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Miriam Merzbacher-Blumenthal Collection

Identifier: AR 25701

Scope and Content Note

The collection provides insight into the life of the Merzbacher-Blumenthal family. It is organized in three series. Series I contains one photo album and a collection of photographs pertaining to the wedding of Miriam and her husband Peter Merzbacher. Series II comprises correspondence and memoirs by Peter Merzbacher, particularly of his life in Germany, Brazil and the United States from the 1920s until the 1960s. It additionally includes leaflets, notes and emails pertaining to the memory of his great-uncle Gottfried Merzbacher. The third series contains a photo album of Miriam's and Ilse's time in Amsterdam with notes on the photographs, written by Ilse. One handwritten book with poems by Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss is part of the third series.


  • 1878-2009
  • Majority of material found in 1927-1975, 1995-2003


Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English, some Russian and some 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

Miriam Merzbacher-Blumenthal was born on March 7, 1927, the daughter of Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss (1899-1987) and Herbert Blumenthal (1886-1944).

The Blumenthal-Weiss family lived in Berlin until 1937, when the parents, their daughter Miriam and her older brother Peter immigrated to Holland. Herbert, who was a dentist, and Peter Blumenthal were deported to Mauthausen and Auschwitz concentration camps and there killed. Ilse and Miriam survived Westerbork and Theresienstadt concentration camps. In 1947 they immigrated to the United States.

Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss already started writing poetry as a child. She was a successful writer, who published several poetry books and held correspondence with, among others, her friend Nelly Sachs as well as with Rainer Maria Rilke and Hermann Hesse. Miriam Merzbacher-Blumenthal married Peter Merzbacher in the late 1940s. The couple had two children and lived in Jackson Heights, Queens until 1961, later on in Connecticut. Peter Merzbacher was born on December 4, 1910 in Nuremberg, Germany. Most of his family lived in Nuremburg and Munich. After emigrating from Nazi Germany in 1936, Peter lived in Brazil for 10 years before immigrating to the United States.


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The collection includes memoirs, poems, notes, correspondence, photographs and clippings pertaining to Miriam Merzbacher-Blumenthal, to her husband Peter and to her mother Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss.'Materials concentrate on the 1940s, when Miriam Merzbacher-Blumenthal and her mother Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss lived in Amsterdam and New York, as well as on correspondence from the 1950s and 1960s.

Related Material

Blumenthal-Weiss, Ilse: Begegnungen mit Else Lasker-Schueler, Nelly Sachs, Leo Baeck, Martin Buber: Privatdruck fuer die Freunde der Women's Auxiliary des Leo Baeck Instituts New York. New York 1977 (Call/Accession Number: PT 2623 A8 Z3 B58).

Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss Collection 1935-1989 (AR 1020).

Pollack, Beatrix Marguerre. Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss Werke: Edition, Einführung, Kommentar, Volume 1. UMI Diss. Services 1994 (Call/Accession Number: on order at the Center for Jewish History).

The LBI Library contains a number of works of Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss. For a list see the catalog.

Separated Material

Four extensive manuscripts of a doctoral dissertation on the poet Ilse-Blumenthal-Weiss by Beatrix Marguerre Pollack in addition to background information on the author have been removed to the LBI Manuscript Collection. The doctoral dissertation was published by UMI Dissertation Services, Ann Arbor, Mich, 1994.

The book Arme Leute, Bettler und Gauner im Franken des 18. Jahrhunderts by Ernst Schubert was transferred to the LBI Library.

The book Der Cimon della Pala by Gottfried Merzbacher (1887) was transferred to the LBI Library.

Processing Information

During processing of the archival collection it was arranged into series pertaining to the family members, following the original order observed in the collection.

Guide to the Papers of Miriam Merzbacher-Blumenthal 1878-2009 AR 25701
Processed by Sophia Stolf
© 2016
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from Miriam_Merzbacher-Blumenthal.xml

Revision Statements

  • March 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