Skip to main content

Else Blum Collection

Identifier: AR 10303 / MF 996

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of photo albums, photos, private and legal documents, private correspondence, and correspondence and documents regarding the reparation claims members of the Blum family after the emigration.

The photograph series contains mostly pictures documenting the life of Else and Paul Blum in Germany, including pictures of travels, friends and family pictures. There are some pictures documenting Kurt Hirschfeld’s live and work as well as pictures of his daughter.

The letters series contains personal correspondence, mostly letters from friends and other Jewish families who left Germany. There are also letters from Selma Hirschfeld, nee Nachmann, who probably was the second wife of Hermann Hirschfeld and who calls herself aunt of Bernd. Although this Selma Hirschfeld is probably the stepmother of Kurt and Else Hirschfeld, she is referred to in the Visa application as their mother.

The reparation files series contains documents about the different reparation claims of Else, Paul, Bernd and Sofie Blum, as well as of Kurt Hirschfeld. There are correspondences with government offices as well as with lawyers. This series contains handwritten notes and calculations.

The collection also documents the course of the emigration of Paul, Else and Bernd Blum to the USA in 1938. It contains the correspondence, which Else and Paul Blum undertook in order to obtain visa for Else’s and Kurt’s father, Hermann Hirschfeld, and Selma Hirschfeld, who was the stepmother (the first wife of Hermann Hirschfeld was named Selma as well, nee Auerhann, but she died in 1926). Unfortunately, their efforts where unsuccessful, and in 1941 both Selma and Hermann Hirschfeld where deported to a concentration camp in Riga. The procedure for obtaining an emergency visa for Kurt Hirschfeld is also documented in this series.

See inventory.


  • Creation: 1938-1995


Language of Materials

This collection is in German and English.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

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

Collection is microfilmed, please use MF 996.

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

Else Hirschfeld was born on 12.11.1908 in Lehrte, Kreis Burgdorf. Her father was the trader Hermann Hirschfeld ( born 9/2/1871, deported on 12/15/1941). Her mother was Selma Auerhann (1877-1926).

On Feb. 20, 1931 Else Hirschfeld got married to Paul Blum.

Paul Blum was born 8/5/1904 in Eldagsen, Kreis Springe. After attending high school in Hameln he went to Hannover to learn trade at the Jacobowitz Company. After a stay in Berlin beginning in 1922, where he improved his skills in trade, Paul came back to Hannover in 1926. He became an authorized officer with Katzenstein & Blank and 1930 he founded a wholesale business in waste paper.

After marrying Paul Blum, Else became a housewife. On 12/6 1933 their first son Bernd was born. Their second son, Ronald Howard, was born on 6/19/1944, after they had emigrated to Buffalo, New York.

The Blums enjoyed traveling; they went to Italy and Switzerland in 1936 and to Belgium in 1937. On 10/2/1938, they emigrated to the USA, probably via the Netherlands. They rented a new place in Buffalo for one year, beginning in December 1938. Relatives of Paul’s as well as of Else’s had emigrated to the US earlier. Hans Blum, Paul’s brother, lived in Brooklyn, Else’s uncle Michael Michaelis lived in Buffalo.

Paul Blum’s mother, Sofie Blum, came to the USA in 1941 and she lived in Buffalo, too. Starting in 1941, Else and Paul tried to get an emergency visa for Else’s brother, Dr. Kurt Hirschfeld, who was the dramatic advisor at the theatre of Zurich. Among others, he had contact with Thomas Mann and a friendship with Max Frisch and Duerrenmatt. Kurt Hirschfeld died 1964.


2.5 Linear Feet


The collection consists of photo albums, photos, private and legal documents, private correspondence, and correspondence and documents regarding the reparation claims members of the Blum family after the emigration.


  1. Series I: Photographs
  2. Series II: Reparation files
  3. Series III: Visa applications
  4. Series IV: Letters
  5. Series V: Kurt Hirschfeld


Collection is available on 4 reels of microfilm (MF 996).

  1. Reel 1: 1/1 - 2/3
  2. Reel 2: 2/4 - 2/9
  3. Reel 3: 2/10 - 2/14
  4. Reel 4: 2/15 - 3/11

Separated Material

Some materials have been removed to the LBI Art and Objects Collection.


See also Kurt Hirschfeld Collection (AR 7066)
Guide to the Else Blum Collection, 1938-1995 AR 10303 / MF 996
Processed by LBI Staff
© 2009
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Revision Statements

  • June 04, 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