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Guide to the Rabbi Leo Baeck Collection

Identifier: LBIJER 104

Scope and Contents

The Rabbi Leo Baeck collection consists of 4 series.

Series I contains biographical material pertaining to Leo Baeck and the establishment of the Leo Baeck Institute. The material was created between 1915 and 2007. Most of the clippings, articles, correspondence and manuscripts are copies.

Series II contains Baeck’s correspondence. It contains postcards sent by Baeck from the front during WWI to Stephanie and Heinrich Pinthaus (1914-1915); letters to Rabbi Rosnek and other Jewish individuals and institutes (1915-1923, 1928-1933); receipts of packages sent by Robert and Hilda (Aliza) Baeck in Tangier, Morocco, to Leo Baeck at Theresienstadt camp (1944); a telegram sent by Leo Baeck from London after his liberation to Robert Baeck in Tangier (July 27, 1945), and more detailed letters to Robert (August 5, 1945) and to Hilda Baeck (October 12, 1945); a letter to Shalom Adler-Rudel (December 1, 1945). Furthermore, series II contains correspondence between Baeck and the Council of Jews from Germany/Leo Baeck Institute (1946-1956) and copies of Baeck's correspondence with various individuals (1914-1955).

Series III contains manuscripts by Baeck. The manuscripts include lectures, articles, later translations and publications (German and English, mostly copies, 1918-1992). Series III also contains a manuscript of Die Entwicklung der Rechtsstellung und des Platzes der Juden in Europa, vornehmlich in Deutschland, vom Altertum bis zum Beginn der Aufklärungzeit, including accompanying correspondence with LBI Jerusalem and New York (1956-7).

Series IV contains material pertaining to Baeck's commemoration: This includes clippings, manuscripts, eulogies, and letters with recollections of Baeck, including a telegram announcing Baeck's death (mostly German, 1956-2001), correspondence of LBI regarding Baeck's estate (1956-1984); copies of articles and later correspondence pertaining to an honoree book for Baeck’s 60th birthday (1933?, 1979); bibliographical overviews of Baeck's writings and his documents in various archives (1922-1996), and the catalog of the exhibition Leo Baeck: aus dem Stamme von Rabbinern, Jüdisches Museum, Frankfurt a. Main (2001).


  • 1914-2007

Language of Materials

The collection is in German, Hebrew and English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

The collection has been digitized. Please note: Folders 9, 11 and 19 were not digitized due to copyrights limits.

Biographical / Historical

Leo Baeck was born in Lissa (now Leszno, Poland) on May 24, 1873, studied at the universities of Breslau and Berlin, and at the Juedisch-theologisches Seminar, Breslau and the Hochschule fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin. He received his doctorate in 1895 and his rabbinical ordination in 1897. He served as a rabbi in Oppeln, Duesseldorf, and Berlin, lectured at the Hochschule, and served as a chaplain (Feldrabbiner) in the German Army during World War I, on both the eastern and western fronts. After the Nazis' rise to power he became president of the Reichsvertretung der deutschen Juden, a position he held until 1942. He was deported to Theresienstadt in 1943, where he continued his public activity as a rabbi and a community leader. After the liberation of the camp in 1945 he migrated to London and became chairman of the World Union for Progressive Judaism and first president of the Leo Baeck Institute. He died in London on November 1, 1956.


19 Boxes


The collection consists of material pertaining to Rabbi Leo Baeck. The material, mostly secondary, was collected by the Leo Baeck Institute’s staff and in some cases bear markings and notes by the Institute’s staff.


This collection is arranged in 4 series.

  1. Series I: Biographical material about Baeck; 1915-2007, undated
  2. Series II: Correspondence of Baeck; 1914-1956
  3. Series III: Manuscripts by Baeck; 1918-1992
  4. Series IV: Commemorative material about Baeck; 1922-2001
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