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Semi Uffenheimer Family Collection

Identifier: AR 25892

Scope and Contents

The Semi Uffenheimer family collection documents the life of Semi Uffenheimer, with a focus on his emigration to Argentina, his establishment of a new life there and the correspondence with his family in Germany and later in the concentration camp in Gurs. Information about Semi’s family, especially about his sister Flora, is also present. The collection consists mostly of personal correspondence; other personal documents; genealogical research documents such as family trees; documents relating to Semis marriage search; and some photographs and postcards. The collection was organized by its donor and has mostly been kept in this original order during the processing of the archival collection.

Series I contains chronologically arranged correspondence, mostly between Semi, his sister and his parents, but also with other family members and friends. Notable is the correspondence between Semi and his family, from the time when they were de tained in the Camp of Gurs. Series I also includes other documents like records of food shipments and monetary transfers from Semi to his family. In the postwar correspondence with other family members and friends Semi expresses his grief about his losses and talks about his business in Argentina.

The other documents that can be found in Series II consist of the genealogical research by Gabriel Groszman, Semi’s marriage search, two of his passports and other personal documents, photographs and some postcards. The genealogical research includes family trees and related correspondence.


  • 1928 - 2014
  • Majority of material found within 1937 - 1949


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, with some English and small amounts of Spanish and French.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

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 email:

Biographical / Historical

Semi Uffenheimer was born on May 15th 1902 in the small town of Breisach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, close to the French border. Semi was the son of Adolf Uffenheimer and Anna Uffenheimer née Roos; his older sister was Flora Uffenheimer.

At the age of 16 Semi started an apprenticeship to become a bank clerk in Freiburg until 1921. Afterwards he worked at the firm J. Kahn und Sohn G.m.b.H. in Freiburg. In 1925 Semi moved to Bühl and became a clerk for office and travel at the Schöttgen und Kaufmann G.m.b.H. in Bühl, where his cousin Bernhard Kaufmann was a partner. When he was dismissed from his job in 1936, he refused to accept the dismissal, which led to a settlement and the company paying him for another six months.

On April 7th, 1938 Semi took the S.S. Alsina from Marseille to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he arrived on April 26th 1938. His cousins Ludwig Uffenheimer and Meta Speck née Uffenheimer already lived in Argentina as well as other relatives and friends of Semi’s family. In Argentina Semi started his own business, trading with industrial belts.

His mother, father and sister still lived in Breisach, though Flora spent some time in Berlin in 1938 and 1939, where she worked in the household for a Mr. Gelfmann. After returning to Breisach, the family had to move around Baden-Württemberg in the following months, as the villages close to the Rhine were evacuated, and Jews were not allowed to return afterwards. In October 1940 Flora, Adolf and Anna were deported to the concentration camp of Gurs, France. Anna Uffenheimer died on January 1st 1941 after a short illness in Gurs. Semi desperately tried to save his remaining family by sending them food and money and by applying for entry permits for them to come and live with him in Buenos Aires. His efforts remained unsuccessful. Flora Uffenheimer was deported from Gurs first to Rivesaltes and then to Auschwitz, where she arrived on November 4th 1942 and was murdered afterwards. Semi’s father was probably moved to the Camp of Masseube, France, from where he sent his last letter to his sister Karolina Bergheimer in Basel, Switzerland. Adolf died in 1943.

In Argentina Semi focused on growing his business and met Elizabeth Heda, whom he married in 1953. She had emigrated to Argentina in 1949 and had a daughter, Ruth born in 1935 in Czechoslovakia, who became the wife of Gabriel Groszman. Semi Uffenheimer died on August 17th 1981, at the age of 79 in Argentina.


0.5 Linear Feet


The Semi Uffenheimer family collection contains the papers of Semi Uffenheimer and his famliy, and documents the effects of Nazi persecution on their lives, his emigration to Argentina and the fate of his mother Anna, his father Adolf and his sister Flora, who were deported to the concentration camp of Gurs, France. The collection also holds information about other members of Semi’s family. Much of the collection is correspondence between Semi and his sister, focusing on the family’s life in Germany and later in the concentration camp of Gurs. Furthermore the collection contains genealogical research documents such as family trees; documents relating to Semi’s marriage search; and some photographs and postcards.


The collection is arranged in two series.

  1. Series I: Chronological files, 1928, 1934-1949, 2012
  2. Series II: Other documents, 1933-2014

Related Materials

Groszman, Gabriel (2013): Semi Uffenheimer: jüdische Familiengeschichten aus Breisach, Lörrach, Bühl, Graben in Baden und in Argentinien 1902-1981-2013. Konstanz: Hartung-Gorre Verlag. Available at the Leo Baeck Institute Library. Call Number: st 12862

Groszman, Gabriel (2014): A suitcase in the attic: the ascent and demise of the Uffenheimers and other Jewish families in Southwest Germany 1730-1945. Indianapolis: Dog Ear Publishing. Available at the Leo Baeck Institute Library. Call Number: st 12841.

Blum, Hans David: Genealogical Notebooks. Available at the Leo Baeck Institute Archive: MF 678

Blum, Hans David: Hans David Blum Research Collection. Available at the Leo Baeck Institute Archive: AR 25360

Frank, Werner L.: Werner Frank genealogical research collection. Available at the Leo Baeck Institute Archive: AR 25555

Separated Materials

Envelopes from correspondence with Semi Uffenheimer were removed from the collection.

Processing Information

This collection retained its original order by the donor and was organized into Series. All documents from 1940 were pooled into one folder 1/4. Folder 1/7 contains separated letters by Flora Uffenheimer from the years 1941 and 1942 and their envelopes. The original folder of family trees was divided into two folders (1/14 and 1/15).

Guide to the Papers of the Semi Uffenheimer family
Willem Weber
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States