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Bergmann Family Collection

Identifier: AR 6386 / MF 878

Scope and Content Note

The Bergmann Family collection consists primarily of correspondence between family members, written overwhelmingly by Robert, Martha, and Hertha Bergmann. The material is of interest to those researching World War I as there is extensive, often daily, correspondence from Robert Bergmann, who served in a variety of countries. There is also information on the family’s immigration experience and letters written by Hertha to her father (her mother had died) in the 1950s.


  • 1901-1981


Language of Materials

This collection is in German.

Access Restrictions

Collection is microfilmed, please use MF 878.

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.

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

Robert Bergmann (1894 - ?) was born 1894 in the Sudetenland region, now part of the Czech Republic. He apparently moved to Vienna as a child and attended school and took courses at the Export Akademie, a business training institute of higher education. From 1913 – 1938 he worked for iron and steel company Otto Graf GmbH in Vienna. During World War I he served on the Italian and Russian fronts from 1914 – 1918. He married his cousin Martha Bergmann in August 1920. Martha was born in Vienna in 1896. Their daughter, Hertha, was born in 1923. Apparently eager to establish a future for Hertha in an English-speaking country (and probably spurred on by the Anschluss), Robert and Martha succeeded in enrolling her in Hornsea College in Yorkshire, England in 1938, where they also had relatives nearby. With the help of his employers, Robert left for Switzerland in 1938, thereafter making his way via Paris to England. Martha was afflicted with breast cancer at this time and underwent an operation in 1939, upon her recovery she was also able to leave the country, apparently going straight to England. After being denied visas to Australia, Robert and Martha eventually entered the United States in May 1940. Hertha initially remained in England in order to finish school exams. She arrived in summer of 1940 as part of a children transport from England to Canada. The Bergmann’s first stayed a short time in New York City, residing in the apartment of theologian Professor Reinhold Niebuhr and his wife (while the latter were living in Massachusetts). It is unclear how this arrangement came about, but it resulted in a friendship between the two families. Hertha also became acquainted with the Niebuhr’s, working as a nanny for their children. They in turn assisted in her eventual enrollment at Pennsylvania College for Women after she had taken exams for credit at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute. After the short time in New York, the Bergmann’s moved to Ohio (at the urging of the NY Refugee Agency) in fall of 1940 but relocated to Pittsburgh due to better job prospects in 1941. Martha Bergmann’s cancer returned and she passed away in summer 1945. Hertha married John S. Caylor, professor of psychology, and they had 2 children (early 1950s). Robert Bergmann was remarried to Erna (Bergmann – Martha’s sister?) by 1952. Until 1958 Robert Bergmann held a variety of positions in the steel industry before turning to his life-long hobby and passion of books. Hereafter he worked for the book department of Kaufmann’s department store before helping to launch the new Book Center of the University of Pittsburgh in 1959/1960. The collection does not include information regarding the date of his death.


3.5 Linear Feet


Personal documents of Robert, Martha and Hertha Bergmann including diary of WWI, immigration papers, examples of currency from Austria, Hungary, Germany, Photographs, Correspondence

Other Finding Aid

See inventory list


Collection is available on 7 reels of microfilm (MF 878).

  1. Reel 1: 1/1-2/8
  2. Reel 2: 2/9-3/4
  3. Reel 3: 3/5-3/10
  4. Reel 4: 4/1-4/7
  5. Reel 5: 5/1-5/8
  6. Reel 6: 6/1-6/7
  7. Reel 7: 7/1-7/9

Separated Material

Photographs have been removed to the LBI Photograph Collection.

Guide to the Bergmann Family Collection, 1901-1981 AR 6386 / MF 878
Processed by LBI Staff
© 2009
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Revision Statements

  • 2010-05-17 : encoding of linking to digital objects from finding aid was changed from <extref> to <dao> through dao_conv.xsl

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States