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Max Plaut Collection

Identifier: AR 7094

Scope and Content Note

The Max Plaut Collection is comprised primarily of the correspondence between Max Plaut and Jewish Holocaust survivors living in Israel or the U.S. It contains personal and official letters, postcards and notes referring to Max Plaut's former position as the head of the Jewish Community in Hamburg and of the Bezirksstelle Nordwestdeutschland of the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland through which he essentially knew a lot of Jews personally or oversaw lists to various deportation camps. The majority of letters are therefore requests for information on missing family members, their whereabouts and Plaut's responses and offers to file requests with the Red Cross for the countries requested. A small amount of deportation and membership lists of the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland will be found together with court files regarding restitution claims in the city of Hamburg. In addition the collection holds an incomplete summary of Max Plaut and his parents Else and Raphael Plaut as well as a concise biography of Felix Aber, head of the Religionsschule der Israelitischen Gemeinde in Bremen.


  • 1944-after 1973
  • Majority of material found within 1944-1950


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English and Hebrew.

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

Dr. Max Plaut was born on October 17th 1901 as the oldest of 5 siblings in Sohrau in Upper Silesia (now Żory, Poland) to Raphael and Else Plaut.

After finishing high school in Marburg Max Plaut moved to live with his parents in Hamburg, where he commenced an education and apprenticeship at M.M. Warburg and Co. Banking House. In order to pursue further studies he temporarily left the company to write his doctorate in law, which he finished in 1928. He resumed his job at Warburg and Co. before he finally resigned in 1930. Apart from his academic profession Plaut was involved in different organizational fields of the Jewish Community in Hamburg until the year 1942. Starting as a volunteer in 1930 he was elected secretary to the German-Israelite Community in 1933. After the forced centralization of the different Jewish Communities to the Jüdischen Religionsverband Hamburg e.V. he practically oversaw the whole Jewish Community of the city of Hamburg. In 1942 the Gestapo merged the Jewish Communities of northern Germany into the Bezirksstelle Nordwestdeutschland of the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland and appointed Plaut to be in charge. In 1944 Plaut was incarcerated in northern Bavaria together with his mother and was only allowed to leave for Palestine due to an exchange of German Templers living in Palestine.

In 1950 Plaut moved back to Germany. He was elected vice president of the Jewish Community in Bremen where he lived until 1965 before he moved back to Hamburg. Max Plaut died in Hamburg in 1974.


0.5 Linear Feet


This collection documents the work of the lawyer and head of the greater Jewish Community in Hamburg, Max Plaut, in his role as a family researcher in Israel between the years 1944 to 1950. It contains to a large extent the correspondence between Plaut and German Jews from Hamburg who were looking for family and friends who had gone missing during the Holocaust. The collection material covers list of Jews held in Theresienstadt, Lodz, Auschwitz and elsewhere. Also included is a small written documentation of the Plaut family as well as some files on restitution claims in the city of Hamburg.


The collection is divided into two series:

Related Material

There is a written transcript of an interview with Max Plaut regarding his activities as the last chair of the greater Jewish community in Hamburg which can be found as part of the LBI Memoir Collection (ME 743). In addition the LBI Library has a book Plaut edited for the 60th birthday of Carl Katz (BM 318 B74 F4).

Processing Information

Collection is arranged in original order.

Guide to the Papers of Max Plaut (1901-1974) 1944-after 1973 AR 7094
Processed by Momme Schwarz
© 2011
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from MaxPlaut.xml

Revision Statements

  • January 15, 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