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Walter Zvi Bacharach Collection

Identifier: AR 25814

Scope and Contents

The Walter Zvi Bacharach Collection is divided into four series.

Series I includes documents, school reports, letters concerning Walter’s family background, his life in Germany and the Netherlands as well as his captivity and liberation during the Holocaust. It also contains papers concerning his mother Erna Berta, his father Moritz and his brother Albrecht. Series II and III contains papers issued and gathered after Walter’s arrival in Palestine as well as his life in Israel. Series II includes various papers concerning his studies at different universities in Israel and abroad, correspondence, certificates, student cards and several other documents. Series III contains various papers concerning his daily life in Israel: correspondence, invoices, newspaper clippings, personal notes and other documents as well as several death notices, a small collection of documents in Hungarian and correspondence with friends in Germany.

Series IV includes various family correspondence and documents.


  • 1927-1993


Language of Materials

The collection is in Hebrew, German and Dutch with a small amount of Hungarian and Spanish

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Visit the Lillian Goldman Reading Room at the Center for Jewish History.

Biographical Note

Walter Zvi Bacharach was born September 7, 1928 in Hanau, Germany, as Walter Adolf Bacharach. He was the son of Moritz Bacharach (1888-1945) and Erna Berta Bacharach (née Strauss; 1899-1944). Walter had an older brother, Albrecht, who was born January 29, 1925 and who attended public schools (Knaben Volkschule zu Salzwedel and later Staatliches Jahn Gymnasium Salzwedel). The family moved to the Netherlands in 1938 settling at Dalweg 5 in the town of Hilversum. They tried – without success – to arrange emigration to the U.S.

After the Germans occupied the Netherlands in 1940 life became worse for Jews. The family was arrested by the German Gestapo and deported to Westerbork transit camp in 1942. After about two years, they were brought to Theresienstadt ghetto in February 1944. The deportation to the extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau followed probably at the end of September in 1944. Erna Berta Bacharach was killed in or on the way to Auschwitz. Furthermore, Moritz Bacharach and his sons Walter and Albrecht were brought to Taucha in Saxony, Germany, where they had to stay in a subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp. They were forced to work for HASAG, an ammunition factory. After the closure of the factory in 1945, all three were sent on a death march towards the Sudentenland (today Poland and Czech Republic). During that march Moritz Bacharach was killed in front of his sons. Albrecht and Walter were liberated by the U.S. army in 1945.

Albrecht immigrated to the U.S., got married and started a company “Al Bacharach, Inc. Fruit Trees with Character”, which was renamed to “American Fruit Tree Co., Inc.” in 1986. Although Walter and Albrecht decided to start all over again in different countries, they stayed in close contact over the years. Albrecht died July 12, 1984.

Walter first went to Grimma (Germany) and then to the Netherlands, where he lived for another year. In June 1946 he emigrated to Palestine and joined the religious kibbutz Be’erot Yitzchak. After his immigration his name was changed to Walter Zvi Bachrach. During the Arab-Israeli war (1948–1949) he fought against the Egyptian army. In 1949 Walter married Hannah (Chana) Weiss, a woman from Hungary, whom he had met in the kibbutz. At the beginning of the 1950s Hannah and Walter left the community and moved to Tel-Aviv, where Walter started his university career. He received his bachelor diploma at Tel-Aviv University in 1961 followed by a Master of Arts at Hebrew University in 1963 and worked as a history teacher. For his Doctor of Philosophy, he returned to Tel-Aviv University. His thesis “The development of the race theory from the view of ideology towards the instrument of political action from Chamberlain to Hitler” was confirmed by the plenum of the senate of Tel-Aviv University on December 16, 1974. He became a professor for history at Bar-Ilan University (Ramat Gan, Israel) in the department for general history. Furthermore, Walter was the head of the Institute for Holocaust research at Bar-Ilan and from 2003 to 2007 president of the Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem. Additionally, he shared his story by giving presentations in different countries such as Germany and the U.S. As a Professor his work was especially based on the research of antisemitism and Holocaust studies.

He had three children: Menachem, Malka and Eran as well as grand- and great-grandchildren.

Walter lived in Tel-Aviv until his death in July 2014.


0.5 Linear Feet

1 Folders (1 shared oversized folder in shared oversized box))


The Walter Zvi Bacharach Collection consists of various personal and professional documents, testimonials, certificates, newspaper clippings, notes and correspondence from the life of Walter Zvi Bacharach and his family. They mostly concern his life in Germany and the Netherlands, his captivity during the Holocaust as well as his liberation. Furthermore, the collection contains correspondence, testimonials and documents regarding his life and academic career in Israel. Additional family documents as well as family correspondence are included in the collection.


The collection is arranged in four series.

  1. Childhood, Captivity, Liberation, 1927-1993
  2. Studies and Academic Career , 1963-1996
  3. Life in Israel, 1953-1999
  4. Additional family papers, 1936-1987

Related Materials

The LBI Library holds several books related to this collection. Most of them were written by or included the work of Walter Zvwi Bacharach.

Anti-Jewish prejudices in German-Catholic sermons; DS 146 B3 1993 Dies sind meine letzten Worte: Briefe aus der Shoah; st6744 Towards dehumanization: Reflections on the Theories of Arthur de Gobineau; PQ 2260 G9 B3 Min ha-tselav el tselav ha-keres מן הצלב אל צלב הקרס; st 8582 Antishemiyut modernit; DS 145 B2 1979 Ya’akov Kats, ha-hoker ke-pedagog יעקב כ״ץ, החוקר כפדגוג; st 6120 Mi-baʻad li-demaʻot: humor Yehudi taḥat ha-shilṭon ha-Natsi מבעד לדמעות: הומור יהודי תחת השלטון הנאצי; st 11598

The LBI Archives includes the following manuscript: The place of the Jew in German racist theory, MS 9

The LBI in Jerusalem includes two related collections: Zvi Bachrach Collection 1929-2007; LBIJER 903 Small Projects of LBI Jerusalem 1959-2005; LBIJER 1078

Processing Information

The collection is organized in four series. The folders are arranged chronologically and alphabetically. Photographs, fragile papers and newspaper clippings were placed in acid-free papers and envelopes. Oversized documents and newspaper clippings were placed in acid-free papers and into an oversized folder.

Guide to the Papers of Walter Zvi Bacharach
Processed by Melanie Litta
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