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Elsa Oestreicher Collection

Identifier: AR 328 / MF 1085

Scope and Content Note

Elsa Oestreicher, the wife of a physician, had a successful career of her own as a cooking instructor and author of cookbooks. Series II and III of the collection comprise her notes on Theresienstadt, written in camp from 1942 to 1945, as well as a collection of poems from the same time. Moreover, the collection contains concentration-camp insignia, such as yellow stars, camp money, ration cards, a library card, working papers etc.

Further items of the collection are certificates related to her profession, culinary arts material, correspondence with relatives and former students and family papers as well as memoirs written by Elsa Oestreicher, which provide detailed genealogical information on her ancestors.


  • 1878-1963
  • Majority of material found within 1942-1945


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.

Collection is microfilmed (MF 1085).

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

Elsa Herz was born in Berlin on November 6, 1878, as the first child of Salomon Herz and Anna Margarete Alexander. In 1898 she married the physician Dr. Jacques Oestreicher and in 1899 their daughter Anni Henriette Oestreicher, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1935, was born.

During World War I Elsa Oestreicher worked as a Hilfsschwester (assistant nurse) for the Red Cross for more than 4 years and received two medals, a Zivilverdienstkreuz and the Rote Kreuzmedaille, for her efforts. After World War I she worked as a cooking instructor for about five years at the Schule der Hausfrauen (Am Karlsbad 13, Berlin) and wrote a number of cookbooks. Due to growing anti-Semitism she had to give up her position there and she opened a private cooking school which operated successfully until Elsa was at first forbidden to instruct Christian students and later on, to teach Jewish students as well.

After that, Elsa Oestreicher worked in a Jewish hospital, the Siechenheim der Reichsvereinigung in Gross-Lichterfelde and when it was dissolved, in the kitchen of the Durchgangslager (transit camp), Grosse Hamburgerstrasse, Berlin. Three months after her husband’s death in August 1942, she was deported to Theresienstadt on November 4, 1942.

In Theresienstadt Elsa Oestreicher worked as a cook, a cooking instructor and as head of the soup-kitchen. After the liberation of Theresienstadt she had to stay at the Displaced Persons Center Deggendorf until she immigrated via Sweden to the United States in 1946, where she died in New York in 1963.


1 Linear Feet


Elsa Oestreicher, née Herz, born in Berlin in 1878 and married to the physician D. Jacques Oestreicher, was a successful cooking instructor and author of cookbooks. In 1942 she was deported to Theresienstadt where she also worked as a cook, cooking instructor and as head of the soup-kitchen until her liberation in 1945. The collection contains Elsa Oestreicher’s notes on Theresienstadt, concentration-camp insignia, correspondence, poems and memoirs by her as well as official documents such as certificates related to her profession.


Collection is available on 1 reel of microfilm (MF 1085).

Separated Material

Photographs were removed to the Photograph Collection.

Processing Information

The original order has been slightly changed; folders were moved to match the thematic order of the collection.

Guide to the Papers of Elsa Oestreicher 1878-1957 AR 328 / MF 1085
Processed by Sophia Nacke
© 2010
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from ElsaOestreicher.xml

Revision Statements

  • September 2011:: 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