Skip to main content

Hans and Helene Ax collection

Identifier: AR 25751

Scope and Content Note

The collection documents the lives of Hans and Hella Ax in Vienna, Austria and their flight through England to the United States.


  • 1901-1943
  • Majority of material found within 1932-1938


Language of Materials

This collection is in German and English.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Collection has been digitized.

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

Hans Ax (1902, Vienna – 1985, Florida) was the son of Josef Ax (1901, Lemberg – 1928, Vienna) and Regine (Rosa) Ax née Silberberger (1893, Vienna – 1953, New York). Josef moved from Lemberg (now L’viv, Ukraine) to Vienna, where he met and married Regine. He founded “Ax Lederwaren,” a prestigious leather-goods business in Vienna. They lived in a fashionable address across from Vienna’s opera building. Regine/Rosa was a known figure in upper class Viennese society. - Hans worked in his father’s business.

Hella Herson (1915, Vienna – 1995, Florida), who was not Jewish, worked at another leather-goods business, “August Sirk.” She met Hans Ax, and they married in 1936. Their daughter, Elizabeth, was born in 1937.

With the Nazi seizure of Austria in 1938 the family made plans to emigrate. Hans Ax first went to France, possibly to figure out if there was a future there, but then the family chose to obtain American visas, and in 1939 they moved to England. In London Hans found employment with a leather-goods company. In June 1940 they were able to travel from England to the United States, together with Hans’ mother Rosa.


0.25 Linear Feet


The collection documents the lives of Hans and Hella Ax in Vienna, Austria and their flight through England to the United States.

Acquisition Note

The original collection remained with Hans and Hella Ax’s heirs in New York. Family related documents, such as vital records; education certificates; emigration papers; photographs; and other archival materials were lent to LBI for microfilming and digitization. Correspondence and other documents pertaining to Hans Ax’s efforts to gain restitution for the parental business are part of the original collection, but were not microfilmed nor digitized because of privacy issues.

Guide to the Hans and Helene Ax Collection, 1901-1943  AR 25751
Processed by LBI Staff
© 2017
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States