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Ostwald Family Collection

Identifier: AR 11029

Scope and Content Note

Series I contains material relating to the Ostwald family. A eulogy for Philippine Ostwald from the year 1934 is included as well as a letter Hedwig Ostwald wrote in Theresienstadt. An English translation of both texts is enclosed. Newspaper obituaries for Max Ostwald belong to this series as well.

Series II relates to the Tendlau family. A short genealogical chronicle that was written by Siegfried Tendlau sheds light on the Tendlau family tree. A translation into English is enclosed.

Most of the material in Series III relates to Alice Witte. Personal writings, official documents, letters (among them is a letter from Karl Siche), the dissertation which Witte wrote on Mercantilism and Maritime Law, references and different certificates and curricula vitae.


  • 1816-1976
  • Majority of material found within 1889-1947


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

Max Ostwald, born on June 6, 1884, in Sichtigvor (Westphalia), was the youngest of the four children of Philippine and Markus Ostwald. He married Hedwig Ostwald née Strauss in 1920 (?), who was born in Arnsberg in 1889. Together they had two children, Martin and Ernest Ostwald. In 1910, Max Ostwald received his doctorate for his dissertation Der Uebergang des gesetzlichen Hypothekentitels bei der Abtretung einer Werklohnforderung from the University of Heidelberg (Ruprecht-Karls-Universitaet). Two years later, in 1912, he opened his law office in Dortmund.

Max Ostwald was involved in the community life of conservative Jews in Dortmund as well as in Bielefeld. In the district of Westphalia he was also the head of the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland.

In 1942 Max Ostwald and his wife Hedwig were sent to Theresienstadt, where he died from disease (a calculus, enteritis and cardiac insufficiency had been diagnosed; a prostate operation had been scheduled). He was survived by his wife and his sons Martin and Ernest Ostwald. In 1944 Hedwig Ostwald was murdered in Auschwitz. Martin Ostwald immigrated to Canada, and Ernest to the United States via England.

The link to the Tendlau family is Martin Ostwald's wife Lore Ostwald.

Alice Witte née Cohen (1889-1976), daughter to Salomon Alfred Cohen and Eugenie Sophie Stern, was the stepcousin of Martin Ostwald. Born in Strasbourg, she divorced her husband emigrating to the United States in 1940.


0.5 Linear Feet


Documents refer to the Ostwald, Tendlau and Cohen families. One focus is on the life of Alice Witte née Cohn. Of special significance is a letter that Karl Siche wrote to Alice Witte. Together with Alice Witte's former husband Max Witte, Karl Siche was detained in a concentration camp. Here Max Witte passed away. There is also a remarkable letter from Hedwig Ostwald, which she wrote in Theresienstadt in 1944, prior to her deportation to Auschwitz where she died. Her husband Max Ostwald, a lawyer and the head of the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland (district Westphalia) had already died in 1942 in Theresienstadt from disease.

Separated Material

Photos have been removed to the photograph collection.

Guide to the Papers of the Ostwald Family 1816-1976 AR 11029
Processed by Matthias Hertle
© 2010
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from OstwaldFamily.xml

Revision Statements

  • July 17, 2013 : 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