Skip to main content

Robert Weltsch Collection

Identifier: LBIJER 865

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains 181 letters and 29 photographs. It consists mainly of family correspondence, primarily of letters from Robert Weltsch to his sister Lise [Elisabeth] Weltsch mostly from the years 1909 to 1919.

Weltsch writes about his Zionist activities especially in "Bar Kochba" (Prague) and its members, publications, lectures, and events, Hebrew studies, and about his experiences as soldier of the Austro-Hungarian Army during World War I including descriptions of villages in Galicia passed by his regiment, the situation of Jewish inhabitants and refugees, and daily life in the trenches and on marches.

The letters include reflections on Judaism, Zionism, war (World War I), political events and developments (including Palestine), (Zionist) literature, the Hebrew language, Eastern European Jewry, and personal matters.

The following individuals are mentioned and partly frequently discussed:

Bergmann, Else; Bergmann, Hugo; Brod, Max; Buber, Martin; Hermann, Leo; Herrmann, Hugo; Kaznelson, Siegmund; Kellner, Viktor; Kohn, Hans; Kraus, Alfred; Thein, [Klara]; Thieberger, [Nelly].

Several of the letters contain Gabelsberger shorthand.

Other correspondents (individuals and institutions) besides Lise [Elisabeth] Weltsch include:

Boehm, Adolf; Boehm, Siegfried (grandfather); Kaznelson, Siegmund; [Kohn], Hans; Margulies, [Emil]; Reichsministerium fuer Volksaufklaerung und Propaganda; Weltsch, Gertrud [Gerta] (sister); Weltsch, Shoshana [Shosha] (daughter); Weltsch, Theodor (father).

It contains letters by National Socialist institutions pertaining to the "Juedische Rundschau" under Weltsch's editorship. Further topics discussed include the Israel-Arab War in 1948, World War I, and Germany after World War II in 1945/46.

The photographs (group pictures, portraits, sceneries) included in the collection stem primarily from World War I (1916/1917) and were taken in the villages/ cities Rosochacz, Dźwiniacz Dolny, Pasieczna, Pawelcze, Prague, Budapest, Kalush, and Zalishchyky, where Weltsch was stationed with his regiment.

The collection was given to the Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem by Shoshana Gumperz in 2015.

A family tree and transcripts of single letters (between January 1915 and March 1917) are added.


  • 1900-1954
  • Majority of material found within 1909-1919


Language of Materials

This collection is in German, some Hebrew.

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

Born in Prague on June 20, 1891, Robert Weltsch was active as a student in Zionist youth groups, including the student organization "Bar Kochba". During World War I he served in the Austro-Hungarian Army (K. k. Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment „Eger“ Nr. 6).

He edited the German Zionist newspaper "Juedische Rundschau" from 1919 to 1938. In 1939 he immigrated to Palestine. In 1945, Weltsch moved to London, where he was correspondent of the daily "Ha'aretz", one of the founders of the Leo Baeck Institute, and editor of its Yearbook, 1956-1971. He returned to Israel in 1978 and died in Jerusalem in 1982.


Weltsch's older sister Elisabeth, a trained nurse, was born in 1889. As her brother, she was active in Zionist organizations and married Siegmund Kaznelson, Zionist and a member of "Bar Kochba", during World War I, with whom she immigrated to Palestine in 1937. She died in Jerusalem in 1974.


11 Folders


The collection contains 181 letters and 29 photographs. It consists mainly of family correspondence, primarily of letters from Robert Weltsch to his sister Lise [Elisabeth] Weltsch mostly from the years 1909 to 1919.


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

Guide to the Robert Weltsch Collection, 1900-1954  LBIJER 865
Processed by LBI Staff
© 2014
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