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Ernst Fuerth Collection

Identifier: AR 25559

Scope and Content Note

The Ernst Fuerth Collection documents primarily documents Ernst Fürth's life in France and his attempt to immigrate to the United States, in addition to holding papers of himself and his family members. Much of the collection was used as research material in the creation of Marietta Pritchard's book Among Strangers: a Family Story. The collection includes extensive correspondence; official documents from Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and France; and Ernst Fürth's diary.

Much of this collection consists of correspondence, located in Series I, that provides information on Ernst Fürth's life in France in the late 1930s and early 1940s prior to his deportation to Drancy internment camp. His letters touch upon current political events as well as providing details on his life, with the letters from his daughter providing information on her family's life in the United States. Other letters refer to their financial support of Ernst Fürth and attempt to aid him in immigrating to the United States.

Series II holds the official documents and personal papers of Ernst Fürth as well as of members of the family. These include his Czechoslovak identification papers and documentation of his death in France, as well as a biographical sketch of his father and official documents of his daughter, among others.


  • 1854-1972
  • Majority of material found within 1938-1943


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English, French, Czech and Hungarian.

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

Ernst Fürth (Arnošt Fürth) was born in Sušice in the Pilsen region of Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) on April 8, 1865, the youngest of the eight children of Daniel Fürth. Ernst's grandfather, Bernard Fürth, owned a match factory there which was the family business. After the death of his mother when Ernst was 11 he was sent to live in Vienna, where he attended the Akademische Gymnasium and then studied chemistry at the University of Vienna. After serving in 1884 for one year as a lieutenant in the reserve cavalry, he went to Berlin to study at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute. He then returned to Sušice, where he and his brother Bernard managed the match factory.

In 1898 he married Elza Roheim; they had two daughters, Margarete (Gretl) and Eva. In 1913 the family moved to Vienna, Austria, where Ernst Fürth was named head of the corporation Solo A.G., a partnership of match factories in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This position required him to travel throughout Central Europe as well as take business trips abroad. In 1931 his wife Elza committed suicide. In 1936 he married Ella Siebert.

In spring 1938 Ernst and Ella Fürth left Vienna, traveling first to Sušice and then Switzerland before settling in Paris in December 1938. By the spring of 1939 they had moved to Nice, accompanied by Ella's sister Cecile; in September they moved to Arcachon, near Bordeaux, France. Here they remained for some time, where they lived in reduced circumstances from their lives before their emigration. Ernst wrote frequently to his daughter Eva, who had immigrated to the United States with her husband George Perl and their two daughters. Arcachon became part of occupied France in June 1940 and letters between Ernst and his daughter ceased for a year. In one of the last of these letters, Ernst asked Eva about acquiring an immigration visa to the United States.

In November 1940 Frank C. Wright, a former acquaintance of Ernst Fürth, responded to Eva and George Perl's request for assistance in acquiring an immigration visa for Ernst. The immigration paperwork was sent to the American embassy in France by April 1941, but in May 1941 exit permits were denied to anyone wishing to leave occupied France.

By July 1941 Ernst was able to establish contact with the Perls in the United States through the assistance of Frederic Reyfer, a former business acquaintance who lived in Geneva with an office in a town on the French border. In addition to smuggling postcards out of France he also provided Ernst with funds from the Perls and with packages of food and supplies. In August 1941 Ernst, Ella and Cecile moved to Tours, France, and in September to Angers. During this time Ernst met Pierre Lelièvre, a friend of Reyfer's, who visited the Fürths and brought packages. Reyfer and Lelièvre supported Ernst after the Perls' payments could no longer reach him. On October 9, 1942 Ernst Fürth was deported to the Drancy internment camp. He was released on December 7, 1942 after the interventions of his wife and Pierre Lelièvre; too weak to return to Angers he stayed with Frederic and Marguerite Lelièvre in Paris before being taken to a nursing home due to his frequent attacks of angina. Ernst Fürth died in Paris on January 4, 1943.


0.5 Linear Feet


The Ernst Fuerth Collection primarily documents the life of this businessman after he had immigrated to France as well as providing information on the lives of his daughter and her family in the United States. Much of the collection consists of correspondence, but there are also official documents used during immigration and a diary.


The collection is arranged in two series:

Related Material

A digital version of Marietta Pritchard's family memoir, Among Strangers: a Family Story is part of the LBI Archives (DM 227).

Separated Material

The book Among Strangers: a Family Story by Ernst Fürth's granddaughter, Marietta Pritchard, was removed from the archival collection to the LBI Library. Many documents referenced in this book will be found in this archival collection, and the book additionally includes typed translations of much of the correspondence, including of Ernst Fürth's postcards from Drancy internment camp and of some of the letters of Frederic Reyfer and Pierre and Marguerite Lelièvre.

Processing Information

During processing folders were organized into series. The folder of documents was further subdivided.

Guide to the Papers of Ernst Fuerth 1854-1972 AR 25559
Processed by Dianne Ritchey
© 2015
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from ErnstFuerth.xml

Revision Statements

  • March 2016:: 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