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Herbert Strauss Collection

 Collection
Identifier: AR 25252

Scope and Content Note

The Herbert Strauss Collection documents the life and professional activities of Herbert Strauss, writer, historian, and teacher. The collection includes correspondence, court procedures, documents, lists, manuscripts and lectures, notes, photographs, printed materials, and a small amount of teaching materials.

Materials constituting the collection reflect various aspects of Herbert Strauss personal and professional life, teaching, and research and writings in the fields of German-Jewish history and relations, Anti-Semitism, and assimilation.

The collection includes both, personal and professional materials related to Herbert Strauss, with personal being by far the smallest.

In addition to personal materials of Herbert Strauss, there is a small amount of materials dealing with other members of the Strauss family, such as his wife, Lotte Strauss, his father, Benno Strauss, and others.

The bulk of the personal materials deal with Herbert Strauss’ experience in Germany in the late 1930s and early 1940s and his astonishing escape to Switzerland and his experience as a refugee. These materials consist of documents, reports (written by Strauss) to Swiss police and Intelligence Service, and a very extensive interview with Herbert and Lotte Strauss, on occasion of the release of the movie, We Were German Jews.

A much larger body of materials document Herbert Strauss’ professional activities as a historian, writer, and academician. These materials consist of correspondence, court procedures, documents, lists, manuscripts and lectures, printed materials, some teaching materials, and materials related to a number of academic institutions that Dr.Strauss was closely affiliated with, namely Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums, City College, and Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung.

The bulk of materials dealing with Strauss professional activities consists of writings by Herbert Strauss as well as others. Topics covered by these writings include Anti-Semitism, immigration, German Jewry, Jewish intellectuals, assimilation and acculturation, and Holocaust. Additionally, there are numerous drafts and notes for Herbert Strauss’ autobiography, which constitute about half of all the writings of Herbert Strauss.

Furthermore, there are lectures of Herbert Strauss, written during his affiliation with City College and Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung, which he helped to establish in 1980.

Additionally, there is professional correspondence with academic institutions, Jewish organization such as American Federation of Jews from Central Europe, individuals, and publishers and magazines. In addition to Herbert Strauss’ correspondence there is also correspondence by Ernst Grumach, generated during his teaching at Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums.

Other correspondence includes letters regarding various academic projects at City College and Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung that Dr. Strauss was involved with.

There are also materials dealing with the court case against the auction house Sotheby’s, which took place in 1984, after it became known that the prestigious company was auctioning books and manuscripts that formerly belonged to the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums.

There is also a small amount of materials dealing with Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung which consists of materials pertaining to research projects, programs, and membership information

Dates

  • 1910s-2007
  • Majority of material found within 1939-1993

Language of Materials

This collection is in German and English, with some Hebrew, French and Russian.

Access Information

Part of the collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

Access Restrictions

Some restrictions apply. See LBI Archivist for more information.

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

email: lbaeck@lbi.cjh.org

Biographical Note

Herbert Strauss, historian, academician, and teacher was born on June 1, 1918 in Würzburg, Germany. He was the son of a machine-tool salesman, Benno Strauss and Magdalena Strauss, née Hinterneder. His ather was Jewish and his mother Catholic but the family followed his father’s religious affiliation.

After his initial education, Herbert Strauss got enrolled at Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin in 1938. There he studied German history and theology. Between 1940 and 1942 he served as an auxiliary rabbi at the Jüdische Gemeinde zu Berlin.

In 1942 his studies at the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums came to an end when the school was closed down by German authorities. He went underground later that year and was in hiding until June 1943, when he and his future wife, Lotte, née Schloss escaped to neighboring Switzerland. Upon reaching Switzerland, Herbert Strauss was interned in refugee camps before being released.

In late 1943 Herbert Strauss begun his studies at the Berne University, concentrating on European History. He received his doctoral degree in 1946. Later that year he and his wife emigrated to the United States.

In 1948 Dr. Strauss begun his life-long association with the City College at the City University of New York, where he eventually became a full Professor at the Department of History.

In New York, Herbert Strauss was very “...active in German-Jewish communal affairs and Jewish communal services”. He was a member of a number of charitable and communal Jewish organizations, most notably the American Federation of Jews from Central Europe, of which he was an Executive Director. He was also the founding directory of the Research Foundation for Jewish Immigration.

In 1980, Herbert Strauss helped to found, and became the Director of the Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung at the Technische Universität, Berlin. The Center was dedicated to the study of Anti-Semitism, research on the “German-Jewish émigrés, and the intellectual migrants during the Nazi period”.

Dr. Strauss was a prolific writer and wrote on a variety of topics such as acculturation and assimilation, ethnicity, German-Jewish relations and history, and immigration. Additionally, he was a regular contributor to a number of professional journals and magazines, where he published his articles and reviews. He was also an editor, translator, and a member of academic panels.

Dr. Herbert Strauss died in the United States on March 11, 2005.

Extent

10.5 Linear Feet

Abstract

The Herbert Strauss Collection documents the life and professional activities of Herbert Strauss, writer, historian, and teacher. The collection includes correspondence, court procedures, documents, lists, manuscripts and lectures, notes, photographs, printed materials, and a small amount of teaching materials. Materials constituting the collection reflect various aspects of Herbert Strauss’ personal life, teaching, research and writings in the fields of German-Jewish history and relations, Anti-Semitism, and assimilation. The collection includes both, personal and professional materials related to Herbert Strauss, with personal being by far the smaller.

Related Material

Lotte Strauss Collection, Leo Baeck Institute.

Separated Material

Some photographs have been removed to the LBI Photo Collection. Two 16 mm film reels have been removed to the LBI A/V Collection. Books have been removed to the LBI Library.
Title
Guide to the Herbert A. Strauss Collection (1918-2005) 1910s-2007 AR 25252
Status
In Progress
Author
Processed by Yakov Sklar
Date
© 2008
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Sponsor
as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation

Revision Statements

  • February 05, 2013 : Links to digital objects added in Container List.
  • February 6, 2015: Access restrictions added to some folders due to content.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

Contact:
15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States