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Gerard Caspary Collection

Identifier: AR 25577

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains mainly family correspondence along with transcriptions and translations into English by Gerard Caspary. The bulk of the correspondence (1940-1943) consists of about 150 letters between Sophie Caspary in Paris and her mother Martha Ehrlich (née Landmann, formerly Krautheimer) and sister Lotte Israelski in Sweden. Also included are letters between Martha and her grandson Gerard Caspary and Grete Westheimer, Gerard’s foster mother after the deportation of his parents. Some letters are only preserved as photocopies. A typewritten manuscript in box 2 titled “From the edge of the Holocaust: Letters from my mother and grandmother 1940-1943” presents Gerard Caspary’s translation of this correspondence into English accompanied by comments and his own memories. Included in the collection are also documents related to Caspary’s family, such as photocopies of deportation papers, inheritance matters, notes, and the correspondence of Gerard Caspary with archival institutions and relatives regarding family history. Three family trees (of the Landmann and Hahn families) can also be found in the collection as well as a book recalling the Landmann family history, written in 1956 for the golden anniversary of Martha’s brother Siegfried Landmann. The oldest document of the collection is a little book titled “Wanderbuch” belonging to the journeyman Lazarus Landmann, clothier and grandfather of Martha Ehrlich, née Landmann from the 1830s. The folders of photographs include pictures of Gerard’s family members (bulk 1930-1945) including a written photo postcard, a photograph of Richard Krautheimer mounted on a plastic board, and numerous photos of Gerard in various times from childhood until old age.


  • Creation: 1830s-2006
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1930-1960


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English, and French.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers.

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

Biographical Note<extptr actuate="onload" altrender="Portrait of Gerard Caspary (1929-2008)" href="" show="embed" title="Portrait of Gerard Caspary (1929-2008)"/>

Gerard (name variants Gert, Gérard, Gerry) Ernest Caspary was born January 10, 1929 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. His mother was Sophie née Krautheimer and his father was Ernst Caspary, the manager of a department store. The family emigrated to Bellevue (Sèvres) near Paris after the boycott of Jewish businesses on April 1, 1933. All attempts of the family to leave France after the occupation by Nazi Germany failed. Gerard’s parents were deported and murdered in Auschwitz in 1942. Gerard himself survived with another German-Jewish couple, the Westheimers. He immigrated to the USA in 1946 to join his uncle Richard Krautheimer, a renowned art historian. Gerard received his Bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and his Master’s (1952) and Ph.D. (1962) in history from Harvard University. From 1969 until his retirement in 2004, he taught medieval history at the University of California at Berkeley. Gerard Caspary died April 6, 2008.


0.75 Linear Feet (2 boxes)


The personal papers of the professor for medieval history Gerard E. Caspary consist mainly of a typescript “From the edge of the Holocaust: Letters from my mother and grandmother 1940-1943”, composed by Caspary between 2005-2006 and the original letters on which it is based. Also included are photographs and additional family research documents.


The collection is arranged by document type.

Related Material

Caspary’s professional papers are held at University of California, Berkeley, The Bancroft Library “Gerard E. Caspary papers, 1933-2005”.

Separated Material

A CD-ROM titled “Letters etc. Gerry Caspary” was removed to the LBI Archives’ audio-visual collection. This item contains a digital version of “From the edge of the Holocaust,” a transcription of the letters in German, and correspondence with Ulla Schneider (Caspary’s cousin), all in 3 PDFs.

Processing Information

Adhesive notes were photocopied onto acid-free paper, and the originals were discarded. Some photographs were rehoused in acid-free paper and envelopes. Duplicates of photographs and photocopies were discarded. Oversized materials were put in an oversize folder.

Guide to the Gerard Caspary Collection 1830s-2006 (bulk 1930-1960) AR 25577
Processed by Martha Stellmacher
© 2014
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Processing made possible by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany and the Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) Europe.

Revision Statements

  • September 2015:: 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