Skip to main content

Lismann Family Collection

Identifier: AR 6934

Scope and Content Note

This collection is evenly divided into two parts. The first consists of genealogical materials on the Lismann family and related families from around 1680 to the 1980s, all of which seems to have been collected or created by Gerald Lisman between the 1930s and the 1980s. These materials include family trees, family chronicles, correspondence about family history and genealogy, notes, photographs, and negatives. The second half of the collection consists of materials from the lives of Heinrich Lismann and his son Gerald (born Gerhart). These materials include correspondence, passports, poems, clippings, visa applications, a biography and death announcements for Heinrich Lismann, ephemera, and limited restitution papers.


  • Creation: 1843-1991


Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English with a few documents in French.

Access Restrictions

This collection is 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" button.

Biographical Note

The Lismann family of Frankfurt am Main (Germany) and surrounding towns can be traced back to around 1700. The social status reached by the family by the 19th century can be seen in the life of Heinrich Lismann, who was born in 1870 and became a successful banker. He founded the bank Gebrüder Lismann in Frankfurt am Main and garnered respect for his service as an aid worker during World War I. For this and his other community service contributions in Frankfurt, he was awarded the Ehrenplakate (Plaque of Honor) by the city of Frankfurt in 1930.

Heinrich Lismann married Rose (alternatively Rosi) Blankenstein (1887-1972), and their son Gerhart (alternatively Gerhard) was born on May 3, 1909.

Ludwig served in the Germany army during World War I and was awarded the Iron Cross. He was taken ill during the war and suffered bad health thereafter as a result.

Gerhart married Else (alternatively Elsie) Levistein (born 1908) in 1934. In April 1935, Gerhart took over shared ownership of the business Julius Reinmann & Co. in Freiburg. He and Else immigrated to the United States on March 8, 1938 and settled in Richmond, Virginia. Gerhart changed his name to Gerald Lisman and worked as a photographer. Gerald and Else had one son, John, in 1944.

In the early 1940s, Heinrich Lismann and his brother Rudolph fled Germany to Switzerland, where they lived as refugees until 1946, when Heinrich immigrated to the United States to join Gerald and Else.

In 1954, Gerald successfully claimed restitution for damages to his own career advancement (Schaden im beruflichen Fortkommen).

A dedicated genealogist, Gerald documented the Lismann family history throughout his lifetime starting in the 1930s. He wrote a family chronicle in 1968 as a wedding gift to his son, which can be found in this collection.


0.5 Linear Feet


This collection documents the genealogy of the Lismann family as well as the personal lives of Heinrich Lismann and his son Gerald (born Gerhart) during both world wars and their eventual emigration to the United States. The genealogical materials include family trees, family chronicles, correspondence, notes, photographs, and photographic negatives. The materials on Heinrich and Gerald include correspondence, passports, poems, clippings, visa applications, a biography and death announcements, ephemera, and limited restitution papers.


The collection is arranged alphabetically by folder title, most of which are taken directly from the labels on the folders in which the items were originally organized.

Digitization Note

The collection was digitized and made available in its entirety.

Separated Material

The following item was removed to the LBI Library: "Hermann Lismann 1878-1943: Gedächtnisausstellung zum 80. Geburtstag." Frankfurt am Main: Frankfurter Kunstverein, 1959.

Processing Information

All materials were removed from original folders and placed in acid-free archival folders. The titles written on original folders were retained in the container list where possible. Photographs were placed in a folder separate from other materials and enclosed in archival envelopes. Negatives were placed in polypropylene sleeves. Materials were unfolded and flattened where necessary. Clippings related to Heinrich Lismann were photocopied onto acid-free paper. The originals were removed because they were falling apart.

Guide to the Lismann Family Collection 1843-1991 AR 6934
Processed by Leanora Lange
© 2013
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Described, encoded, and digitized as part of the CJH Holocaust Resource Initiative, made possible by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States