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Marion and Max Wahl Collection

Identifier: AR 6303

Scope and Content Note

This collection is primarily composed of the correspondence of the Wahl family from the 1930s-1950s.

The correspondence during the 1930s and early 1940s reflects the increasingly dire situation of parents Ernst and Bertha who had remained in Barmen, near Wuppertal. The correspondence between the brothers Max and Karl (Charles) during the 1940s contains various descriptions of the hardships of exile and refugee status, etc. Perhaps the most interesting letters are those written by the youngest brother, John, from 1945-1947 in which he reports his impressions of war-torn Germany. John visits Theresienstadt as early as 1945 looking for his parents and other friends and family, he describes at length his experiences there as well as the day-to-day realities and hardships in several bombed out towns and cities, including his hometown of Wuppertal-Barmen and the surrounding area. He often provides street by street description of the destruction and also relates the general air of deprivation during the initial post-war years.

Folder 13 contains a report by Max-Otto of a trip to Germany made in 1952 as well as several photographs of Else Falk (the aunt of Karl, Max, and John) and other Falk and Wahl family members, including one with Konrad Adenauer.


  • 1901-1989
  • Majority of material found within 1926-1963

Language of Materials

This 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.

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

Ephraim Rothschild was born in 1808 and married twice but left no children. The Wahl family were extended relatives, some geneological information can be gleaned from his memoirs, see ME 539 (link below). Ernst and Bertha Wahl had three sons, Karl-Hermann (Charles), Max-Otto, and John. Karl was in Paris from 1933-1939, there he apparently married Helene and they eventually emigrated to the United States. Max-Otto's route was more arduous, taking him to Madrid from 1934-1940, then Tangier, Morocco from 1940-1943. By the end of 1943 he had arrived in New York City together with his wife, Marion. They eventually settled in California. It is not clear when John emigrated to the United States but he possibly accompanied Karl and at some point in time during the war, he enlisted in or was drafted for the armed forces. His first letters date from 1945 when he was stationed in Germany. John remained in Germany working for the War Crimes Investigating Team for several years after the war, married a woman named Gitta and adopted her daughter. They also eventually relocated to California. Ernst and Bertha were deported to Theresienstadt where they perished. Else Falk, about whom there is information in Folder 13, was the aunt of Karl, Max, and John, and an important personality in pre-war Cologne. Her husband, Bernard, was a city representative. Please see the Wahl Family Collection, AR 3373, for additional information on the history of the Wahl family.


0.25 Linear Feet (13 folders)


This collection is primarily composed of the correspondence of the Wahl family from the 1930s-1950s.

Related Material

See also Ephraim Rothschild's memoirs ME 539, Meine Lebensgeschichte

See also AR 3373, Wahl Family Collection

Separated Material

Videotape of Max Wahl interview

Guide to the Marion and Max Wahl Collection, 1901-1989  AR 6303
Processed by Julie Dawson
© 2011
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • April 17, 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