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Paula Baum Family Collection

Identifier: AR 1314

Scope and Content Note

The Paula Baum Family Collection documents the life and work of the Baum Family (1776-1982). The collection is divided into three series.

Series I, Personal Documents and Family History, 1776-1976, includes documents such as photos, passports, birth and death certificates, and departure and naturalization documents. Of special interest are documents from the 18th century, David's teaching certificates and David's Ehrenkreuz (Iron Cross award) for service in World War I.

Series II, Jewish Community of Elmshorn and Judaica, (1859-1983), deals mainly with the Jewish community of Elmshorn in the 1930's. There are newspaper clippings and also two scholarly pieces about Elmshorn in this period. Materials also document the assault on the Synagogue of Elmshorn during the Reichskristallnacht in 1938, including a legal transcript written by an eye witness. The Judaica material is related to Ralph's and Leuba's creation of the Judaica Museum of the Hebrew Home for the Aged in Riverdale. Also included are materials related to the Baum Family Torah scroll, which was given in 1949 to the Jewish Community in Providence, Rhode Island.

Series III, Correspondence, 1905-1982, contains both personal and business correspondence. Included is the correspondence of Max Stoppelman, documenting life in Palestine in the late 1930's. Also included is a letter from Paula Baum to the Gestapo, asking for the release of her husband, David.


  • 1776-1982

Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English.

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 “Request” button

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

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

David Baum (1869-1954) was born in Wittelsberg, Germany. In 1905 he married Paula Vandewart (1885-1978) from Lendershausen, Germany. They had two children, Bertha (1906-circa 1982) and Rudolf, called Ralph (1907-1984). David worked from 1907 on as a cultural clerk for the Jewish Community of Elmshorn, Germany. During World War I David served in the German Army.

Bertha emigrated in the early 1930's to the USA and married Justin Landauer.

Rudolf had a wholesale paper business in Elmshorn. He emigrated to the US in 1936. After he left, his mother Paula managed the business. In America, Rudolf married Leuba Silverman in 1939. He was a founder of the Modernage photgraphic laboratory.

David Baum was imprisoned during Reichskristallnacht (November 1938). Because he and Paula already held visas for the US, the Gestapo let him go after 12 days. Paula and David came to the US in 1939. David died in 1954 in New York City. Paula died in 1978.

In 1982 Rudolph and Leuba opened the Judaica Museum of the Hebrew Home for the Aged in Riverdale. Ralph passed away in 1984.


1 Linear Feet


This collection documents the life and work of the Paula Baum family. The earliest contents are legal documents from the 18th century. Other material documents the work of David Reiss (1869-1954), who served as Community President in Elmshorn, the emigration of family members, and private and business correspondence. There is also information about the Jewish community of Elsmhorn in the 1930s.


The collection is on two reels of microfilm (MF 765):

  1. Reel 1: 1/1 - 1/25B
  2. Reel 2: 1/25C - 1/46

Related Material

Rudolf Baum Collection, AR 10440

Separated Material

Photographs have been removed to the Photograph Collection.

Guide to the Papers of the Paula Baum Family 1776-1983 AR 1314 / MF 765
Processed by Dana Brueller
© 2007
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Revision Statements

  • January 27, 2012 : Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States