Skip to main content

Paul Steiner Collection

Identifier: AR 25208

Scope and Content Note

The Paul Steiner Collection is arranged in three series and includes diaries, notebooks with philosophical and political essays, poems and plays and four issues of the Kulturelle Schriftenreihe des Free Austrian Movement. There are also two drafts of letters addressed to Thomas Mann to be found in the collection.

The collection documents the personal and intellectual life of Paul Steiner in the years from 1926 until 1945 with a gross of material originated in the years from 1933 until 1946.

Series I consists of several diaries written by Paul Steiner in the time from 1926 until 1945. Beginning to be written as traditional diaries talking about school days and everyday life, growing up, Steiner's diaries additionally progress to become a harbor for his philosophical and political thoughts. These are subsequently incorporated in his philosophical and political essay in a theoretically fully developed form (to be found in Series II). A leitmotif that pervades throughout his diaries is his feeling of loneliness.

Steiner's philosophical and political essays, short stories, poems and plays are to be found in Series II. He is deeply rooted in the German culture and mainly influenced by Nietzsche, Friedell and later Thomas Mann. Loneliness and despair of the world he lives in are the central themes for his philosophical and artistic writings.

In Series III can be found four issues of the Kulturelle Schriftenreihe des Free Austrian Movements. The Free Austrian Movement was founded by Austrians who found refuge in Great Britain during World War II. It functioned as the umbrella organization of all Austrian exile organizations in Great Britain.


  • Creation: 1926-1945
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1933-1945


Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English.

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 "Request item" link.

Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Collection Organization 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

Paul Steiner was born in 1913 in Vienna. He aspired to be a freelance writer and philosopher in his early twenties and was an acquaintance of the famous Austrian philosopher Egon Friedell. However, he returned to school to receive his Matura (high school diploma) in 1936 to then take a different path and study law. He finished his studies in January 1938 while working on his poetic writings on the side. Additionally, whilst studying law, he worked for the publishing house of the newspaper Moderne Welt in Vienna to support his mother and himself.

In November 1938, he managed to get a visa for America. In January 1939 he visited his mother in Brussels. After a short stay in London in February 1939 he immigrated via New York City to Akron, Ohio where he arrived in March 1939. In July 1941, he moved to New York City, where he rented a room from Marianne Esberg's family. He married Marianne on February 14, 1942. Their son Tommy was born in May 1943. His mother committed suicide shortly before she was meant to be deported into a concentration camp. Steiner, however, managed to get an American visa for his brother Franz.

Paul Steiner became the head of the American subsidiary of Adprint, a British publisher, called Chanticleer Press. In 1952, when the British company wanted to sell the subsidiary, Paul Steiner bought Chanticleer Press. He died in 1996.


1 Linear Feet


This collection comprises Paul Steiner's diaries and notebooks compiled in 1926-1945. It prominently features manuscripts of his writing, which consists of essays with philosophical or political content, short stories, plays and poetry. In addition, the collection holds drafts of letters to Thomas Mann and a few issues of the 'Kulturelle Schriftenreihe des Free Austrian Movement' (Cultural Series of the Free Austrian Movement).


The collection is divided into three series in the following manner:

  1. Series I: Diaries, 1926-1945
  2. Series II: Writings, 1934-1941
  3. Series III: Kulturelle Schriftenreihe des Free Austrian Movements, 1944-1946

Related Material

See also Paul Steiner’s memoirs (ME 938) and the Marianne Steiner Collection (AR 10443). The memoirs are digitized and may be viewed online.

Processing Information

Whilst reprocessing the collection, folders were renamed and the collection was rearranged into three series separating Paul Steiner's diaries, writings and four issues of the Kulturelle Schriftenreihe des Free Austrian Movement (London, 1944-1946?).

Guide to the Papers of Paul Steiner (1913-1996) 1926-1946 AR 25208
Processed by Miriam Schulz
© 2011
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from PaulSteiner

Revision Statements

  • March 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