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Pepper-Eisen Family Collection

Identifier: AR 25068

Scope and Content Note

This collection documents the experiences of the Eisen and Pieprzynski/Pepper families from the turn of the 20th century to the 1950s. The bulk of the records concern the Eisen family, particularly Emma Eisen née Lowenthal, Benno Eisen, and Dora Pepper née Eisen. A smaller portion of the records pertain to Saul Pepper (born Szloma Pieprzynski) and Baruch Sperber, a relative of the Eisen family. Included are vital records, identification papers, immigration and naturalization records, correspondence, posters, photographs, a family tree, a few restitution documents, and miscellaneous items such as sheet music, an address book, and memorabilia from Berlin. The restitution documents included are very limited and do not offer insight into whether claims were followed through or successful. The family tree and address book also offer only a small amount of information. The correspondence and Dora and Benno’s descriptions of their experiences while hiding in Berlin are more extensive.


  • 1905-1963
  • Majority of material found within 1933-1953


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English, and Polish, with one document in Aramaic.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers.

Access Information

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.

Biographical Note

This collection contains papers of the family of Peter B. Pepper (1949-) with a strong focus on his parents, Dora Eisen and Saul Pepper, his uncle Benno Eisen, and his grandmother on his mother’s side, Emma Eisen née Lowenthal. Emma Eisen née Lowenthal was born on December 2, 1891 in Freystadt, West Prussia (today Kisielice, Poland). She married the tailor Pinkas Eisen (born October 1, 1887 in Rawa) on October 24, 1911. They lived in Berlin, where they had two children.

Their son Benno Eisen was born on August 1, 1912 and worked as a tailor. Their daughter Dora Eisen was born April 21, 1918 and completed an apprenticeship to become a dressmaker from 1933-1937.

As the situation for Jewish families worsened, the Eisens began to seek ways of leaving Germany. In 1939, Benno started to learn agriculture in an effort to become a better candidate for emigration. About the same time, Dora lost her regular job as a dressmaker and worked as forced labor in an arms factory from 1940-1943.

In 1943, Dora and her mother Emma, who were both living in Berlin, decided to stay in hiding in order to escape deportation. Benno joined them a few months later after escaping deportation at a farm where he had been working. Emma was discovered by the police on June 27, 1943 and sent to Birkenau (Auschwitz), where she perished. Dora and Benno hid in various homes in and around Berlin from 1943-1945.

Dora and Benno immigrated to the United States in April of 1947 under the sponsorship of the United Service for New Americans.

Also in April of 1947, Dora’s future husband, Saul Pepper, arrived in the United States. Saul Pepper was born Szloma Pieprzynski on September 21, 1910 in Wloclawek, Poland to Zysel Pieprzynski and his wife Bajla née Kowalska. He changed his name to Saul Pepper when he arrived in the United States. Saul worked as a grocery clerk and bought his own grocery store in New York City in May of 1948.

Saul and Dora married on October 2, 1948. Their son Peter Barry was born on September 8, 1949.

Saul Pepper passed away in January of 1979 and Dora in February of 1987.

Also included in the collection are a few documents related to Baruch Sperber, a relative of the Eisen family and a noted singer, musician, and composer who perished in the Holocaust.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 box + 3 oversize folders)


This collection documents the experiences of the Eisen and Pepper (formerly Pieprzynski) families from the turn of the 20th century to the 1950s. The papers mainly concern Emma Eisen née Lowenthal, Benno Eisen, Dora Pepper née Eisen, and Saul Pepper. Included are vital records, immigration and naturalization records, restitution papers, correspondence, photographs, a family tree, and miscellaneous items such as sheet music, an address book, and memorabilia from Berlin. Also included are a few posters from Baruch Sperber, a music teacher and composer related to the Eisen family.


The collection was organized by person into three series and then ordered chronologically within each series.

Digitization Note

This collection was digitized and made accessible in its entirety.

Related Material

A portrait of the Sperber family from 1941 can be accessed online: Portrait of Prof. Baruch Sperber wearing a Jewish star arm band, with his wife and child in front of a harmonium

Other posters and materials related to Jewish performing arts can be found in Posters from Jewish Theater 1916-1950 and the Jewish Theater Collection.

Processing Information

This collection was formerly called the Peter B. Pepper Family Collection. The title was changed during processing to better reflect the content. When the collection was processed, the most brittle materials had already been photocopied onto acid-free paper. These copies were retained because of the delicate nature of the materials.

Guide to the Pepper-Eisen Family Collection 1905-1963 (bulk 1933-1953) AR 25068
Processed by Leanora Lange
© 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Described, encoded, and digitized as part of the CJH Holocaust Resource Initiative, made possible by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany.

Revision Statements

  • July 2015: dao links to oversized material added and digitization note updated by Leanora Lange.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States