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Max and Irene Würzburger Collection

 Collection
Identifier: AR 25625

Scope and Content Note

Max Würzburger and Irene Rosenfelder were both born in the 1910s in small towns along the Neckar River. Max was raised in Hirschhorn and Ladenburg; Irene grew up in Ladenburg, the daughter of the synagogue's cantor and teacher. Both left Germany for the United States in the 1930s. This collection contains documents pertaining to their education and departure, and sparing records of their lives following their marriage in 1942. Substantial educational records of their son, who was born in 1948 and died in 1976, are included.

The collection also documents the town of Ladenburg’s efforts toward reconciliation with, and documentation of, its destroyed Jewish community. In 1990 the Arbeitskreis jüdische Geschichte ("Working Group for Jewish History") of Ladenburg invited the Würzburgers and other Jewish survivors from the area to return. The Würzburgers’ visit, the Working Group's publication of its documentation, and ongoing friendships that developed between the Würzburgers and Working Group members are documented in correspondence from these members and in photocopied newspaper accounts.

Folder 1 consists of educational and official documents pertaining to Max Würzburger, including reference letters written by employers on his behalf. Almost all date from 1925 to 1953.

Folder 2 consists of educational and official documents pertaining to Irene Würzburger, née Rosenfelder. Almost all date from 1930 until 1968. These include official documents in preparation for her departure from Germany in 1939 and regarding her brief stay in London before her immigration to the United States. The folder also includes reference letters written by employers on her behalf and handwritten resumes, apparently written by her.

Folder 3 consists of affidavits written in 1940 by Rabbi Max and Brunhilde Kapustin, Irene Rosenfelder's brother-in-law and sister, among others, in support of her application for a visa to the United States.

Folder 4 consists of records dating from 1955 to 1974 that pertain to the secular and religious education of Allen Joel Würzburger, as well as notes outlining his education that were apparently written by his mother.

Folder 5 contains correspondence, documents and photocopies of newspaper clippings concerning the Arbeitskreis jüdische Geschichte ("Jewish History Working Group") of Ladenburg. These relate to the Würzburgers’ return visit to Ladenburg in 1990 and to the publication of the Working Group's book, Die judischen Ladenburger: Ein Beitrag zur Stadtgeschichte (first edition 1991). Also included in this file is correspondence from individual members of the Working Group to the Würzburgers. The bulk of this correspondence was written by Jürgen Zieher, who visited the Würzburgers in 1994. He had received a German Academic Exchange (DAAD) scholarship to study at Johns Hopkins University that year; Zieher discusses his studies and his summer internship at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Folder 6 contains a reference letter on behalf of Josef (Joseph) Wimpfheimer (uncle of Max Würzburger) dated 1939. It also includes several printouts and photocopies: an article on William Martin Joel (1994), undated study sheets for Jewish penitents, and information concerning Ladenburg’s and Neckar Valley’s Jewish history (undated and 1999).

Dates

  • 1925-2003
  • Majority of material found within 1925-1999

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.

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

email: lbaeck@lbi.cjh.org

Biographical Note

Max Würzburger was born on 2 March 1915 to Zacharias and Bertha (neé Wimpfheimer) Würzburger in Hirschhorn am Neckar; his father died in World War I shortly thereafter. Following Oberrealschule (high school) Max apprenticed as a salesman at Gebrüder Kaufmann in nearby Ladenburg. In early 1934 he briefly joined the sports federation of the Reichsbund jüdischer Frontsoldaten ("Reich Federation of Jewish Soldiers"). On 20 August 1935 he was turned down for active military service; on 9 September he was assigned to the Ersatzreserve II army reserve). Later that fall he briefly joined two Zionist organizations: the Mannheim chapter of Keren Kayemet LeYisrael (also known as The Jewish National Fund), led by Friedrich Gross, and the Ludwigshafen-Mannheim chapter of Brit Chalutzim Dati'im ("The Federation of Religious Settlers"), led by Gross and Salomon Ferber. In December 1936 Max left for New York City.

Irene Rosenfelder was born on 16 November 1919 to Sally and Minna (née Schwarzenberger) Rosenfelder. Her father Sally (who would change his first name to Sol when he came to the United States) was cantor and teacher for the Ladenburg synagogue. Following Realschule (junior high school) she completed a year-long program at the Jüdische Haushaltungsschule ("Jewish Housekeeping School") in Frankfurt am Main in October 1937 and another in physical therapy and gymnastics for children at the Orthopaedisch-Gymnastisches Institut Alice Bloch (Orthopedic-Gymnastic Institute Alice Bloch) in Stuttgart in October 1938, after which she returned to Ladenburg. In April 1939 she emigrated to England. In 1940 she received a visa to the United States with affidavits of support from Rabbi Max and Brunhilde Kapustin, her brother-in-law and sister, of Danville, Virginia, among others. By November she was working as a governess in New York.

