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Hedwig Strauss Collection

Identifier: AR 25350

Scope and Content Note

This collection documents part of the life of Hedwig Strauss. The papers of this collection are largely comprised of her letters and further writings to her son Walter and correspondence with and between several family members. The bulk of these papers, mainly written in old German handwriting, together with undated transcripts is held in Series I. Further documents relating to Hedwig Strauss's life in Germany and her attempt to immigrate to the United States are contained in Series II. Included are Walter Strauss's correspondence concerning his mother's fate as well as private and official documents on him.


  • Creation: 1920-2006


Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

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

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 "Reserve" 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

Hedwig Strauss was born as a daughter of the merchant Louis Schoenenberg and his wife Caecilie, née Alsberg, in Hamm in 1880. She attended public and high school for girls in her hometown and later spent one year in Hanover in order to study at the elite girls boarding school (Hoehere Toechterschule) directed by Mrs. Leverson. In 1901 she married the banker David Strauss and they had three children: Richard, Walter and Herbert. After the Nazis came to power, Richard and Herbert immigrated to Tel Aviv while Walter moved to New York. In 1935 Hedwig Strauss's husband died. After a visit to Tel Aviv in 1938 she wanted to join her two sons, but she did not obtain permission to immigrate to Palestine. Later she attempted to immigrate to the United States and finally got the chance to enter via Cuba, but a new Nazi legal measure placed a ban on Jewish emigration and prevented her from escaping. Later Hedwig Strauss was deported to Terezín where she perished.


0.25 Linear Feet


This collection holds materials relating to the life of Hedwig Strauss, a Jewish woman who perished during the Shoah. Although it is primarily composed of letters and postcards to her son Walter dealing with her life in Germany between 1939 to 1941 and her attempts to escape, it also includes further correspondence with and between family members as well as personal and official documents on Hedwig Strauss and her son Walter.


The collection is comprised of two series arranged in the following manner:

  1. Series I: Correspondence, 1920-2006
  2. Series II: Family documents, 1941-2000s

Other Finding Aid

A previous 7-page finding aid is existent.

Separated Material

Audiocassettes and CDs including Hedwig Strauss's letters read by Gerda Bino as well as digital files of transcripts of these letters have been removed to the Audiovisual Collection.

Processing Information

The collection was processed in 2011 in preparation of the EAD finding aid, with the creation of series and addition of description. In that regard the folders were arranged topically.

The bulk of the Hedwig Strauss Collection was preserved by Walter Strauss's wife and widow Fran Strauss, née Bernado. Paul, one of her nephews forwarded copies of the papers to Hedwig Strauss's niece Gerda Bino, née Schoenenberg, who probably transcribed the letters and postcards. Furthermore the correspondence was read aloud by her and recorded on audiocassettes and CDs.

After Gerda Bino's death in April 2007 several documents, found subsequent to Hedwig's letters. were added to the papers as well as some documents left by Hedwig Strauss's daughter-in-law Senta Strauss, née Mey(/i)er.

Guide to the Papers of Hedwig Strauss (1880-1942?) 1920-2006 AR 25350
Processed by Christian Zech
© 2011
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from HedwigStrauss.xml

Revision Statements

  • January 18, 2012 : 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