Skip to main content

Leonie R. Field Collection

Identifier: AR 25647

Scope and Content Note

The Leonie R. Field Collection focuses on documentation of the restitution and pension Leonie Field received from the German government, but also contains some official documents and biographical information on her life. Most of the collection consists of correspondence between Leonie Field and German agencies regarding the restitution and pension funds.

The first folder of the collection holds an article about Leonie Field, published in 2002, when she was the longest-tenured employee at Macy's. It also holds her eulogy. The following folder contains vital records and certificates pertaining to emigration, including her marriage certificate and naturalization certificates for herself and Max Field. Other documents include her German and American passports, a death certificate for Max Field, and a few letters related to the loan Leonie Field took out to support her family members' emigration from Germany.

The remainder of the collection focuses on restitution from Germany as well as payments of German social security and pension funds. Folders 3 and 4 consist of original correspondence from 1956 to 1978 concerning post-World War II restitution from the German government to Leonie Field (née Kahn) and her siblings, Edith Nossen (née Kahn) and Henry Kahn. This correspondence includes correspondence with the United Restitution Organization, German government agencies and the Berliner Disconto Bank, and pertains to restitution for the heirs of Sophie Kahn. Folders 5 through 7 contain correspondence and related forms from 1962 to 2003 between Leonie Field, financial institutions, German government agencies, the New York City-based agent H. Sondheim, and various other parties in Germany and elsewhere concerning German pension and social security claims.


  • 1938-2012
  • Majority of material found within 1956-1980


Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English.

Access Restrictions

Bona fide patrons need to obtain special permission from the LBI to review the collection, which is reserved for scholarly research pertaining to the Holocaust and its aftermath. See further details in the donor's deed of gift.

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Part of the collection has been made available online and is accessible on-site only at the Center for Jewish History.

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

Leonie Ruth Kahn (called Lee) was born in Halberstadt, Germany on December 10, 1913, the daughter of the salesman Jakob Kahn and his wife Sophie (née Senior).

Leonie left Germany during World War II after taking out loans to secure the visas of her sister Edith, Edith's first husband, and of her brother Henri Kahn and his wife Charlotte. Her sister Edith escaped to Shanghai, China, where her husband died; Edith eventually came to the United States. Henri and Charlotte Kahn fled to Cuba via Switzerland. Leonie travelled by boat from Amsterdam to New York City, arriving in New York with only nine dollars in 1939 shortly before the outbreak of World War II.

In order to pay back the loans she had incurred in helping her family emigrate, Leonie first worked as a maid in Brooklyn, then at a bakery in Harlem in Manhattan. In 1941, during her lunch break from work, she married Max Lichtenfeld, whom she had first met in Germany. They lived in the Washington Heights neighborhood in uptown Manhattan. In 1944 Leonie became a naturalized American citizen, taking the surname Field.

On February 27, 1946 Leonie began working at Macy's department store in Herald Square, where she would work for fifty-eight years. For forty years of those years she worked in the domestics and bedding departments, before being moved to the men's department where she worked for eight years before her retirement in 2004.

Leonie Field died on April 3, 2012.


0.25 Linear Feet


This collection centers on the restitution claims of Leonie R. Field and her siblings, as well as on payments made to her by the German government. A smaller amount of papers pertains to her immigration, with biographical information also present. The collection includes copious correspondence and financial records along with official documents and a small amount of official and financial correspondence related to immigration.


The collection is arranged alphabetically in one series.

Processing Information

Folders were rearranged during processing of the archival collection, with large folders further subdivided by date.

Guide to the Papers of Leonie R. Field 1938-2012 AR 25647
Processed by Dianne Ritchey
© 2015
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from LeonieRField.xml

Revision Statements

  • February 2016:: 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