In May 1942 Max and Irene were married by Rabbi Kapustin and by July 1943 Max was inducted into the United States Army. He served in the 32nd Infantry Division and as Technician 4th Grade in the Luzon, New Guinea and Southern Philippines campaigns. In 1946, the Würzburgers returned to New York, where both worked in clothing sales. Their son, Allen Joel Würzburger, was born on 13 September 1948. In the mid-1950s the family moved to Kansas City, Missouri. Following university studies Allen Joel moved to Chicago, where he died at age 27 on 7 May 1976.

In 1990 Max and Irene were invited to return to Ladenburg by the town's Arbeitskreis jüdische Geschichte ("Jewish History Working Group"), founded in 1983. Members of the Working Group with whom the Würzburgers established enduring relationships include the Protestant pastor Ulrich Schäfer and Jürgen Zieher, who in 1994 would visit the Würzburgers as a German exchange student. The Working Group published its research on local Jewish history; Jürgen Zieher continued to write on this subject in an independent capacity.

Late in life Max and Irene Würzburger moved to Overland Park, Kansas. Max passed away on 18 April 2005 and Irene on 10 August 2014.

Extent

0.5 Linear Feet

Abstract

This collection documents the early years of Max Würzburger and Irene Würzburger, née Rosenfelder (both born in the 1910s), their departure from Ladenburg, Germany, following the Nazi seizure of power, their immigration to the United States, marriage in 1942, and transition from New York City to Kansas City, Missouri, in the mid-1950s. It also documents German efforts at reconciliation through the Würzburgers' interactions with Ladenburg's Arbeitskreis jüdische Geschichte ("Jewish History Working Group") in the 1990s, and ongoing correspondence with individual members.Additionally, the collection includes educational records of Max's and Irene's son, Allen Joel Würzburger, who died at 27 years of age.

Arrangement

The materials are organized into six files that constitute a single series. The files pertain to each of the three primary family members and to the Arbeitskreis jüdische Geschichte. These are arranged chronologically. A final file contains those materials that do not clearly belong in any other file.

Related Material

Notice of the death of Max Würzburger’s father, Zacharias Würzburger, in World War I (16 August 1915), along with his birth (13 August 1883 in Binau) and regiment (8. Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment), is provided in Reichsbund Jüdischer Frontsoldaten, Die jüdischen Gefallenen des deutschen Heeres, der deutschen Marine und der deutschen Schutztruppen, 1914-1918; ein Gedenkbuch / Berlin : "Der Schild", 1932, 2nd edition (LBI Library call number D 609 G4 R4 1932), on pages 114 and 246. A bound photocopy of this work has been removed from the collection.

An account of the destruction of the Rosenfelder family home with the Ladenburg synagogue on 9-10 November 1938, and other information relating to the Rosenfelders and Würzburgers, can be found in the Ladenburg Jewish Community Collection created by Irene Würzburger's father, Sally Rosenfelder (who went by Sol rather than Sally after his arrival in the United States).See: Leo Baeck Institute, call number AR 452. MF 1424. URL: Ladenburg Jewish Community Collection.

Records from the State Office for Reparations concerning Max Würzburger's mother, Bertha Würzburger, née Wimpfheimer, are held in the Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg, Abt. Generallandesarchiv Karlsruhe, 480 Nr. 12312. See: Bertha Würzburger, née Wimpfheimer, records.

Records from the State Office for Reparations concerning Joseph Wimpfheimer, Max Würzburger's uncle, are held in the Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg, Abt. Generallandesarchiv Karlsruhe, 480 Nr. 20279. See: Joseph Wimpfheimer, records.

Notice of the death of Allen Joel Würzburger was published in The Kansas City Times on 10 May 1976, p. 32.

An obituary for Max Würzburger was published in The Kansas City Star on 18 April 2005.

An obituary for Irene Würzburger was published in The Kansas City Star on 11 August 2014.

Separated Material

A bound photocopy of a book has been removed: Reichsbund Jüdischer Frontsoldaten, Die juedischen Gefallenen des deutschen Heeres, der deutschen Marine und der deutschen Schutztruppen, 1914-1918; ein Gedenkbuch / Berlin : "Der Schild", 1932, 2nd edition. LBI Library call number D 609 G4 R4 1932.

Processing Information

The collection had been organized into three files pertaining to each primary family member and a fourth pertaining to the Arbeitskreis jüdische Geschichte ("Jewish History Working Group") of Ladenburg. This order has largely been maintained. Affidavits in support of Irene Rosenfelder’s application for a United States visa were unfolded and given their own file so as to better preserve them while keeping them together as a group. Photocopies, printouts and a reference letter that had been inserted at the end of the Working Group file, but were not clearly related to the Working Group, were given their own file.
Title
Guide to the Papers of Max and Irene Würzburger 1925-2003 AR 25625
Status
In Progress
Author
Processed by Jeanne-Marie Musto
Date
© 2018
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from Max_and_Irene_Wuerzburger_Collection.xml

Revision Statements

  • August 22, 2018 : Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

Contact:
15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States