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Arnold and Werner A. Stein Collection

 Collection
Identifier: AR 25821

Scope and Contents

The collection contains Stein family documents relating to their emigration from Germany to the United States before and during World War II and their restitution claims; research into family history (including the families of Arnold’s wife Gertrude Rosenthal and Werner’s wife Helga Marcus); documentation of Arnold’s reestablishment of a life for his family in New York, and Werner’s life as a teenager through adulthood and raising his own family in New York.

Series I contains primarily personal documents of Arnold Stein from his birth in Burgsinn, Germany; his schooling, marriage and change in career from teacher to businessman; to Arnold’s forced sale of his business in 1938-1939; and his preparations to emigrate with his family from Berlin via London to an unsure permanent destination. Included are originals and copies of family history documents and research. This series further documents the family’s life in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York, focusing on Arnold’s involvement in the German-Jewish and broader Jewish community in New York, a bar mitzvah celebration for both Werner and his older sister Marianne, and Arnold and Gertrude’s continuing applications for restitution on much of what was lost in fleeing Germany, with some help from the United Restitution Office. Included is genealogical Stein family history, as well as family history and research for his wife Gertrude Rosenthal and her family. Highlights include original documents from Gertrude’s youth and early marriage in Berlin, and Gertrude’s "Koch Rezepte", a book which is handwritten mainly in German, with later recipes added partly in English. A helpful document is Arnold Stein’s notebook, "Important dates and names" with later English translation by Werner.

Series II contains primarily personal documents of Werner A. Stein from his birth in Berlin, Germany, and his schooling through 1939 when he emigrated with his family to London and then New York. Many of his report cards and grades are included in a Zeugnis-Mappe. There is a glimpse in Werner’s files of his life in London as a young teenager, during the family’s temporary stay from their arrival in summer 1939 to their departure for New York in October 1940. Information about Werner’s life as a teenager at this time can be gleaned from notations in Werner’s Boy Scout Diary. Life in the United States is documented through transcripts of his studies at The College of the City of New York and his diploma, and documentation of his army service including letters of reference from chaplains he assisted during his service after World War II.

Also included is documentation of Werner’s wedding and marriage to Helga Marcus, and research into Stein and Marcus family genealogy, including an extensive Stein-Katz family tree. Among Helga’s materials are her baby book, 1933-1936, and other Marcus family artifacts include a pendant with a photograph of Helga’s grandfather Paul Marcus, which has been removed to the LBI Art and Objects Collection, a book with Paul’s yahrzeits listed from his death in 1906 through 1956, and Helga’s father Georg’s deck of (most likely) Piquet cards in a decorated leather case, the last of which has been removed to the LBI Art and Objects Collection. News clippings and other documents, particularly relating to Werner’s longtime involvement with the German-Jewish newspaper Aufbau, reveal a snapshot of Werner and Helga’s family and life in Great Neck raising two daughters. Also removed to the Art and Objects Collection is a Dutch coin from 1925.

Series III contains photographs and ephemera that do not clearly fall within Series I or II. Pre-war black and white photographs and post-war color photographs document locations in Berlin and elsewhere in Germany with family connections, as well as a series of very small photographs of family members, each labeled “1939”.

Most ephemera are housed within Series I and II when their connection to Arnold or Werner is known. Ephemera in Series III are comprised of Israeli and Israel-related first day covers, and Israeli stamps collected but not arranged or mounted. 2 small opera glasses in cases have been removed to the LBI Art and Objects Collection.

Dates

  • undated, 1892-2008
  • Majority of material found within 1938-1974

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English; some French and Hebrew is noted at the series level.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection.

Biographical Notes

Arnold Stein

Arnold Stein was born on January 16, 1890 in Burgsinn, Germany to Amalia (variously Malchen, Malchien) née Blum (1868-circa 1942) and Isaak Stein (1856-1906). He grew up in Burgsinn and served in the German army during World War I. He was wounded twice in August 1914 and discharged in 1916. Arnold became a Jewish teacher in Duisburg, and was engaged to Gertrude (variously Trude, Gertrud) Rosenthal in January 1917. He moved to Berlin in April 1919 where he continued to teach; he and Gertrude were married on April 18, 1920.

