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Kurt Hirschfeld Correspondence Collection

Identifier: AR 25708

Scope and Content Note

The Kurt Hirschfeld Correspondence Collection holds correspondence and accompanying materials that were sent to Kurt Hirschfeld, primarily following the Second World War. A few letters from Kurt Hirschfeld to others is also present. Nearly all of the collection consists of letters, postcards, and greeting cards, with a few manuscripts and newspaper clippings.

The bulk of the collections is made up of correspondence sent to Kurt Hirschfeld from dramatists, authors, and other individuals active in the theater and literary fields. Prominent correspondents in this collection include Max Frisch, Bertolt Brecht, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Carl Zuckmayer, Erich Kästner, Alexander Lernet-Holenia, Thornton Wilder, and Hans Sahl, among numerous others. The letters of both of the collection's series include discussions of correspondents' work, with some letters that discuss their creative choices or the work of other writers in addition to news of the correspondents' daily lives. Several manuscript drafts by Bertolt Brecht are included among the letters.

Some documentation in this series mentions the work of the theater Kurt Hirschfeld directed, the Zürich Schauspielhaus. Correspondents in the first subseries occasionally discuss the production of their work at this theater. In addition, an article in Series I by Erich Kästner includes a description of the city of Zürich with mention of the theatrical community there, along with a postcard in Series II that holds signatures of theater members in 1964 as well as the text of a speech given by Kurt Hirschfeld on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday that mentions the work of the theater.

Kurt Hirschfeld's declining health in 1964 is mentioned in many letters throughout the collection, as well as his stay at the sanatorium in Tegernsee. Correspondence that references his death and the importance of his work to others will be found among the letters of Series II.


  • 1907, 1938-1992
  • Majority of material found within 1946-1964


Language of Materials

The collection is primarily in German, with some English and French.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

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

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

Kurt Hirschfeld was born on March 10, 1902 in Lehrte, Germany. In 1933 he emigrated to Zürich, where he became the theatrical director of the Zürich Schauspielhaus, also called the Neues Schauspielhaus. In 1952 he married Tetta Scharff, the daughter of the artist Edwin Scharff; the following year the couple had a daughter. Kurt Hirschfeld died of lung cancer at a sanatorium in Tegernsee, Bavaria, Germany on November 8, 1964.


1 Linear Feet


The Kurt Hirschfeld Correspondence Collection largely contains correspondence sent to theater director Kurt Hirschfeld by authors and dramatists as well as personal acquaintances. Much of the collection centers around the production of theatrical works as well as news of his correspondents, among whom numbered well-known German-language dramatists and authors. A few letters of Hirschfeld's as well as letters to his wife following his death are also included, as are some unpublished manuscripts of poems and essays of his correspondents.

Other Finding Aid

Inventories of correspondents that list the amount and type of letters by them was included with each original folder and has been retained in the collection.

Related Material

The LBI Archives also include the Kurt Hirschfeld Collection (AR 7066).

The LBI Library includes books on Kurt Hirschfeld:

  1. Theater-Wahrheit und Wirklichkeit; Freundesgabe zum sechzigsten Geburtstag von Kurt Hirschfeld, am 10 Maerz 1962 (PN 2658 H5 T5)
  2. Dank an Kurt Hirschfeld / [von] Samuel Baechli (PN 2658 H5 H5)

Separated Material

A few duplicate copies of an article by Kurt Hirschfeld were removed from the collection during archival processing.

Processing Information

During processing of the archival collection, it was divided into two series following the collection's original order.

Guide to the Correspondence of Kurt Hirschfeld 1907, 1938-1992 AR 25708
Processed by Dianne Ritchey
© 2016
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from KurtHirschfeld_Correspondence.xml

Revision Statements

  • April 2017:: dao links added by Emily Andresini.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States