Skip to main content

Perles family collection

Identifier: LBIJER 279

Scope and Content Note

Series I: Rosalie Perles

The series contains mainly correspondence related to World War I and correspondence with the Ausschuß des Israelitischen Frauenvereins in München. Among the correspondents are Joseph Smoira, Hans Schefftel, Alfred Rosenberg, Oscar Rosenberg. The series contains notebooks from the school time of Rosalie Perles, newspapers clippings and copies of articles and writings by Rosalie Perles, as well as four Jewish calendars from years 1865-66, 1884-1885, 1894-1895, 1926-1927.

Series II: Hedwig Perles

The series contains primarily correspondence both with individuals and institutions. Correspondents include Heinrich Loewe, Salman Schocken, Moises Smoira, Dr. Arthur Spanier, and the Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaft des Judentums as well as other institutions. Folder 10 contains correspondence connected to Felix Perles’ death in October 1933. Also included in this series are various documents about travelling in the Italian regions of Trentino Alto-Adige (Südtirol), Veneto, and Tuscany, as well as drafts for a bibliography of Felix Perles’ writings.

Series III: Max Perles

This series contains primarily materials connected to the scientific work of Max Perles, such as a copy of his dissertation, various drafts concerning chemical experiments (mainly with Solanin), calculations, graphics and drawings.

Series IV: Felix Perles

This series contains more archival materials than the previous ones – mainly notes concerning lectures and studies by Felix Perles dedicated to various themes connected to the Science of Judaism and to his activity as a rabbi. The series contains also correspondence with soldiers during World War I as well as letters connected to Felix Perles’ research. Correspondents include Joseph Smoira, Oscar Rosenberg, Alfred Rosenberg, Hans Schefftel, Sali Levi, Julius Rosenberg, Sally Dawidowicz, Wilhelm Lewy, Arthur Lewy, Benjamin Grüll, and others. Letters addressed to other members of the Perles family can be found in Folder 25. The series also contains various paper clippings.

Series V: Joseph Perles

This series is the largest and probably most substantial one. It contains mainly notebooks belonging to Joseph Perles as well as various draft versions of his books as a scholar of midrashic and rabbinic literature. Folders 71 and 72 contain materials related to Perles’ activity as a rabbi, they include copies of his eulogies and sermons. Furthermore, the series contains personal documents such as school certificates in Hungarian, German, and Latin, correspondence with various people and institutions such as Adolph Neubauer, the Rabbinat der israelitischen Cultusgemeinde in München, the Verein zur Förderung Jüdischer Wissenschaft, and others. Folder 74 contains correspondence of Baruch Asher Perles (1789-1857), the father of Joseph Perles, with Solomon Yehudah Loeb Rapoport and Zacharias Frankel; one letter (original?) from Salomon Munk to Heinrich Graetz is also included in this folder. There are few documents of uncertain provenance: the first is in Hebrew and it is undated; the second is in German and dates 1844.

Series VI: Others

This series contains two folders with materials found in the Perles Family Collection of uncertain provenance: a copy of a book of songs (Liederbuch), a flyer with an invitation to a circus show, various paper clippings, and a diary probably belonging to a certain rabbi Nobel dating from 1919 to 1935.


  • 1844-1939

Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English, Hebrew, French, Italian, Hungarian, Greek, as well as Latin.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers.

Access Information

Readers may access the collection by visiting the Leo Baeck Institute in Jerusalem; we recommend reserving the collection in advance.

Biographical Note<extptr actuate="onload" altrender=" " href="" show="embed" title=" "/>

Rosalie Perles (1839-1932) was a German writer and philanthropist. She was born in Breslau in 1839 as a daughter of S. B. Schefftel. She married Joseph Perles in 1863. While in Munich, she engaged in philanthropic work, as leader of the women’s societies there. Having lost both her husband and her elder son in 1894, she went in 1899 to live with her younger son at Königsberg, where she took up literary work. She was a regular contributor to Jewish Comment, and has also written for The Jewish Encyclopedia, Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums, Im Deutschen Reich, and Ost und West She authored Ein Moderner Erlöser des Judentums and edited a volume of her husband’s sermons, with a preface.

Hedwig Perles (1876-1954) was a social worker. She was the wife of Felix Perles, daughter-in-law of Joseph Perles. She was a social worker in Königsberg. In 1934 she emigrated to Palestine. Among other works, she edited the bibliography of her husband Felix Perles.

