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Ludwig Philipp Cohn Estate Collection

Identifier: AR 25597

Scope and Content Note

The majority of the materials in this collection is related to the estate of the industrialist Ludwig Cohn and the restitution claims made in relation to this estate after its confiscation by Nazi Germany and later by the German Democratic Republic. Series I consists primarily of correspondence, while Series II contains personal documents of family members and materials connected to the family history.


  • Creation: 1856-1997
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1938-1997


Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers, except box 2, folder 3.

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" button.

Biographical Note

Ludwig Philipp Cohn was an industrialist who ran a hosiery factory in Görlitz, Saxony (Germany), with his brother Fritz. The haberdashery had been founded in 1846, and developed into a large hosiery factory by Ludwig’s uncle, Louis Cohn. Ludwig’s father Leopold had joined the company in 1865. Leopold was also one of the founders of the Jewish community in Görlitz. Ludwig Philipp died in the concentration camp Buchenwald in July 1938. Before his death, his daughters Hildegard Dorothea (Hilde, born 1909) and Susanne Bertha Stein (Susan, 1911-2000) had emigrated to the U. S. along with Susan’s husband, the physician Albrecht Stein (1905-1960). Ludwig’s widow Meta Cohn née Klinkowstein (1888-1968) followed them later. All three—Hilde, Susan, and Meta—disclaimed Ludwig’s inheritance out of political reasons and Susan’s newborn son Robert A. Stein (born in February 1939 in New York) became the only heir of Ludwig Cohn’s estate. The estate was partly sold under duress and partly expropriated without compensation by the German government in 1942 by declaring the certificate of inheritance to Robert Stein invalid. Stocks, bank accounts and furniture which were under the administration of the lawyer Hans Schwidtal in Görlitz were gradually lost. Most of the furniture was destroyed in the war, the stocks lost their value and the bank accounts were devaluated. The real estate was expropriated by the German Democratic Republic in 1946. After 1945, Meta Cohn took up the procedure to claim legal succession. In 1956, the inheritance to Robert was withdrawn and granted to Meta Cohn and her daughters. Robert Stein challenged this in the 1960s in order to claim compensation at the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission (FCSC). His certificate of inheritance was renewed in 1967 by the court of Hildesheim and he received compensation for his grandfather’s estate in the 1980s. In the context of a new claim against the GDR in the 1990s, Robert’s certificate of inheritance was withdrawn again by the court of Görlitz in 1993. The cases related to the restitution of this estate continued through the 1990s.


1.25 Linear Feet (2 boxes)


This collection consists primarily of official, legal and financial documents that were collected to secure restitution for the estate of the Cohn family that ran hosiery factories in Saxony (Görlitz and Meerane).


The collection is arranged in two series, based on the folder arrangement that existed when the records were donated by Irene Stein (1944-), Robert Stein’s sister. Series I contains materials related to inheritance and restitution matters, primarily correspondence. It is mainly arranged in chronological order. Series II contains personal documents of family members and family history papers and is arranged by persons and document type.

Digitization Note

This collection was digitized and made accessible in its entirety with the exception of selections from box 1 folder 8 and all of box 2 folder 3, which are restricted due to privacy concerns.

Related Material

LBI holds the following related archival materials: A typed manuscript by Robert A. Stein, A Father-Son Mosaic: German Jewish American Identities, 2004 (ME 1386, MM III 12), a memoir by Regina Stein, Das werde ich nicht vergessen (ME 1361), and the Regina Stein Collection (AR 25157).

Separated Material

One folder with papers of Regina Stein (Albrecht Stein’s mother, 1873-1962), including her memoir, official documents and photocopies of legal documents, was removed to the Regina Stein Collection (AR 25157).

The following book was removed to the LBI library: Otto, Roland: Die Verfolgung der Juden in Görlitz unter der faschistischen Diktatur 1933-1945. Görlitz: Stadtverwaltung, 1990.

Processing Information

Files were physically rearranged and placed in acid-free folders. Documents on brittle paper and photographs were interleaved with acid-free paper, plastic sleeves and rusty paper clips were removed. Duplicates were discarded.

Guide to the Ludwig Philipp Cohn Estate Collection 1856-1997 (bulk 1938-1997) AR 25597
Processed by Martha Stellmacher
© 2014
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Processing made possible by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany and the Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) Europe. Digitization made possible by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany.

Revision Statements

  • July 2015: dao links and digitization information added by Leanora Lange.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States