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Gretl Schwabe Collection

Identifier: AR 6297

Scope and Content Note

The Gretl Schwabe Collection focuses on the family history of Gretl Schwabe née Spanier, and especially of the Spanier and related families. The collection contains official documents of family members, genealogical notes and family trees, notes, correspondence, articles, a few photographs, and publications. Many items, including a significant amount of Judaica books, as well as photographs and objects have been removed from the archival collection.

This collection largely centers around the genealogy and family history of members of the Spanier family, which is located in Series I. Included are not only family trees and notes accumulated in the compilation of the family trees, but also official papers of family members. Such papers include copies of marriage contracts, identification papers, and financial and religious papers. Some documentation is from members of related families, including the Weinbach, Gump, and Weiskopf families. Some material is available on the Bankhaus Weiskopf. Papers of Gretl Schwabe parents, Jakob and Bella Spanier, contain documentation of Jakob Spanier's civil service and Bella Spanier's reminiscences of Kristallnacht. Many of the notes of books from Series II, which have been removed to the LBI Library, include genealogical notes in Hebrew, such as lists of family members.

Some material on Jewish communities where family members resided is also present in this collection. Series I contains some material on the Jewish communities of Krumbach, where the Spaniers lived, and Harburg. Additional material on Krumbach, including articles on anti-Semitism and the events of the Holocaust, will be found among the published material of Series III.


  • 1808-2009
  • Majority of material found within 1850-1940


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, Hebrew, and English.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Part of the 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

Gretl Schwabe was born as Gretchen Spanier on April 29, 1913 in Krumbach (Schwaben). Her parents were Jakob Spanier und Bella Spanier (born Weiskopf). Together with her family she left Germany in May 1939 to London, and emigrated from there to the United States in December 1939. The family arrived in New York on January 3, 1940. She married Herman Schwabe (born January 22, 1905 in Heiligenstadt bei Hannover) on July 14, 1940. They had two sons (Ronald James, born August 18, 1943; Jarrold Michael, born January 9, 1946). Gretl Schwabe died in New York City in 1999.


0.75 Linear Feet


This collection documents the family history of Gretl Schwabe and the Spanier family, primarily consisting of family trees, genealogical notes, and official papers of family members. Other subjects include the Jewish communities of Krumbach and Harburg, where family members resided, In addition, there are publications, and a small amount of articles, correspondence, and photographs.

Separated Material

Most of this collection has been separated from the archival collection. Three linear feet of books were removed to the LBI Library, with a bibliography [ref to 1/16 here] of the books kept in Series II of this archival collection. Photographs were removed to the Photograph Collection (F AR 6297).

Several objects were removed to the Art and Objects Collection:

  1. Circumcision Knife and Case, steel horn [Accession # 89.136 and # 89.137]
  2. Circumcision Knife and Case, embossed leather, velvet, [Accession # 89.138 and # 89.139]
  3. Festival Bread Knife (Circumcision) with Hebrew inscription (Engraved silver knife reading " happiness of his bread..." on one side and "...sing blessings/songs of life...") [Accession # 99.22]
  4. Torah binder (Wimpel) for Ronald James Schwabe) [Accession number unknown]

Processing Information

In February 2001 the prayer book titles of this collection were transliterated by Arthur Rath and Sam Spinner and an inventory and biography were written by Andreas Strauss. Preservation work was also performed on items in Series II.

In October 2009 the collection was reprocessed in preparation of the EAD finding aid and eventual microfilming. The previous series were retained, with Series I gaining more concise folder titles and some slight rearrangement within the series. At this time most items in Series II were removed to the LBI Library.

Guide to the Papers of Gretl Schwabe (1913-1999) 1808-1997, 2009 AR 6297
Processed by Dianne Ritchey, Arthur Rath, Sam Spinner, and Andrea Strauss
© 2009
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from GretlSchwabe.xml

Revision Statements

  • August 2016:: dao links added by Emily Andresini.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States