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Joe Willner’s magic tricks collection

Identifier: AR 25707

Scope and Content Note

Joseph Willner was a professional magician. He wanted to pass on his skills to the next generation. For that reason he gave his magic trick collection to his relative Manfred Losch. The collection is here presented and divided in four folders. In the first folder are Joseph's scripts, in which he describes the process of every single trick including advice for the performance and where the needed equipment could be obtained. The advice for the performance comprise the interaction between the performer and the audience, and the way every single magic trick has to be presented, in order to create the perfect illusion for the audience. In his description of the magic tricks he emphasizes his affinity for chemical processes in magic tricks. This becomes especially clear in magic tricks like 'Die sympatischen Farben' (The friendly colors), 'Die Wunderkaraffe' (The miracle carafe) or 'Brennendes Wasser' (Burning Water). The second folder contains clippings with magic tricks Joseph collected from different sources like specialist journals. The trick descriptions are written in English and French. The oversized folder comprises the descriptions of magic tricks which needed a more complicated construction for the performance. Examples for those complex magic tricks are 'Theo, the flying lady' or the 'Rip Van Winkle Illusion'. These descriptions of the magic tricks include the process of preparing the stage and the construction for the performance as well as detailed drawings of the construction on blueprints, to enable him to reconstruct them for additional performances. In the last folder is a picture of Joseph and his wife with members of their family in April 1952.


  • undated, 1952


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English, and French.

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<extptr actuate="onload" altrender="Photograph of Joseph Willner with others (Standing in back from left to right: Eric Diment, Joseph Willner, Edward Losch, and seated at the table: Adrienne Willner, Herta Diment, and Frederika Losch)" href="" show="embed" title="Photograph of Joseph Willner with others (Standing in back from left to right: Eric Diment, Joseph Willner, Edward Losch, and seated at the table: Adrienne Willner, Herta Diment, and Frederika Losch)"/>

Joseph Willner was a magician, who was born in Vienna (Austria) in 1903, and died in New York in 1983. He worked as a magician under the name "Joe Willner".


0.25 Linear Feet


This collection contains the magical tricks of Joseph Willner, an Austrian Jewish magician born in 1903. It includes both his own manuscript as well as published magical tricks collected by him.


The collection is organized in one series.


Joe Willner gave these materials to Manfred Losch, who became a gifted amateur magician in his own right. The materials were donated to the LBI by Manfred Losch's sister, Susan Thomson.

Related Material

For Joseph Willner's life and family see the Joseph Willner Collection, AR 7288 / MF 900.

Guide to the Magic Trick Collection of Joseph Willner undated, 1952 AR 25707
Processed by Stephan Daiber
© 2017
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from JosephWillner_MagicTrick

Revision Statements

  • April 2018: 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