In 1922 Arnold bought the printing business Lindemann and Ludecke, a graphic arts offset letterpress company that printed posters, brochures and advertising prints largely for arts and entertainment companies. Marianne was born in 1922 and Werner in 1925. According to Werner’s later translation of Arnold’s personal timeline, a “boycott took [his] business down”; the sale of the business to Otto Conrad was finalized in 1939. Arnold and Otto corresponded after Arnold emigrated, and worked out additional details of the sale of the business.

The family received visas to Australia, as well as to Bolivia and Cuba, and left Germany on July 29, 1939. They stopped briefly in the Netherlands and arrived in London August 12th. All of their belongings were shipped to Australia, but before they arrived war was declared, and the ship returned with its cargo to Hamburg. Arnold corresponded for years with the shipping company and the insurer over reimbursement for the loss; he also corresponded into the 1970s on issues of restitution for specific property including the forced sale of his printing business in 1939.

On October 24th, 1940, the family departed from Liverpool on the S.S. Baltrover. The ship was attacked by a U-boat and an airplane before docking in Boston. The family traveled the last leg of their journey, by bus, to New York.

The family settled in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York City, and not long after were joined nearby by Arnold’s brother Ludwig and his wife Erna. Arnold opened a printing business. Arnold participated in the American war effort by buying war bonds, and in connection with the Immigrant Victory Council, after many hours as a volunteer, was inducted into the United States Citizen Service Corps in 1945.

Both Arnold and Gertrude applied for restitution for their home in Berlin and their family’s homes in Germany on behalf of those who had been murdered in the war. They also applied for restitution in connection with Arnold’s printing business, jewelry and all of their household goods that were not recovered after being sent back to Germany before reaching Australia.

Arnold died on July 29, 1974. Gertrude died in 1981.
Werner A. Stein

Werner Arnold Stein was born in Berlin on April 15, 1925 to Gertrude née Rosenthal and Arnold Stein. Amid the growing danger for the Jewish community across Germany, Werner observed his bar mitzvah on April 30, 1938 at the Prinzregenten Synagogue (which was destroyed November 9, 1938).

Werner attended the Goethe School from 1931 to 1936 according to school records in the collection. When Jewish students were forced to leave public schools in Berlin, Werner was sent to the Private Waldschule Kaliski, where the students, who were all Jewish, were taught survival skills as well as regular subjects; there is documentation of Werner’s attendance at the Waldschule from 1936 to February 1939. From April 1939 through the end of June 1939 Werner attended a private trade school of the Jewish community in Berlin.

The family emigrated from Germany to temporary haven in London. During the year and a half, they were in London, Werner took a “course of studies” at the Gregg Schools, September 1939 to July 1940, where he studied shorthand, typewriting, English and bookkeeping. He joined the Boy Scouts while in London, and in his Boy Scout diary for 1939-1940 Werner included entries on scout meetings, movies, and a few very brief details of the family’s dangerous journey by ship from Liverpool to Boston during October and November 1940.

The family settled in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York City soon after arriving in the United States. Werner attended evening classes at Straubenmuller Textile High School in Manhattan while working at a machine shop during the day to help support his family. While still a teenager Werner joined a chapter in Forest Hills, Queens of the youth group of the New World Club, the organization that published the German-Jewish newspaper Aufbau. After high school, he began studying at the College of the City of New York, School of Business and Civic Administration in 1944; with gaps (and credits) for Army service, Werner graduated in 1950. By 1948 Werner was a United States citizen, and he served as a poll watcher in Queens during the 1948 presidential election. He served twice in the United States Army; he was discharged the first time in 1947 and again, after enlisting in 1948, in 1952, after working as an assistant to the Jewish chaplains at Fort Custer, Michigan. He followed his father into the printing business.