Max Perles (1867-1894) was a German oculist. He was born in Posen in 1867 as son of Joseph Perles. He studied medicine at the University of Munich (M.D. 1889), and in 1890 went to Berlin, where he studied bacteriology for six months with Robert Koch, and was then appointed assistant at the largest eye infirmary in that city. In 1894 he was recalled to Munich by his father’s fatal illness, and established himself there as an oculist, at the same time continuing his bacteriological studies and perfecting the electrical ophthalmoscope which he had invented. He was about to receive permission to lecture at the University of Munich when he died of a sepsis contracted during his experiments. Perles published the following essays: Über Solanin und Solanidin (dissertation, Munich, 1889); “Embolia Partialis Retinae” (in Centralblatt für Augenheilkunde, 1891); “Über Pigmentstaar bei Diabetes Mellitus” (Centralblatt für Augenheilkunde, 1892); “Über Heilung von Stauungspapillen” (Centralblatt für Augenheilkunde, 1893); “Beobachtungen über Perniciöse Anämie” (in Berliner Klinische Wochenschrift, 1893); “Über die durch den Friedländer’schen Pneumobacillus hervorgerufene Augenentzündung” (in Vorträge der Wiener Naturforscherversammlung, 1894).

Felix Perles (1874-1933) was a German rabbi. He was born in Munich in 1874 as son of Joseph Perles. He received his early training at the Wilhelm-Gymnasium in his native city, and at the same time began his religious studies under his father. He then studied successively at the University of Munich (Orientalia and classical philology), at the University of Breslau as well as at the Jewish Theological Seminary of Breslau. Later, after his father's death, he studied again in Munich (receiving his Ph.D. in 1895), at the Jewish Theological Seminary in Vienna, where he became an adherent of the Zionist movement, and at the seminary at Paris, receiving his rabbinical diploma in 1898. He was then appointed vice-rabbi in Königsberg. Perles’ works, dealing with Biblical science, and more specifically with textual criticism, rabbinical philology, and the science of religion, include: Analekten zur Textkritik des Alten Testaments, Munich, 1895; Zur Althebräischen Strophik, Wien, 1896; Notes Critiques sur le Texte de l'Ecclésiastique, Paris, 1897; Was Lehrt Uns Harnack?, Frankfurt am Main, 1902; Zur Erklärung der Psalmen Salomos, Berlin, 1902; Bousset’s Religion des Judentums im Neutestamentlichen Zeitalter Kritisch Untersucht, Berlin, 1903. He also edited Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Sprach- und Sagenkunde von Max Grünbaum, Berlin, 1901, and contributed with a number of essays and reviews to the Orientalistische Literaturzeitung, Die Welt, Ost und West, and other periodicals.

Joseph Perles (1835-1894) was born in Baja, Hungary, in 1835. He was born into a long line of rabbis and talmudic scholars. His ancestors include the famous talmudist and mathematician Judah Loew ben Bezalel (d. 1609 in Prague) and Asher ben Jehiel, or Asheri, (1250-1327), an outstanding legal codifier and Talmudist. In addition to studying at the Jewish Theological Seminary of Breslau, Joseph Perles also took courses at the University of Breslau. He graduated from the university in Oriental Philology and Philosophy, receiving a Ph.D. in 1859. His dissertation was a treatise on the Syriac version of the Bible. Studying and writing about ancient versions of the Bible became one of his specialties. His work in medieval literature was also extensive. Joseph Perles’s main scholarly contribution was to Hebrew and Aramaic lexicography and philology. Works include Zur rabbinischen Sprach-und Sagenkunde (1873), Die Jüdische Hochzeit in Nachbiblischer Zeit, (1860), and Die Leichenfeierlichkeiten im nachbiblischen Judentum, (1861). He also wrote Beiträge zur Geschichte der Hebräischen und Aramäischen Studien (1884). Topics cover biblical history, German-Jewish history, philology, and linguistics. Joseph Perles served as a preacher of the Brüdergemeinde of Posen (now Poznan, Poland) from 1862-1871. He rejected an offer to serve as a rabbi in Berlin as well as a position to lecture at the newly founded Landesrabbinerschule in Budapest. He opted instead to become rabbi of the Jewish community of Munich in 1871. During his rabbinate, the Munich Jewish community became more cohesive and organized, and a new synagogue was established during his tenure, in 1887. Joseph Perles stayed in Munich until his death in 1894.


10 Boxes (78 folders)


The collection contains primarily correspondence, writings, and other documents pertaining to the rabbis Joseph Perles (Perets ben Barukh Asher Perles) and his son, Felix Perles. Also included are writings, correspondence and personal documents from Joseph’s wife, Rosalie Perles, née Schefftel; from Felix’s wife, Hedwig Perles; and from Joseph’s older son, Max Perles.

Related Material

See also the Joseph Perles Family Collection, AR 1351 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York.

Guide to the Perles family collection 1844-1939 LBIJER 279
Processed by Enrico Lucca
© 2014
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Described and encoded as part of "Erschliessung deutsch-jüdischer Nachlässe in Israel."

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States