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Susi Friedmann Kirsch Family Collection

Identifier: AR 6338

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains materials from the 1910s-2000s related mostly to the Susi Friedmann-Kirsch’s emigration from Europe, including passports, birth certificates, baptismal certificates, writings, correspondence, photographs, diaries, clippings, and other vital documents used during the family’s flight from Europe. For the majority of the papers, Friedmann-Kirsch attached notes describing the materials and providing explanations and context on how the documents related to her family. In addition to documenting her emigration, there are some materials about life in Vienna in the early 20th century; this material consists of poetry by Arthur Schnitzler and Richard Beer-Hofmann, a typescript of a play by Otto Wilhelm Fraenkl performed in Vienna, materials related to her and her grandparents' homes in Vienna, and correspondence with friends in Vienna, including their former neighbor in Austria, Gerty Perger, and their former maid, Poldi.

Friedmann-Kirsch also extensively researched her family’s history back to the 18th century up until the 2000s; materials related to her genealogy work are made up of family interviews, photographs, correspondence with family members and other researchers , biographies and note on family members, family trees, baby books, and articles and notes on Jewish communities in Austria, Czech Republic, and Germany. Family members prominently documented in the collection include her brother Gerhard (Gad) Kirsch, her parents Karl Edgar Kirsch and Johanna (Hansi) Schmidl Kirsch, her maternal grandparents Hugo and Paula Schmidl, her maternal great-grandmother Nanny Wallach Speyer, her distant cousin Clara Friedmann Ruge, and her maternal great-great-great grandfather Jakob Ostwald. There is also some documentation of her husband Arnold (Aron) Friedmann’s family. Families mentioned in this collection include Fessler, Fraenkl, Friedmann, Kirsch, Kohnberger, Morberger, Ostwald, Ruge, Schmidl, Speyer, Strassmann, Taussig, Ullmann, and Wallach.

The collection also holds materials related to the family’s life in Palestine and Israel in the 1940s; it contains writings and correspondence about her experiences in Atlit, the Israeli Army, North Talpiot, at the Nathan Children Aliya School, Tel-Aviv, and Jerusalem as well as some personal identification cards issued by the State of Israel.


  • 1846-2009
  • Majority of material found within 1914-2009


Language of Materials

The collection is in English, German, Hebrew, Serbian, Bosnian, and Spanish.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers.

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

Biographical Note

Susanne (Susi) Friedmann-Kirsch was born in 1926 in Vienna, Austria. Friedmann-Kirsch, her brother Gerhard (Gad), and their parents Karl Kirsch and Johanna (Hansi) Schmidl Kirsch fled Vienna on August 17, 1938 to Yugoslavia. In Sarajevo, they were issued German passports without a Jewish demarcation and were able to travel throughout Central and Eastern Europe on various travel visas. During this time, Gerhard received a visa and emigrated to Tel Aviv. In 1940, the family obtained Argentinean passports and moved to Istanbul, Turkey. The family was accused of being Jewish spies in Istanbul, and fled again to Mersin, Turkey. In Mersin, they received passage on a freighter headed toward Haifa, Palestine, where they docked on May 1, 1941. They were arrested, and sent to Atlit, a camp for illegal immigrants. Eventually, the family was released and by 1943, was settled in Tel-Aviv. In 1949, Friedmann-Kirsch married Arnold (Aron) Friedmann and immigrated to New York in 1950. They had two children, Daniel (1954) and Ronald (1957). In 1972, Arnold took a teaching position at the University of Massachusetts, and the family moved to Amherst, MA.


Friedmann-Kirsch, Susanne. Memoirs of Our Wandering Years. ME 219.


1 Linear Feet (two manuscript boxes)


This collection contains the papers of Susanne (Susi) Friedmann-Kirsch (1926-), documenting her family’s history in Austria, Eastern Europe, and Israel, from the mid 1800s to the 2000s. The collection mostly holds vital documents and genealogical materials, including family trees, photographs, correspondence, family narratives, diaries, and other writings.


This collection maintains the arrangement created by the donor. The collection is arranged by accession number.

Related Material

Friedmann-Kirsch wrote a memoir about her time travelling throughout Europe in her family's efforts to escape the Nazis. It was added to the LBI Memoirs collection under call number ME 219 and can be viewed here. There are three collection at LBI with materials donated by relatives, this includes the Schmidl-Speyer Familly Collection (AR 5435), Max Friedmann Collection (AR 10052), and the Agnes Ullman Collection (AR 1867)

Separated Material

A little bag, made by Johanna Schmidl Kirsch, and handkerchiefs of Sidonie Schmidl (nee Friedmann) was removed to the Art and Objects Collection.

Processing Information

The collection was donated by Susanne Friedmann-Kirsch in 43 accessions from 1991-2011. As the material was received from the donor, it was put in archival folders and described.

In 2012, the Ulmann Family Collection AR 6922 (Box 2, Folder 13), Hugo Schmidl Collection AR 6334 (Box 2, Folder 14), Ruge Family Collection AR 6921 (Box 2, Folder 15), Kirsch Family Collection AR 6333 (Box 2, Folder 16-18), Otto Wilhelm Fraenkl Collection AR 6332 (Box 2, Folder 19), Rudi Bamber Collection AR 10491 (Box 2, Folder 20), Cummington Refugee House Collection AR 6941 (Box 2, Folder 21), and Alfred & Luise Kirsch Collection AR 6398 (Box 2, Folder 22) were reincorporated into this collection as addenda. All were donated by Susi Friedmann-Kirsch.

In 2015, a 43rd accession was processed as Box 2, Folder 23 and added to the collection and a DACS compliant finding aid was created. Folder titles were supplied and duplicates were discarded.

Guide to the Susanne Friedmann-Kirsch Family Collection 1846-2009 (bulk 1914-2009) AR 6338
Processed by Nicole Greenhouse
© 2015
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • January 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