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Robitscher Family Collection Addenda

Identifier: AR 25012 A

Scope and Content Note

This is a collection of addenda to the main Robitscher Family Collection (AR 25012) that further document the lives of Thomas Robitscher, his mother Magdalena Robitscher née Hahn, and his wife Anne Kelemen. The bulk of the collection relates to Thomas Robitscher specifically. These materials include Thomas Robtischer’s vital documents, will, address books, identification cards, calendar, wallet, medical records, notes, college term paper, collection of misspellings of “Thomas Robitscher,” and receipts and correspondence about his prized grandfather clock. Also included are legal and official papers and correspondence regarding Thomas Robitscher’s death and the restitution efforts that Magdalena Robitscher and Anne Kelemen continued thereafter. Personal correspondence between Thomas Robitscher, Anne Kelemen, and Magdalena Robitscher as well as other correspondents fills several folders in this collection. Correspondence exchanged between Anne Kelemen and officials at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev regarding the donation of Thomas Robitscher’s mineral collection is included alongside a few related notes and an inventory of the mineral collection. Clippings and biographical information about Magdalena Robitscher are also included. The photographs in the collection include two of Magdalena Robitscher from 1960, photographs of the grave of Thomas and Magdalena Robitscher in Frankfurt am Main, and photographs of students at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev unpacking and studying Thomas Robitscher’s mineral collection after it was donated. Many of the documents in the collection have been annotated by Anne Kelemen.


  • 1950-2011
  • Majority of material found within 1968-1986

Language of Materials

The collection is in English, German, Spanish, and Czech.

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

Thomas Otto Robitscher was born in Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad), Czechoslovakia on April 8, 1924. In 1939, he emigrated to Bolivia with his mother, Magdalena Robitscher née Hahn. He came to the United States in 1947 on a student visa to study at Syracuse University and went on to study medicine at Boston University, earning his M.D. in 1954. He did his residency at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. Unable to continue this profession without being a U.S. citizen, he worked in pharmacological research as the Associate Medical Director of Ayerst Laboratories in New York. His efforts to acquire U.S citizenship were troubled by suspicions about previous political affiliations with leftist groups in Bolivia and by the fact that his mother was a communist. He received U.S. citizenship in 1961. Thomas married his first wife, Carla Cohn, in 1957. They divorced in 1963. Anne Kelemen was his long-time partner and eventually became his second wife through common-law marriage.

Thomas Robitscher had a strong interest in minerals dating back to his childhood in Czechoslovakia, where his original collection had to be left behind when he and his mother escaped to Bolivia. He resumed collecting in Bolivia and was a serious collector in the United States. After his death, his large mineral collection was donated to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.

After suffering years of mental illness, Thomas Rotbitscher ended his own life on January 24, 1974 in Frankfurt am Main. He is buried in the Jewish Cemetery in Frankfurt am Main along with his mother, who died in 1977.


0.5 Linear Feet


This is a collection of addenda to the Robitscher Family Collection (AR 25012) that further document the lives of Thomas Robitscher, his mother Magdalena Robitscher née Hahn, and his wife Anne Kelemen. Materials include personal correspondence, photographs, Thomas Robitscher’s personal papers, vital documents and other legal and official papers related to Thomas Robitscher, an inventory of his mineral collection, and correspondence regarding its donation.


The collection is arranged by document type and by the individual to whom the items primarily relate. Where several folders of materials relate to the same individual, these folders are arranged chronologically.

Related Material

This collection constitutes an addendum to the Robitscher Family Collection, AR 25012, held at the LBI Archives.

Separated Material

A DVD about the 40th anniversary of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev was separated to the LBI A/V collection. The letter that accompanied this DVD can be found in folder 14 in this collection.

Processing Information

Duplicates were removed. Adhesive notes (post-its) were copied onto non-adhesive paper and the original notes were removed. Materials were rehoused into acid-free archival folders. Empty envelopes were discarded if all information they held was also found on the letters they contained. Plastic sleeves holding correspondence from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev were removed. Metal binding was removed from the inventory of the mineral collection.
Guide to the Robitscher Family Collection Addenda 1950-2011 (bulk 1968-1986) AR 25012 A
In Progress
Processed by Leanora Lange
© 2013
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Made possible by the Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives Grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources through The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support "Illuminating Hidden Collections at the Center for Jewish History."

Revision Statements

  • October 2015:: dao links added to Container List.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States