In 1954 Werner married Helga Marcus Stein, who was born in Leipzig, Germany and emigrated in 1938 with her parents at the age of five to the United States. They had two daughters, Barbara Stein Katz and Susan Stein Shore and six grandchildren born between 1988 and 1994. Werner remained very involved with Aufbau throughout his adult life, for many years as the chairman of the paper and as treasurer of the New World Club. He became involved in the leadership of his synagogue in Great Neck and maintained a connection with the German-Jewish Congregation Habonim in Manhattan. Helga supported various Jewish fundraising and civic organizations, both by active participation on their boards and by playing in tennis tournaments in Great Neck.

Werner died in 2017.

Extent

1.5 Linear Feet

3 Folders (3 oversized folders)

Abstract

This collection contains the personal papers of Arnold Stein (1890-1974) and Werner A. Stein (1925-2017), a Jewish German-born father and son who fled Berlin, Germany in 1939 with their immediate family, Arnold’s wife Gertrude and daughter Marianne. The family settled in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York, where Arnold opened a printing business.

The collection includes correspondence and documentation of Arnold’s printing business in Berlin; his World War I German army service; his marriage with Gertrude Rosenthal; and the family’s emigration from Germany. Also documented are Werner’s schooling; United States army service; longtime involvement with the German-Jewish newspaper Aufbau; marriage to Helga Marcus and their lives in Great Neck, New York with their two daughters, Susan and Barbara. The collection also includes documentation on Stein, Rosenthal and Marcus genealogy and family history.

Arrangement

The records are arranged in three series:
  1. Series I: Arnold Stein Papers, undated, 1892-1981
  2. Series II: Werner A. Stein Papers, undated, 1906-2008
  3. Series III: Photographs and Ephemera, undated, 1918-1983

Related Materials

Werner Stein Collection; AR 10775; Leo Baeck Institute

Aufbau (New York, N.Y.: 1934-2004); C14 online; Leo Baeck Institute

Waldschule reunion – Joseph Berger, “No Ordinary Reunion; Berlin Stories from Special Alumni”, The New York Times, November 10, 1992, https://www.nytimes.com/1992/11/10/nyregion/no-ordinary-reunion-berlin-stories-from-special-alumni.html?searchResultPosition=6, accessed December 15, 2020.

Aufbau – Michael T. Kaufman, “Exiles Who Fled for Lives Sustain German Culture”, The New York Times, December 3, 1994, https://www.nytimes.com/1994/12/03/nyregion/about-new-york-exiles-who-fled-for-lives-sustain-german-culture.html?searchResultPosition=4, accessed December 15, 2020.

Separated Materials

8 items have been transferred to the Leo Baeck Institute Art and Objects collection: Dutch coin Portrait painting “Kayser Carl des Funften peinliche Halsgerichtsordnung” Tie-stretcher Dreidel Plate 2 posters 2 small opera glasses in cases Piquet (most likely) cards in a decorated zippered leather case Pendant with photograph of Paul Marcus

Books originally with the collection have been transferred to the Leo Baeck Institute Library, including cookbooks and German children’s books.

Processing Information

Materials were rehoused into archival folders. Where folder titles were descriptive of the folder contents they were retained on the new folders. New folder titles were created when additional levels of description were needed for ease of access and intellectual clarity, or when the contents required intellectual rearrangement; in some cases, a photocopy of the original folder has been placed in the new folder. Family history documents were rearranged when necessary to clarify family connections with Arnold, Werner, or their wives. Fragile documents were placed in archival polyester sleeves. Oversized documents were transferred to an oversized folder.

Loose photographs were placed in archival envelopes and grouped together in a folder in Series III; a few photographs were found with related documents and were retained there in Series I and II. Documentary photographs of homes and cemeteries in Germany were removed from their binder, in original sleeves, and placed in an archival folder. Loose Israeli stamps were removed from the collection. First day covers and stamps on envelopes were retained for their contextual data and as a sample of the family’s stamp collecting. Small objects were retained with documents in Series I and II where intellectually related; other ephemera were removed to the Art and Objects Collection. In all cases these items were wrapped in archival tissue and labeled.
Title
Guide to the Papers of Arnold and Werner A. Stein
Author
Susan Woodland
Date
2020
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

Contact:
15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States