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Leo Wolff Collection

Identifier: AR 4059

Scope and Content Note

The Leo Wolff Collection holds material on Leo Wolff and the organizations he was engaged in. The material includes biographical articles, family history articles, newspaper issues and clippings, minutes, correspondence, newsletters, notes, and by-laws. Particularly prominent in this collection is material on his work for Jewish communities in Germany and his opposition to Zionism.

Series I contains personal documents of Leo Wolff. There are some biographical articles as well as writings on his family history including his wife’s genealogy, an article called "Von den deutschen Juden" written by Leo Wolff, and other material such as an engagement announcement of his son Ulrich, newspaper issues and clippings, and an invitation to a commemoration of Ludwig Geiger.

Series II holds the material on the Jewish organizations and communities, in which Leo Wolff was active, including the Anti-Zionist Committee, the Jewish Community of Berlin, the National Federation (Reichsbund) of Jewish Front-Line Soldiers, etc. The Anti-Zionist Committee saw its duty in preventing the dissemination of Zionist ideas. The Reichsbund on the other hand tried to insist on accepting Jews as regular citizens, which is clearly documented in a letter addressed to Adolf Hitler.


  • Creation: 1895-1939
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1930s


Language of Materials

The 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<extptr actuate="onload" altrender="Portrait of Leo Wolff (1870-1958)" href="" linktype="simple" show="embed" title="Portrait of Leo Wolff (1870-1958)"/>

Leo Wolff was born on July 27, 1870 in Berlin, the son of Salomon and Johanna Wolf née Wolfsohn. He and his wife Else née Cohen had three children. His sister Gertrud was married to Dr. Felix Steinitz. Leo grew up in Berlin. He went to Law School at the University of Berlin and started working as a judge in 1897. In 1904 he married Else Cohn, daughter of Benno and Sophie Cohn née Baumann. One year later he was appointed district judge of Bochum. His wife Else and his newborn son Ulrich remained in Berlin until 1907 when they moved to Bochum as well. After spending a year in Bochum as a family, the second son Gerhart was born. In December 1910 Leo Wolff was transferred to Amtsgericht Berlin and the family moved back. On December 1st, 1933 he was dismissed from his duties as a judge due to the enabling act.

In addition to his judiciary work, Wolff was engaged in many administrative occupations concerning Jewish communities. He was a member of the board of directors, and later president of the Jewish Community in Berlin and he was one of the founders and president of the Prussian National Association of Jewish Communities (Preussischer Landesverband juedischer Gemeinden). Leo was also active in the Anti-Zionist Committee. He supported the argument that Zionism was one of the triggers for growing anti-Semitism.

Leo Wolff managed to leave Germany before the war broke out and died on November 8th, 1958 in London.


0.5 Linear Feet


The Leo Wolff Collection consists of personal documents of Leo Wolff and of papers pertaining to the organizations and communities in which he was engaged. Prominent topics are his work for Jewish communities in Germany and the negative influence of Zionism. The documents include biographical articles, family history articles, newspaper issues and clippings, minutes, correspondence, newsletters, notes, and by-laws.

Other Finding Aid

There are two old inventories from the 1960s.

Separated Material

A photo album has been removed to the Photo Collection.

Processing Information

The collection has been partly rearranged. Folder number and order has been changed, as did the number of series. The former Series II, III, and IV have been put in one series called "Organizations and Communities". The former Varia Series has been distributed among the Personal Document Series (Series I) and Series II (Organizations and Communities).

Guide to the Papers of Leo Wolff (1870-1958) 1895-1939 AR 4059
Processed by Meike Bingemann
© 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from LeoWolff.xml

Revision Statements

  • February 14, 2013 : 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