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Ernst Collin Collection

Identifier: AR 2916

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains writings, mostly poems, of Ernst Collin, as well as correspondence from numerous prominent figures in the art and intellectual world of pre-WWII Germany.

Folder 1 contains a biographical essay written by Collin's wife, Margarete, in which she recounts his early love affairs, with both men and women. The writings are mostly poems and other short manuscripts and notes.

The correspondence and other materials in folder 2 include letters from Max Brod, F. Dornseiff, Hirsch, Erich Kahler, G. Karpeles, and Hans Purrmann and material about Rudolf Levy and Martha Kassel. There is also a poem written by Josef Andreas Welten of Prague, a child who was killed at Auschwitz. Folder 3 contains correspondence to his wife, Margarete Weisgerber-Collin, from Julius Bab, Heinz Braune, Ernst Feder, Erich Kahler, Erich Lichtenstein, Else Lasker-Schueler, and a eulogy for Albert Weisgerber.


  • Creation: 1899-1966


Language of Materials

This collection is in German.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

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

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

Ernst Heinrich Schoenfeld was born in Nordhausen on March 10, 1882 to Fritz Schoenfeld and Adele nee Bon. His father died when he was 3 years old and his mother remarried Adolf Collin. Ernst grew up in Berlin and attended a private boys school. His older brother, Paul, to whom he was very close, died of diphtheria when Ernst was 13. In high school Ernst fell in love with one of his fellow (male) students and wrote of this in his diary and a series of poems. Some of these poems were published when he was 19 years old by the Axel Juncker publishing house under the title Lieder eines Knaben [ Songs of a boy ] and were well received. He began his university studies in Berlin, then moved to Munich where he quickly became attached to a circle of artists, writers, and other intellectuals. Here he became close friends with the painters Rudolf Levy and Hans Purrmann; he had become close to Julius Bab already in Berlin. He worked as a language teacher in London and Turkey, but returned to Germany to enlist at the start of WWI. He survived the war and married the widow of the painter Albert Weisgerber. He returned to Berlin and worked as a tutor and then as an archivist for the company Dreyfus & Co., until its Aryanization. He moved to Great Britain in the late 1930s and died there on March 19, 1953.


0.25 Linear Feet


The collection contains writings, mostly poems, of Ernst Collin, as well as correspondence from numerous prominent figures in the art and intellectual world of pre-WWII Germany.

Other Finding Aid

The original 3-page German-language inventory is in folder 1.

Related Material

See also his diary in the memoir collection Tagebuch von Ernst Collin-Schoenfeld and his book Lieder eines Knaben held by the library.


Photographs removed to Photograph Collection

Guide to the Ernst Collin Collection, 1899-1966  AR 2916
Processed by Ilse Turnheim and Julie Dawson
© 2011
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • March 21, 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