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Max Markreich Collection

Identifier: AR 7048

Scope and Content Note

The Max Markreich collection portrays the life of the Markreich family, and the work and interests of Max Markreich. This collection is particularly strong in the areas of Jewish emigration and the history of the Jews of Bremen and East Frisia (Ostfriesland).

Information on the emigration of Jews from Germany in the 1930s will be found in several parts of the collection. Detailed information on this topic will be found in Series II: Correspondence as well as in Series III: Emigration. Many of the letters of Max Markreich, especially between 1939-1942, concern the Markreich family's emigration out of Germany, to Trinidad and the United States. A large part of this discussion centers on Max Markreich's attempts to secure the affidavit of support required by U.S. immigration authorities of immigrants in order to receive a visa to enter the country. This correspondence is exchanged not only with individuals, but with immigration agencies and organizations. Much of the later emigration correspondence focuses on acquiring U.S. visas for individuals left behind in Trinidad and Bremen, especially Max Markreich's sister's family. Other documents concerning emigration will be found in Series III. These pages include such items as official government documents from Germany, Trinidad, and the United States, including identification, financial, health, and immigration papers. In this series will also be found documents pertaining to the steamer Caribia, which brought the Markreichs to Trinidad, and material on the enemy alien internment camp where they stayed for some time on Trinidad.

The second area where this collection is strong is in providing material on the history of the Jewish communities of Bremen and East Frisia. Almost all of this type of information is located in Series III: Jewish Communities. Documents on Jewish communities include manuscripts of Max Markreich's works on the history of the two regions, as well as his notes on the material. Newspaper clippings and correspondence mentioning related topics, as well as original material, such as Markreich's correspondence and speeches as chairman of the community and minutes of meetings of the Bremen Jewish Community, are also located here.

A third topic of the Max Markreich collection is the genealogy of the Markreich family. Most of this information will be found with the family papers located in Series I. Research notes, narratives, and especially family trees comprise this type of material.

Lastly, a final significant part of this collection is in its accumulation of documents on the destiny of the Jews left behind in Bremen. Correspondence in Series II after 1943 deals largely with individuals seeking missing loved ones, and eventually turns to their fate and the necessity of establishing a memorial and restitution, as well as securing aid for the Bremen survivors of the camps at Minsk and Theresienstadt. Documents on this topic may also be found among the papers of Series IV: Jewish Communities, Subseries 1: Bremen.


  • 1749-1999

Language of Materials

The collection is mostly in German and English, as well as Hebrew, Czech and Hungarian.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Collection has been digitized. Please follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

Collection is microfilmed (MF 685).

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.

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<extptr actuate="onload" altrender="Portrait of Max Markreich (1881-1962)" href="" show="embed" title="Portrait of Max Markreich (1881-1962)"/>

Max Markreich was born in Weener (East Frisia) on October 11, 1881. He worked with a wholesaler in Bremen and became increasingly interested in Jewish affairs. After serving in the army during the First World War, he returned to Bremen. In November 1912 Max Markreich married Johanna Behrens. They had three children: Ludwig, Mary, and Irene. In 1927, Markreich was elected Chairman of the Jewish Community and continued in that post through 1938. In November 1938 he was arrested along with many other members of the Jewish Community. Upon his release, Markreich determined to leave Germany.

In January 1939, Max Markreich left Germany with his wife and daughters and emigrated to Trinidad in the British West Indies, a country that was still relatively easy to receive a visa for. After two years there, complete with a sojourn in an internment camp as enemy aliens, the family obtained affidavits and visas and came to the United States separately. In the United States Max Markreich was active in refugee affairs, helping found the congregation Shaare Zedek in Astoria, Queens and in 1945-1946 the Hilfswerk für Juden in Bremen which gathered money and relief aid for Jewish Displaced Persons and concentration camp survivors living in Bremen after the Second World War.

In 1943 Max Markreich began to hear of the fate of his family members left behind in Bremen. Along with many other people from Bremen, they were sent to an unidentified camp near Minsk and the Theresienstadt concencentration camp. In all, 915 Jews from Bremen were killed by the Nazis. Max Markreich's mother-in-law died in Theresienstadt, while his sister, her husband, and their son perished in the camp near Minsk.

During the 1950s, Markreich devoted himself to historical and genealogical research of Jews in Bremen and East Frisia, a topic he had long been interested in, and produced two book-length manuscripts on the history of the Jews of Bremen and East Frisia respectively, as well as numerous smaller essays. Markreich died in San Francisco on November 27, 1962.


4.5 Linear Feet


The Max Markreich collection documents the life of Max Markreich and his family, especially their emigration from Bremen, Germany. The collection also centers on the history of the Jewish communities of Bremen and East Frisia (Ostfriesland). Included among the papers are manuscripts, correspondence, vital and government documents, clippings, and notes.


The collection is on fourteen reels of microfilm (MF 685):

  1. Reel 1: 1/1 - 1/12
  2. Reel 2: 1/13 - 1/19
  3. Reel 3: 1/20 - 1/28
  4. Reel 4: 1/29 - 2/9
  5. Reel 5: 2/10 - 2/22
  6. Reel 6: 2/23 - 2/37
  7. Reel 7: 2/38 - 3/5
  8. Reel 8: 3/6 - 3/9
  9. Reel 9: 3/10 - 3/15
  10. Reel 10: 3/16 - 4/2
  11. Reel 11: 4/3 - 4/4
  12. Reel 12: 4/5 - 4/16
  13. Reel 13: 4/17 - 4/21
  14. Reel 14: 5/1 - 5/6

Related Material

The Leo Baeck Institute Library contains several works written by Max Markreich, among them:

  1. Die Beziehungen der Juden zur Freien Hansestadt Bremen von 1065 bis 1848 (Frankfurt am Main, 1928)
  2. Geschichte der Juden in Bremen und Umgegend (Bremen, 2003)
  3. Historische Daten zur Geschichte der israelitischen Gemeinde Bremen, 1803-1926 (Bremen, 1926)

Separated Material

Some photographs have been removed from this collection and placed in the Photograph Collection.

A service banner for the United States military, with a red and white background and a single gold star in the foreground, indicating a death while in service to the country, was removed to the Leo Baeck Institute Art Collection.

Processing Information

This collection was reprocessed by Dianne Ritchey Oummia in December 2004-January 2005 to reflect an arrangement including the use of series, as well as to include further description of the contents of the collection. In addition, some folder titles were changed from the original paper finding aid to more accurately describe their contents. Some folder titles have been translated into English, and some basic preservation work has been performed.

Guide to the Papers of Max Markreich (1881-1962) 1749, 1812-1962, 1999 AR 7048 / MF 685
Processed by LBI Staff
© 2005
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Revision Statements

  • January 2006.: Entities removed from EAD finding aid.
  • June 2009.: Microfilm inventory added.
  • October 2010: : Links to digital objects added in Container List.
  • 2010-10-12 : encoding of linking to digital objects from finding aid was changed from <extref> to <dao> through dao_conv.xsl

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States