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Marion Rosenthal Biel Collection

Identifier: AR 25703

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the papers of Marion Rosenthal Biel and her husband Frederick (Fritz) Biel, as well as including some papers of other members of the Rosenthal and Biel families. Much of the collection centers on Marion and Frederick's lives during the 1940s, with papers that provide details of Marion's life as an immigrant in England, Wales, and New York and Frederick's work as a military interpreter during World War II in Germany. Photographs of Marion as a child and papers that pertain to other family members, especially their parents, provide more material on their backgrounds. The collection includes diaries, military documentation, photographs and a photo album, a small amount of correspondence, family members' official documents, and various other papers.

Prominent in this collection are papers that focus on Marion and Frederick Biel's lives during the 1940s. In Series I, which holds the papers of the Rosenthal family, will be found two diaries by Marion with daily entries that describe details of her life in England and Wales, her journey to New York, and her first months in New York. Series I additionally holds some of her official documents and an album of her childhood photos, including one photo from 1939 that shows Marion going to high school in Bedford, England. Series II, which holds the papers of the Biel family, contains five folders that pertain to Frederick Biel's work as part of a military intelligence interpreters team in the U.S. Army. These papers include documents relating to his rank, promotion, induction, and separation from the army. Notable are the reports on German locations he wrote as head of his team, with information about the work of denazification, threats faced by Allied forces, the attitude of the German populace toward the American soldiers, and many other details.

Papers of other family members, including Marion's parents and Frederick Biel's mother and brother, will also be found in Series I and II. Three folders in Series I contain the papers of Carl and Elly Rosenthal, Marion's parents. Their papers include family correspondence, educational papers of Carl Rosenthal, and official documents. Other family members' papers in this series include those of Emil and Sara Rosenthal, Marion's paternal grandparents, and of Karl Rosenthal. Series II contains some letters sent by Frederick to his parents and grandmother as well as papers on Jacques Brichta, his maternal grandfather. Drawings and sketches in Series II were made by Hans and Frederick Biel. Among the papers of Series III is a large folder of family photographs, nearly all of which are unidentified.


  • 1845-1975 ; 2007-2016
  • Majority of material found within 1924-1946


Language of Materials

The collection is in English, German, and French.

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

Marion Steffi Rosenthal was born on January 18, 1925 in the Schöneberg district of Berlin to the businessman Carl (also spelled Karl) Rosenthal and his wife Elly (née Schindler). Marion had an elder sister, Lilli. As a girl Marion attended the "Lesslerschule" (Private Waldschule Grunewald).

By 1939 Marion had arrived in England via Kindertransport. She studied at a high school in Bedford, England. In September 1942 she found work in a laboratory at Leys School, in Cambridge, while still taking exams. The following November she accepted a new position at a laboratory in Cardiff, Wales; in May 1944 this laboratory was moved to Cadoxton, Wales. In February 1945 she sailed to Canada, then traveled to New York where she joined her sister Lilli and her family.

Frederick (called Fritz) Biel was born in Brno, Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) on January 15, 1909 to Ludwig Biel and his wife Paula (née Brichta). He grew up in Vienna, Austria, with his brother Hans, and attended a business college there. He first found a position as a clerk in Maisons-Alfort, France from September 1928 until January 1933. In February 1933 he began working as a clerk and later, office manager and sales manager at several businesses in Paris. He traveled regularly for business to England, Belgium, and Switzerland. By 1939 he had become a member of a French military division for foreigners, which may have been connected with the British Expeditionary Forces in Nantes, France. At this time he had also been married to his first wife, who later died.

In 1941 he emigrated to New York, where by June 1941 he was president of the Columbia Bristle Corporation in New York City. On October 26, 1942, he was inducted into the United States Army. Although he worked first as a clerk for the army, by the end of January 1944 he had completed the military intelligence training course at Camp Ritchie, Maryland. He was sent overseas in September 1944, when he was assigned to the Military Intelligence Interpreters (MII) team 457 A, attached to the headquarters of the XII Corps; by November he had been moved to team 457 G, part of the XIII Corps, where he became the ranking non-commissioned officer of his team. On March 19, 1945 he was promoted to Second Lieutenant. His team conducted interviews of Germans and wrote reports assessing conditions and threats to Allied forces at various locations in Germany.

In 1947 Marion Rosenthal married Frederick Biel. They had a daughter, Barbara.


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The Marion Rosenthal Biel Collection holds papers of Marion Rosenthal Biel, her husband Frederick (Fritz) Biel, and of some of their family members. Prominent in the collection are documentation of Marion's early life in Germany and of her life during the early 1940s in England, Wales, and New York, as well as Frederick's time as an interpreter in the United States Army during World War II. The collection includes diaries, military documentation, photographs and a photo album, a small amount of correspondence, family members' official documents, and various other papers.

Separated Material

Duplicate photocopies of documents in the collection were removed during the processing of the collection, as was an unmarked 2016 calendar from folder 2/9.

Processing Information

Little original order was observed in the collection, aside from folder 2/1, which includes an inventory of the folder's contents. During processing the collection's materials were arranged into series based on the branch of the family, with materials that pertained to the family as a whole or which could not be identified placed in Series III.

Guide to the Papers of Marion Rosenthal Biel 1845-1975, 2007-2016 AR 25703
Processed by Dianne Ritchey
© 2019
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from Marion_Rosenthal_Biel.xml

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States