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Ernest and Elise Marx Family Collection

Identifier: AR 25135

Scope and Content Note

The Ernest and Elise Marx Collection documents the lives of Elise, Hans and Claire Marx in Frankfurt am Main from 1938-1946, and to a lesser extent provides information about Ernest Marx’s years in Cairo, Egypt.

The collection consists of personal correspondence, legal and professional documents, and printed material.

The bulk of the collection consists of letters Elise Marx wrote to Ernest Marx after his departure to Egypt. The correspondence covers the years 1939-1945 and has been translated. Elise’s letters cover topics such as emigration, the Jewish community in Frankfurt and the status of mixed Jews in Germany. Elise’s letters are sent in three stages: 1939-1941 she writes constant letters to Ernest; 1941-1944 the couple communicates through Red Cross Telegrams; 1945-1946 Elise writes of post-war life and plans to immigrate to Palestine. Hans and Claire’s letters are also included in this collection.

Series I contains legal and professional documents related to Ernest Marx, such as his visa-filled passport, and papers issued by the British Army.

Series II contains letters sent to Ernest Marx from 1938-1946 by family and friends. Family correspondents are Elise, Hans and Claire Marx. Other correspondents include Alfred Lindenberger, Erich Wronker, Willard Lassers and others.


  • Creation: 1938-1950
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1939-1945


Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English.

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

Ernest Marx - "Ernst Isaak Marx" at birth - was born in Mannheim on 1 March 1895. He was married to Elise Marx, who converted to Judaism before their wedding. The couple had two children, Hans and Claire "Klaerle" (born Dec 11, 1925). Ernest Marx was a salesman and travelled to the Middle East in 1939. He worked in Cairo, Egypt, throughout the war, while his wife and children remained in Frankfurt.

The Marx family was able to avoid deportation and death as a result of Elise's classification as an "Aryan". Elise belonged to the Jewish community and was therefore classified as a Glaubensjuden (Jewess by faith), while her children were Geltungsjuden (counted as Jews) and treated as Jews. During World War II, Elise worked as a janitor at a children's home and Claire as a caretaker, while Hans attended school. In February of 1945, Hans was deported from Frankfurt to Theresienstadt for four months until June 1945.

In 1947 the family was reunited in New York, where Ernst's name was Anglicized to Ernest. Ernest Marx died in 1965. Claire Marx married Alfred Kach and lived in Westchester County until her death in 2009.


0.25 Linear Feet


This collection contains materials pertaining to the Marx family in Frankfurt am Main prior, during and shortly after World War II. The collection documents the lives of Elise Marx and her two children, Hans and Claire, in correspondence to Ernest while he is in Egypt. Materials in this collection are primarily letters, along with some professional and legal documents.


The collection is arranged in two series:

Related Material

The Lili Wronker Family Collection (AR 25255) contains additional letters attributed to Erich Wronker, whose correspondence with Ernest Marx is included in Series II, Folder 6.

Processing Information

The collection was processed in 2012, and the prior series arrangement was retained.

Guide to the Papers of the Ernest and Elise Marx Family 1938-1950 AR 25135
Processed by Dalia Wolfson
© 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from ErnestEliseMarxFamily.xml

Revision Statements

  • October 14, 2014 : 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