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Herbert Freeman Family Collection

Identifier: AR 25346

Scope and Content Note

This collection mostly contains correspondence to Leo and Johanna Friedmann and their sons Henry and Herbert from extended family members of the Friedmann family from the 1910s-1950s. Although Leo and Johanna had the same last name before they were married, their families were not related. Correspondents from Johanna’s side of the family include Johanna’s parents Hedwig Hurwitz and Leon Friedmann, Leon’s second wife Nancy Marcus Friedmann, Heinrich, Theodor, and Benno Friedmann (brothers of Johanna), Emil Sarsky, Lola Mendl (Theodor Friedmann’s wife), Lotte Scheier (Benno Friedmann’s wife), Herbert Scheier, Dr. E. Hurwitz, Anna Gundersheimer, and others.

Letter writers from Leo’s side of the family include Fanni Schwarzschild (mother of Leo), siblings Selma Friedmann Wolfson, Recha Friedmann, Leopold Friedmann, and Max Friedmann, cousins Moritz and Lisa Loeb-Roeder, and Max’s children Samuel Friedmann and Edith Herman, and other family members. Some of the correspondence also includes letters from friends and colleagues including Avraham Simcha Mapu, Dr. Fraenkel, Johanna Fingernagel, Dr. Gustav Loeffler, Martha Loeffler, Giesela Weinbaum, Ottilie Beck and Mrs. Ernest Metzger.

The correspondence pertains to family matters and daily life, including birthday and anniversary congratulations, employment, health, and finances. Most of the correspondence from the 1930s and 1940s relates to the rise of the Nazis in Germany, internment of family members in concentration camps, World War II, the Kindertransport, and the efforts made by various family members to emigrate out of Germany. Many of the letters contain appeals for obtaining affidavits and visas. Herbert, the creator of the collection, immigrated successfully after being named a carrier of tuberculosis, however family members such as the Wolfsons and Max Friedmann died in the Holocaust. Those that were successful emigrated to the United States and Palestine. The correspondence also describes first hand experiences in Palestine/Israel in the 1940s and 1950s, including discussions on the difficulties of daily life in Palestine and the effects of the War of Independence and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

Additionally, the collection holds family trees, writings by Herbert Freeman, and photocopies from the National Archives / Public Health Service records pertaining to the immigration of Heinrich and Herbert Friedmann and Herbert’s diagnosis of tuberculosis.


  • 1889-2008
  • Majority of material found within 1904-1951


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English, and some French.

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

Herbert Freeman was born Herbert Friedmann on December 13, 1925 in Frankfurt/Main, Germany. His father, Leo Friedmann immigrated to the United States first, followed by Herbert's mother and brother, Johanna and Henry in 1936. Herbert was diagnosed as a carrier of tuberculosis and was unable to follow them to the United States until 1938. After high school in Cohoes, New York, Freeman studied electrical engineering at Union College and in 1946, started his graduate studies at Columbia University where he earned his doctorate. In 1947, Herbert changed his name to Freeman, at the urging of his uncle Maurice, to avoid anti-Semitism in the job market. In 1955, Freeman married Joan Sleppin. They had three children, Nancy, Susan, and Robert. Freeman worked at Sperry Gyroscope Company until 1960, when he began teaching as a professor at New York University. In 1975, he became a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and in 1985, he became the director of the Center for Computer Aids for Industrial Productivity at Rutgers University. In 1997, he founded MapText, Inc. He retired in 2006, and began to write his memoir entitled Cobblestones.


Freeman, Henry. Cobblestones. 2006.


0.25 Linear Feet (in one manuscript box)


This collection mostly contains Friedmann family correspondence, collected by Herbert Freeman (1925-). The letters cover the period 1904-1951, written by Jews from Germany either in Germany or after their emigration to either Palestine/Israel or to the United States. It also contains photocopies from the National Archives related to Herbert and Henry Friedman's migration to the United States and family trees of the Friedmann family.


Correspondence was arranged and numbered by Herbert Freeman.

Other Finding Aid

A detailed inventory of the correspondence is found in folder 9 of this collection.

Related Material

Herbert Freeman's memoir, Cobblestones can be found in the LBI Memoirs collection, collection number ME 1577 and digitized here. A Friedmann family tree created by Herbert's brother Henry is also in the LBI Archives, under call number AR 540; a portion of it is digitized here. Herbert Freeman also wrote Memoirs of the Friedmann family of Nuernberg: Johanna Friedmann, Theo Friedmann, Benno Friedmann, Walter S. Freed [Sally Friedmann], Heiner Friedmann which can be found in the LBI Library.

Separated Material

A CD containing an oral history of Herbert Freeman was separated to the LBI AV collection.

Processing Information

In 2009, a finding aid was created by marc2ead_lbi.xsl from an incomplete bibliographic record. In 2015, the collection was rehoused and a full DACS compliant finding aid was created.

Guide to the Herbert Freeman Family Collection, 1889-2008 (bulk 1904-1951) AR 25346
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

  • August 2015:: 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