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Werner Tom Angress Collection

Identifier: LBI-JMB-2009.1


  • 1899 – 2009


Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact: Leo Baeck Institute, Juedisches Museum Berlin, 9-14 Lindenstrasse, 10969 Berlin, Germany.

Biographical Note

Werner T. Angress was born on April 27, 1920 in Berlin, as the son of the banker Ernst Hermann Angress (1883-1943) and his wife Henny Angress née Kiefer (1892-1984). He grew up together with his younger brothers Fritz Peter (born 1923) and Hans Herbert (born 1928). From the age of 6 until 10 he attended the primary school in Westend. From 10 until 12 he attended the „Herder” high school in Westend. After his family had moved to Lichterfelde in spring 1932 he attended there the “Reform” high school. In spring 1936 he quiet school.

During his time in school he was a member of the Jewish Youth Movement „Schwarzes Fähnlein“. After he quiet the school he joined from May 9, 1936 until October 30, 1937 Gross Breesen (near Breslau), an agricultural training program for preparing Jewish youth for emigration. He was awarded a nickname, Töpper. In 1937 the Angress family fled Germany. He emigrated on October 30, 1937 to London, where his family lived. In March 1938 he moved together with his parents and brothers to Amsterdam, where his parents opened a shop. He worked in 1938/39 in Werkdorf Wieringerwaard. On October 29, 1939 he left his family behind and immigrated to Hyde Farmlands in Virginia (USA), a farm for the Gross Breesen settlement project.

In May 1941 he joined the US Army. After the training for the infantry he was send in 1943 to Camp Ritchie. There he was instructed as an interrogator and parachutist. He was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. In October 1943 he was naturalized and got the US citizenship. In January 1944 he was send to England. On D-Day 1944 he made his first jump into the Normandy. He joined the Battle of the Bulge and interrogated German prisoners. In May 1945 his division liberated the concentration camp Wöbbelin (near Ludwigslust), a subcamp of Neuengamme.

While he wasn’t in contact to his family since the German invasion of the Netherlands he found his mother and his brothers in Amsterdam in May 1945. They had survived in the underground while his father was deported and murdered in Auschwitz in 1943.

After the war Werner T. Angress returned to the USA, where he was released of the army on September 30, 1945. He was accepted to Wesleyan University (Connecticut), despite he never had finished high school. In June 1949 he graduated at Wesleyan with a B. A. in history. After that he studied at the University of California (Berkeley), where he graduated in 1950 with a M. A. in history and in 1953 with his Ph. D. He taught modern European history at Wesleyan and Berkeley. In 1963 his first book was published: “Stillborn Revolution. The Communist Bid for Power in Germany, 1921-1923”. In the same year he became a professor for European History in SUNY Stony Brook (New York). 25 years later he retired.

From 1953 until 1962 he was married with Ruth Klüger with whom he had two sons. With his second wife (1964-1979) he got two daughters. He was grandfather of five kids.

In October 1988 he moved back to Berlin. Frequently he spoke as a “Zeitzeuge” at schools and memorial sites about his youth under the Nazis. In spring 2005 he published his memories entitled “… immer etwas abseits. Jugenderinnerungen eines jüdischen Berliners 1920-1945”. For three decades he served on the Board of the Leo Baeck Institute. He died on July 5, 2010 in Berlin at the age of 90.

The Werner T. Angress Collection contains various manuscripts of his memoirs. Remarkably are his diary entries from the 1930s and 40s, and also the poems and short stories he wrote in the same time. They allow a look into the intellectual and emotional world of a Jewish youngster in the Nazi period. His time in Gross Breesen and Hyde Farmlands is represented by “Gross Breesen letters”, which were distributed from 1936 on, his correspondence with Gross Breesen’s founder Curt Bondy and with other youngsters who joined also the agricultural training program. Documents concerning the Gross Breesen reunions show that life-long friendships were established in this time. Very interesting are also the photographs, which were taken during his childhood, his time in Gross Breesen, during his exile in London and Amsterdam and during his army service as a “Ritchie Boy”. The collection includes pictures of a funeral of Nazi victims in Ludwigslust in May 1945, after the liberation of the Wöbbelin concentration camp. His professional life as a professor for European History is documented by various writings and lecture notes and reviews of published publications. Various research material and newspaper clippings about historical topics are an important part of this collection. Another substantial stock of documents contains his private and professional correspondence, with the temporal focus on the time after he moved to Berlin in 1989.


