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Rudolph E. Friedman Collection

Identifier: AR 25803

Scope and Content Note

The Rudolph E. Friedman Collection holds the papers and correspondence of the businessman Rudolph E. Friedman. The collection includes extensive correspondence, some official documents and personal papers, and his American military papers. Information on his family members is also present, especially through his correspondence. The first folder of the collection contains basic information on his life, including a timeline and biographical details of his family members.

Documentation of Rudeolph Friedman's early life in the Free City of Danzig will be found in both series of this collection. Series I contains some of his official documents as well as more personal papers, including photographs. Much of the personal correspondence with his family members and friends in Series II includes details of his early professional life, especially his work while in Wilhelmshaven. Details of the lives of his brother, parents, and friends are also seen in the extensive correspondence. Later correspondence from his life in the United States prior to his military service in Series II provides much description of the places he lived and his work, as well as information on his brother's life in New York and his parents' emigration. Series II additionally contains some financial correspondence and related correspondence of Rudolph Friedman.

Another major focus of this collection is Rudolph Friedman's life in the United States Army during World War II. Two folders in Series I hold documentation from his military service, includes copies of orders that related to him and documentation of his training in military intelligence. Three folders in Series II consist of letters he sent home while in the army, with details of his training and life in Alaska as well as discussion of his later experiences in Europe, with many details of what he encountered in wartime France and southern Germany.


  • 1928-1946, 1973-2000s
  • Majority of material found within 1933-1945


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English, and French.

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 "Reserve" 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<extptr actuate="onload" altrender="Photograph of Rudolph E. Friedman" href=";dps_func=stream" show="embed" title="Photograph of Rudolph E. Friedman"/>

Rudolf Friedmann was born in 1914 in the city of Danzig (today Gdańsk, Poland), the youngest son of Benno Friedmann and Lily Elisabeth Friedmann (née Hirsch, called Else). Rudolf had an older brother, Walter, born in 1911. In 1903 Benno had moved to Danzig, where he purchased a business that sold flour; it became a grain brokerage business known as Davidsohn and Friedmann and later as Davidsohn, Friedmann, and Nelbert. The business largely handled Polish grain exports.

Rudolf (also called Rudi) attended the Realgymnasium zu St. Johann in Danzig from 1920 until 1930. From May 1930-1933 he worked as an apprentice for the firm J. Adler Junior, a scrap metal business in Frankfurt am Main. While in Frankfurt he also studied economics for four years. From January 1933-July 1934 he worked at the Industrialwerke Rustringen in Wilhelmshaven, part of J. Adler Junior. After his father's business partner became sick Rudolf returned to Danzig to assume his duties in the family firm. In 1937 his brother Walter emigrated to the United States. Rudolf did the same in February 1938, traveling via Belgium and England, and sailing for America on the S.S. Champlain; he arrived in New York on February 29, 1938.

Rudolf Friedmann spent his first few months in New York, where his brother Walter lived, but through the help of the National Coordinating Committee in May 1938 he found a position as a clerk in Louisville, Kentucky at the Liberty National Bank. After coming to the realization that the position would not allow him to grow professionally, in November 1938 he left Kentucky for Los Angeles, California, travelling across the Western states by bus. There he found a position as a tour guide at the 1939 Golden Gate Exposition on Treasure Island.

Meanwhile, Rudolf and Walter's parents, Benno and Else Friedmann had also been working to join their sons in America. In June 1938 they left Danzig for Brussels, Belgium, where they waited for their American visas. In August 1939 they received visas and the following month they went to Rotterdam, where they sailed on the ship Nieuw Amsterdam to New York. After a brief stay in New York, in October 1939 they journeyed to San Francisco, where Rudolf had arranged an apartment for them.

In November 1939 Rudolf found a position as the assistant manager of a Coca-Cola bottling plant and moved to Redding, California. On February 1, 1941 he was inducted into the American Army. His first two-and-a-half years were spent as part of the 250th Coast Artillery at Fort Raymond, outside of Seward, Alaska. In 1943 he became an American citizen and changed the spelling of his name to Rudolph Ernest Friedman. From February-April 1944 he trained at the army's Military Intelligence Training School at Camp Ritchie, Maryland. In November 1944, with the rank of Master Sergeant, Rudolph Friedman was deployed to Europe as part of the Interrogators of Prisoners of War (IPW) Team 164, attached to the Seventh Army. After a stay in England, he was sent to France in January 1945, where his unit went through France and Germany, often on the front line, where they came under attack from Nazi forces. After the end of the war in Europe he assisted in the surrender of German forces and also met concentration camp victims. In September 1945 he was sent home, honorably discharged from service at Fort Dix, New Jersey on September 24, 1945. While in the Army he was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service in France and Germany.

After the war he decided not to return to Redding, but settled in San Francisco where his mother lived, who was widowed when Benno Friedmann died of cancer in February 1945. On August 3, 1947 he married Mara Jedeikin; the couple had three sons. He worked in sales and later became a real estate broker who specialized in the sales and leasing of commercial and industrial properties on the San Francisco peninsula. His mother Else died in July 1979.

Rudolph Friedman died on December 28, 1999 in Hillsborough, California.


1 Linear Feet


The Rudolph E. Friedman Collection contains the papers and extensive correspondence of this businessman. The collection centers on his early life in Germany, emigration and early years in the United States, and his military service during World War II. Some information on his family is also available. The collection consists largely of correspondence and documentation of his military service, but also includes a small amount of official documents and personal papers.


The collection was arranged in two series:

Separated Material

A CD with digitized images of documents in the collection was removed to the LBI Audiovisual Collection.

The book From Kobe to Zurich, Shanghai & San Francisco: My Life by Mara Friedman was removed from the archival collection to the LBI Library.

Processing Information

During processing of the archival collection, it was divided into two series by format of the documents. Some larger folders of chronologically-arranged correspondence were further subdivided into multiple folders. Photocopies of bibliographic information of the book about Mara Friedman, which was removed to the LBI Library, has been retained in the first folder of the collection.

Guide to the Papers of Rudolph E. Friedman 1928-1946, 1973-2000s AR 25803
Processed by Dianne Ritchey
© 2019
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from Rudolph_E_Friedman.xml

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States