg, born April 1, 1875. Hugo Herz's brother, the judge Karl (sometimes spelled Carl) Herz, was born July 4, 1868 and married Elise Elfriede Aschaffenburg, the sister of Clara Aschaffenburg; Elise was born August 29, 1882.
John (Hans) Herz
John (born Hans) Hermann Herz was born in 1908 in Düsseldorf, the eldest son of Karl Herz and Elise Elfriede Aschaffenburg. In 1931 he recieved his doctorate in law from the University in Cologne. From 1939-1941 he taught at Princeton University at the Institute for Advanced Study and at Trinity College in Hartford before eventually moving on to Howard University in 1941. During World War II he worked for the Office of Strategic Services. From 1945-1948 he worked for the State Department, including assisting at the Nuremberg Trials. From 1952-1979 he taught at City University of New York as well as holding positions of visiting professor at several other universities. He died in 2005.
Gustav Aschaffenburg was born in 1866 in Zweibrücken. He became a well-known doctor of psychiatry who taught at the University of Cologne and helped to found the field of modern forensic psychiatry in Germany. He married Maja Nebel and they had four children: Hans, Gertrud, Helga and Eva Aschaffenburg. Much of his work in psychiatry focused on criminal psychology, including the concept of the born criminal. In 1904 he received his position at the University of Cologne, and also became director of the Lindenberg Clinic and co-director of the Institute for Criminology, in addition to producing numerous writings in the field. During World War I he served as a psychiatric expert and was awarded the Iron Cross Second Class for his work. In 1934 he was dismissed from his position due to his Jewish heritage. In 1939 he immigrated to the United States via Switzerland, where his wife was recovering from sickness after having traveled to Italy to assist her daughter in the dissolution of her boardinghouse in Italy due to the recent anti-Semitic laws there. Once in the United States, Gustav Aschaffenburg taught criminal psychology at such institutions as the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and John Hopkins University. He died in 1944.
1 Linear Feet
The Herz-Aschaffenburg Family Collection holds the personal and professional papers of members of the Herz and Aschaffenburg families, as well as related families. Most prominent among the individuals featured here are John (Hans) Herz and Gustav Aschaffenburg. In addition to the papers of family members, this collection holds material on genealogy and the family history. Included in this collection are family correspondence along with a smaller amount of professional correspondence, professional and official papers, family trees and related correspondence, published and unpublished writings, World War I diaries, and a few clippings.
The collection is arranged in four series:
The collection is on three reels of microfilm (MF 1077):
- Reel 1: 1/1 - 1/13
- Reel 2: 1/14 - 1/30
- Reel 3: 1/31 - 1/42
Numerous photographs of family members were removed to the LBI Photograph Collection (F AR 5753).
Audiocassettes of John Herz's emigration experiences have been removed from Series I to the LBI Audiovisual Collection.
The collection was arranged into series, based on family members, in preparation of the EAD finding aid and eventual microfiliming.
- Aschaffenburg family
- Aschaffenburg, Gustav, 1866-1944
- Cologne (Germany)
- Genealogical tables
- Herz family
- Herz, John H., 1908-2005
- Manuscripts (documents)
- National socialism
- Notes (documents)
- Nuremberg Trial of Major German War Criminals, Nuremberg, Germany, 1945-1946
- Official documents
- World War, 1914-1918
- Guide to the Papers of the Herz-Aschaffenburg Family 1811-1987 AR 5625 / MF 1077
- 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 HerzAschaffenburgFamily.xml
- November 2010:: Microfilm inventory added.
- September 2011:: Links to digital objects added in Container List.