Skip to main content

Hanns Fischer Family Collection

Identifier: AR 25663

Scope and Content Note

The Hanns Fischer collection contains correspondence, memoirs, photography, poems, genealogy tables and articles pertaining to the Fischer, Milch and Cohen families.

The bulk of the collection contains correspondence between Hanns and Ellen Fischer and their daughters Konstanze and Marianne as well as with the Cohen family. Moreover it includes correspondence between Ellen Fischer and her sister Lotte Milch, and between Hanns Fischer and his brother Rudolph Fischer.

Among Hanns Fischer's documents is, for example, correspondence with Thomas Mann and Karl Jaspers. Hanns wrote articles on philosophy, literature and emigration and translated; some examples can be found in the folder pertaining to him. His farewell speech "Abschiedsrede an die Freunde", when he left Germany for Bolivia, can be found in the same folder.

Ellen Fischer's documents include professional and personal correspondence, poems and articles on Zionist topics among others.

The memoirs of Constance Sattler (née Konstanze Fischer) and Ellen Fischer allow a detailed insight into a German-Jewish childhood before and while Hitler came into power. Constance's memoirs also describe her experiences while growing up with her foster family in England. Ellen's memoirs give information about different branches of the family. Rudolph Fischer's memoirs are called "Fenster auf meine Welt" and are characterized by a unique literary style, which mixes real events of his biography with invented elements.

The collection includes genealogy tables of the Cohen family, poems and some photographs showing Ellen Fischer and her daughters and Constance's wedding, among others.


  • 1916-2002
  • Majority of material found within 1939-1945


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English, and Spanish.

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

Hanns Fischer's parents were Dr. Eugen Fischer and Gertrud Anna (née Maretzki), who was a well-known oratorio singer. Both families were from East Prussia (formernow Poland). Hanns's brother was Rudolph Fischer. Hanns worked at the Amtsgericht (lower court) as a lawyer. His uncle Ernst Maretzki worked at the Kammer (the higher court) in Berlin.

Hanns Fischer's wife Ellen was born in Posen (today Poznań, Poland) to Else Milch (née Kantorowicz) and her husband. Else Milch's parents were Max and Rosalinde Kantorowicz. Ellen's siblings were Lotte, Maria and Ernst; the latter two were born in Berlin-Charlottenburg, Germany.

Hanns and Ellen Fischer had two daughters, Konstanze (later Constanze Sattler), who was born in 1927, and Marianne, born in 1929, both in Berlin. In 1939 they were sent by Kindertransport to England, and they were adopted by Margaret and Walter Cohen in Amersfort, Berkhamsted. Hanns and Ellen emigrated to La Paz, Bolivia.

Ellen worked at an office in La Paz and Hanns played in the orchestra and taught cello there, but could not work as a lawyer anymore. Both published articles in newspapers and translated. In 1945 they immigrated to the United States, where the entire Milch family lived by then. In 1948 the family reunited in New York City.

Konstanze studied the violin at Cambridge and later at the Guildhall School of Music to become a violin teacher while she was in England. Marianne studied singing and became a dancer and actress. She later formed her own dance company in Canada.


0.5 Linear Feet


The Hanns Fischer family collection includes correspondence of Hanns and Ellen Fischer in Bolivia with their daughters Marianne and Konstanze in Berkhamsted, England, where they had gone by Kindertransport. Also included are the memoirs of Ellen and Konstanze as well as of Hanns’s brother Rudolph; poems, genealogy tables and some photography. A few letters exchanged between Hanns Fischer and Thomas Mann and Karl Jaspers can be found among other professional and personal correspondence.


The described material is organized in one series.

Custodial History

Much of this collection derived from a New York descendant of Hanns Fischer, with a later addition from an individual who worked extensively on the related Kantorowicz and Milch families. This later donation included the memoirs of Ellen Fischer and Constance Sattler, Fischer's "Abschiedsrede an die Freunde," and passports and photographs of Marianne Fischer and Constance Sattler.

Processing Information

The material was arranged alphabetically and by person.

Guide to the Hanns Fischer Family Collection 1916-2002 AR 25663
Processed by Adrijana Blatnik
© 2016
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from HannsFischerFamily.xml

Revision Statements

  • May 2016:: dao links added by Emily Andresini.
  • March 23, 2018:: Biographical note corrected.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States