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Kurt Kersten Collection

Identifier: AR 4061 / MF 476

Scope and Content Note

Part I contains personal documents.

Part II contains correspondence with newspapers, journals, publishers, and individuals, including Jakob Altmaier, Julius Bab, C.F.W. Behl, Eduard Benes, Joseph Bornstein, Elisabeth Castonier, Julius Deutsch, Alfred Doeblin, John Dos Passos, Lion Feuchtwanger, Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster, Leonhard Frank, Claire Goll, Oscar Maria Graf, Babette L. Gross, Georg Grosz, Emil J. Gumbel, Willy Haas, Theodor Heuss, Kurt Hiller, Heinrich Eduard Jacob, Erich Kaestner, Alfred Kerr, Hermann Kesten, Gustav Kiepenheuer, Emil Ludwig, Erika Mann, Monika Mann, Thomas Mann, Ludwig Marcuse, Walter Mehring, H. L. Mencken, Martin Niemoeller, Franz Pfemfert, Jacob Picard, Kurt Pinthus, Erwin Piscator, Ernst Reuter, Ernst Rowohlt, Anna Seghers, Upton Sinclair, Dorothy Thompson, Fritz von Unruh, Veit Valentin, Bruno Weil, Thornton Wilder, and Duke Odo of Wuerttemberg. About half of the senders are Jewish and nearly all the senders are writers or politicians, refugees from Hitler persecution. The correspondence contains many reports about the years of persecution.

Part III contains published and unpublished manuscripts. Manuscripts in this collection contain the following titles: Die Alte Deutsche ; Beloved Josephine ; Die Berghexe ; Black Antisemitism ; Encounter with Benjamin Franklin ; Das Ende von Willi Mienzenberger ; Die Ermordung Leo Trotskys ; Flucht aus Frankreich ; Jean Gallatin ; George Mandel ; Die Geschichte von Clothilde ; Die Geschwister ; Goethe und amerikanische Schriftsteller ; Der gute Priester von St.Pierre ; Helpers in Hell ; Höhepunkte der amerikanischen Literatur ; Der Kampf mit dem Tisch ; Lessing und die Freimaurer ; The Negropress in the U.S. ; Oskar Wildes Hotelwirt ; Der Tod auf der Insel, ein westindisches Tagebuch, 139p. There is also a manuscript with notes and supplementary correspondence concerning the last years of Rudolf Breitscheid and Rudolf Hilferding in Vichy France: Das Ende Rudolf Breitscheid und Rudolf Hilferdings (1957)

Part IV contains material concerning the eighteenth-century naturalist and revolutionary Johann Georg Forster and on the author Robert Breuer, a close friend of Kersten who died in Martinique.

Part V is a large collection of newspaper essays by Kurt Kersten from 1937 to 1961.


  • 1937-1994


Language of Materials

This 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.

Collection is microfilmed (MF 476).

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

Born in Weldheiden bei Kassel on April 19, 1891, Kurt Kersten studied in Munich and Berlin and served in World War I. From 1919 to 1933 he worked as a freelance journalist in close association with left-wing expressionists. He made several trips to the USSR and contributed to the German Communist press. He emigrated to Switzerland in 1934, Czechoslovakia the same year, France in 1937, and the United States via Morocco and Martinique, 1940-1945. He was active in exile affairs and continued to work as an author and publicist. Kersten occasionally used the pseudonym Georg Forster. He died in New York City on May 18, 1962.


1 Linear Feet (1 box)


This collection contains personal documents, correspondence, manuscripts, and newspaper essays by Kurt Kersten.


  1. Series I: Personal Documents
  2. Series II: Correspondence
  3. Series III: Manuscripts
  4. Series IV: Miscellaneous, Varia, Addenda
  5. Series V: Articles (oversize materials)

Other Finding Aid

Details, see typewritten 19-page inventory


Collection is available on 6 reels of microfilm (MF 476).

  1. Reel 1: 1/1 - 1/6
  2. Reel 2: 1/7 - 1/10
  3. Reel 3: 1/11 - 1/15
  4. Reel 4: 1/16 - 1/18
  5. Reel 5: Articles 1-6
  6. Reel 6: Articles 7-8
Guide to the Kurt Kersten Collection, 1937-1994 AR 4061 / MF 476
Processed by LBI Staff
© 2010
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Revision Statements

  • August 23, 2012 : 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