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Lask Family Collection

Identifier: LBIJER 18

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of materials pertaining to the Lask family, in particular to the fancy goods business (Galanterie- und Luxuswarengeschaeft) “Michael Lask” in Kiel (founded in 1869, and forced out of business and sold in 1938).

Series I contains business materials including correspondence with clients primarily belonging to the Prussian Marine Corps and the Prussian nobility and various business partners (files 1, 2, and 3) covering the years 1870 to 1937, and extensive materials (mostly correspondence) pertaining to Heinrich, Prince of Prussia and Grand Admiral of the Imperial Prussian Army (1862-1929), and his nephew Adalbert, Prince of Prussia (1884-1948) and their families (1878-1948) (file 4). Furthermore, the series contains various official documents pertaining to Michael and Julius Lask and especially the inception of the business in 1869 (e.g. Michael Lask's "Buergerbrief" and other documents by the municipality of Kiel granting him a trading license, and the registration of the business in the companies register), notes, circulars, cards, and clippings pertaining to the business including a typescript presumably by Gustav Lask on the history of the business and materials which document the business being taken over by a new owner under the National Socialist regime in 1938 (files 5-8).

The collection contains a considerable amount of materials pertaining to the Prussian Marine Corps, whose members belonged partly to the Lask's most important clients (e.g. correspondence, business cards, photographs, and clippings) (files 9-11).

Series II contains personal materials of the Lask (and Lewysohn) family (files 12-17) consisting of correspondence (including a letter from Michael Lask to his family partly in Judeo-German), photographs (of family members as well as the family business), obituaries and letters of condolences following Michael Lask's death in 1929 (file 15), and especially materials pertaining to Gustav Lask and his family (notebooks, address book, poems, correspondence especially with daughter Ilse Radday-Warburg (files 16 and 17)).

The collection was given to the Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem by Ilse Radday-Warburg née Lask (Haifa).


  • 1855-1952

Language of Materials

This collection is in German, English, Judeo-German.

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, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011


Biographical Note

The fancy goods business ("Galanterie-, Luxus- und Kurzwarengeschaeft" selling goods such as silverware, porcelain, intarsia, later also lamps and art objects) was established in Kiel by Michael Lask (1836-1929) in 1869. In 1887 Julius (1842-1900), Michael's younger brother, joined the business. During these years the Imperial Prussian Marine Corps became the main client of the Lask company strengthening also the ties to the Imperial Prussian family which culminated in the appointment as official purveyor of Prince Heinrich of Prussia and his family in 1897. In 1908, Julius' son Gustav (1875- ) became a partner, his wife Johanna Lask née Hoffmann joining the company shortly thereafter. The company was harshly affected by the inflation during the 1920s, and the reduction of the Marine Corps after the First World War having to downsize the business in 1931. In 1938 under the National Socialist government in the course of the so-called "Aryanisation" the Lask family was forced to sell the company to Ulrich von Roemer, losing their remaining properties in 1939.

Michael Lask was born in Schocken (Posen) in 1836, settled in Briesen (Western Prussia) and became a citizen of Kiel in 1869. He was the founder of the "Galanterie- und Luxuswarengeschaeft" (fancy good store) "Michael Lask". He died in Kiel in 1929. Michael was the son of Ludwig Lewysohn's sister Renathe Lask (née Lewysohn) ( -1880) and brother of Julius Lask (1842-1900), co-owner of the business since 1887.

Gustav Lask was born in Kiel 1875. He joined the Lask business in 1908, his wife Johanna Lask née Hoffmann twelve years later in 1920. After the pogrom on November 9, 1938 and afte being forced to sell his business Gustav emigrated to England and settled in London. He was the son of Julius Lask and Natalie Lask (née Lewysohn), daughter of Ludwig Lewysohn, brother of Rosa Goldmann (married to Georg Goldmann (1875- )) and Julian Ludwig Lask, and father of Ilse Radday-Warburg née Lask ( -1987), who emigrated to Palestine and settled in Haifa.

Ludwig Lewysohn was born in Schwersenz (Posen) in 1819. As rabbi he served congregations in Worms and Stockholm, where he died in 1901. He was the uncle of Michael and Julius Lask and father of Natalie, Julius' wife.


17 Folders


The collection consists of materials pertaining to the Lask family, in particular to the fancy goods business (Galanterie- und Luxuswarengeschaeft) “Michael Lask” in Kiel (founded in 1869, and forced out of business and sold in 1938).


This collection is located at LBI Jerusalem. For information on accessing the collection please visit their website:

Guide to the Lask Family Collection, 1855-1952  LBIJER 18
Processed by Judith Siepmann
© 2015
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States