44 Boxes

Language of Materials




The collection has been organized in nine series as follows:

  1. Series I: Personal, 1919-2005
  2. Subseries 1: Personal Documents, 1919-2005
  3. Subseries 2: Memoirs, 1955-2005
  4. Subseries 3: Diaries, 1935-1991
  5. Subseries 4: Poems and Short Stories, 1934-1997
  6. Series II: Biographical Writings about Werner T. Angress, 1962-2008
  7. Series III: Gross Breesen and Hyde Farmlands, 1936-2003
  8. Subseries 1: Documents and Research Material, 1937-2002
  9. Subseries 2: Collection of Gross Breesen Letters, 1936-2000
  10. Subseries 3: Correspondence of Curt Bondy with Others, 1938-1944
  11. Subseries 4: Reunion, 1984-2003
  12. Series IV: Correspondence in alphabetical order, 1935-2008
  13. Subseries 1: before 1945, 1935-1945
  14. Subseries 2: after 1945, 1946-2008
  15. Series V: Professional, 1899-2006
  16. Subseries 1: Writings, 1949-2005
  17. Subseries 2: Lecture Notes, 1966-2000
  18. Subseries 3: Reviews of Publications of Werner T. Angress, 1964-2000
  19. Subseries 4: Research Material, 1899-2006
  20. Series VI: Clippings about People, 1932-2008
  21. Subseries 1: Clippings about personally known People, 1932-2008
  22. Subseries 2: Clippings about Ernst Cramer, 1989-2007
  23. Series VII: Clippings about Historical Topics, 1916-2010
  24. Subseries 1: "German Jewry and Anti-Semitism", 1964-2008
  25. Subseries 2: "Jewish Life and Memorial Sites in Berlin", 1963-2007
  26. Subseries 3: "Final Solution", 1943-2009
  27. Subseries 4: "Vergangenheitsbewältigung in Germany”, 1985-2010
  28. Subseries 5: "Memorial Site Auschwitz - Controversies", 1989-1999
  29. Subseries 6: "Goldhagen Debate", 1996-1998
  30. Subseries 7: "Holocaust Memorial Debate", 1990-2007
  31. Subseries 8: "Walser Controversy", 1998-1999
  32. Subseries 9: "Right-Wing Extremism and Anti-Semitism in Germany", 1981-2001
  33. Subseries 10: "Right-Wing Extremism and Anti-Semitism outside Germany", 1979-2001
  34. Subseries 11: "Wilhelminism and World War I", 1916-2001
  35. Subseries 12: "DDR and Wiedervereinigung", 1986-2009
  36. Subseries 13: "BRD", 1964-2010
  37. Subseries 14: "History of Berlin", 1987-2009
  38. Subseries 15: "History of France and Present", 1976-2008
  39. Subseries 16: "US History and Present", 1983-2009
  40. Subseries 17: "Gulf War 1991", 1990-1998
  41. Subseries 18: "9/11/2001 and Consequences", 2001-2006
  42. Subseries 19: "Israel and Arab-Israeli Conflict", 1970-2009
  43. Subseries 20: “Christianity”, 1994-2007
  44. Series VIII: Family Records: Grandfather Max Kiefer, 1905-1937
  45. Series IX: Photographs, 1909-2004
Guide to the Papers of Werner T. Angress 1899-2009 LBI/JMB-2009/1 LBI AR JMB 25321 A
Processed by LBI Staff
© 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States