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Frederich Mechner Barnard Collection

Identifier: AR 25748

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of notebooks, including photographs and ephemera, from Barnard’s years in the Labor Zionist youth movement Tchelet Lavan (1932-38), notes from his years at Manor House, Tingrith, Bedfordshire (1939-40), and a biographical sketch provided by the donors of the collection. One of the Tchelet Lavan notebooks includes notes from other members of Barnard’s study group.

Folder 1 contains a notebook, entitled פנקס [notebook] and dated 1932 -1938. Essentially a home-made scouting manual, this notebook supplements handwritten materials with photographs of camping activities and ephemera concerning subjects of interest, such as statistics concerning Czechoslovakia and Palestine. A printed label on the front flyleaf reads "Svaz židovských skautů 'Techeleth-Lavan' v Československé republike Praha I" ["The Association/Union of Jewish Scouts 'Techeleth Lavan' in the Czechoslovak Republic, Prague 1"]. Inserted into this notebook is a postcard of an encampment with the printed inscription "לבך מדשבת קיץ תכלת // LETNÍ TÁBOR TECHELET LAVAN BHOUSOVÁ" ["from the blue summer of your heart // SUMMER CAMP TECHELET LAVAN BOHOUSOVA"].

Folder 2 contains a notebook with the title "אנחנו בונים ארץ ישראל // סטודנטים עברים [Hebrew students // we are building a land of Israel]. This notebook, dated 1936-1937, contains minutes documenting each “sichah” (study session) of Barnard’s study group; “chaverim” (friends) took turns writing these minutes. In addition to Chajim (Fritz) Mechner [i.e., Barnard] these included Mosché (Kurt) Slatner, Robert Wulkan, Ernst (Šimen) Melcer, Wolfgang (Biser) Šedivý, Frits Kohn, Rudi Mȁrz, Hans (Moishe) Fischer, Ichuah Goldsand, Karl Lewicki. Subjects discussed included Labor Zionist ideals such as the creation of a classless Jewish society and Zionist heroes such as Theodor Herzl and Joseph Trumpeldor. They also read Erich Kȁstner's Emil und die drei Zwillinge together.

The back side of the second notebook contains an unfinished manuscript by Barnard entitled “Kikeriki! Die Grűndung einer Hühnerfarm” [Cock-a-doodle-do! The Founding of a Chicken Farm].

Folder 3 contains a notebook entitled “Sommerlager Tagebuch 1936” [summer camp diary 1936] that documents, with notes and photographs, a Tchelet Lavan gathering from 29 June through 26 July of that year. The gathering was based at Bohousová, an area within Záchlumí, a village in the Ústí nad Orlicí District, Pardubice Region, Czech Republic. Activities included extended hikes through the Orlické Mountains of the Central Sudetes, heading about 35 miles north-northeast to the Polish border and back to Bohusova. Inserted into this notebook are a printed invitation to Barnard’s bar mitzvah and a bank book, dated 1949, of his first wife, Rachel née Zeisler.

Folder 4 contains assorted papers formerly contained, according to the donors, in a file folder labeled "Manor Farm." Some are labeled "Chajim Mechner, 1939-40"; some must date to at least 1947, because they include a printed schedule of classes at a teacher's training college dated 1947.

Folder 5 contains a brief biographical sketch provided by the donors.


  • 1932-1949
  • Majority of material found within 1932-1940


Language of Materials

The collection is primarily in German, with some Hebrew, Czech 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

Frederick Mechner Barnard was born Bedřich Mechner on 25 January 1921 in Moravská Ostrava, Czechoslovakia; he also went by the first names Fritz and Chajim. His parents were Albert and Gisela Mechner; he had a younger sister, Helga. In 1932 he joined Techelet Lavan (as transliterated in the collection from תכלת לבן; alternate transliterations: Tchelet Lavan and Tekhelet Lavan). He remained active in this Labor Zionist youth movement until 1938. In that year he emigrated via the Kindertransport to Manor Farm in Tingrith, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom; he remained there until at least 1940.

According to his heirs he served in the British Army from 1943-1945, and it is during that time that he adopted the surname Barnard. He married Rachel née Zeisler, whom he had met at Manor Farm; she died in 1950. They had one daughter, Yvonne. He completed his education in the United Kingdom, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1947 from Oxford University, a diploma of education in 1949, a Master of Arts degree from Oxford in 1951 and a doctoral degree from the University of Leicester in 1962. While earning these degrees he embarked on a career in economics and political science. In 1964 he emigrated to Canada; he served as professor of politics at the University of Western Ontario from 1970-1986. He died in Canada in 2011.


0.25 Linear Feet


This collection consists primarily of three notebooks relating to Barnard's membership in the Labor Zionist youth movement Tchelet Lavan (1932-1938) and assorted notes from his years at Manor Farm (1938-1940), a residence in the United Kingdom to which he was brought by the Kindertransport.


The five folders constitute a single series and are arranged in chronological order.

Related Material

The U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum online Holocaust Survivors and Victims Database names "Bedrich Mechner" as a Czech refugee at Manor Farm, Tingrith nr. Bletchley, Bucks., UK, on a list entitled "German Jewish Agricultural Cases" (ID: 40208). This list "names refugees who completed their training and were under the care of the Central Council for Jewish Refugees, Agricultural Committee."

The Jewish Museum, Prague, has posted online a photograph of Bedrich Mechner with companions at Manor Farm in 1940: , along with a letter from his daughter Yvonne Patch, donor of the photograph.

A digital copy of an obituary from the London Free Press of Ontario, Canada, dated 20 March 2011, may be found here or here.

Processing Information

Folders have been arranged chronologically so that those containing the earliest materials come first. Materials within folders, including ephemera inserted into notebooks, have been left in their original order.

Guide to the Papers of Frederick Mechner Barnard 1932-1949 AR 25748
Processed by Jeanne-Marie Musto
© 2018
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from Frederick_Mechner_Barnard.xml

Revision Statements

  • August 21, 2018 : 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