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Walther Rothschild Collection

Identifier: AR 25798

Scope and Contents

The series contains typescripts of Walther Rothschild. The bulk of the collection are drafts of an unpublished novel titled De Profundis. Rothschild shared the manuscript with family and friends, but never published it. De Profundis tells the story of the Herford family after Hitler's rise to power. The three male generations of the Herford’s featured predominantly in the novel exemplify the German-Jewish middle-class experience in the 1930s and 1940s. Included are also materials pertaining to the manuscript, like a table of contents and annotated copies of novel. The series also contains “Doch draussen stümt es” (But Outside There is a Storm) a typed journal of Walther’s life after his move to California during the war. It also includes Rothchild’s recollections of his life in Europe in the lead up to the war and his emigration out of Germany. Lastly, the series includes “Wiedersehen mit Europa” (Reunion with Europe), a travel report written by Rothschild about his visit to Europe in 1956. The travel report describes the changes that occurred in Germany since the war and ask s the question whether Germany could once again become an authoritarian state. The report also gives a detailed account of Rothschild’s return to Frankfurt, which seemed so foreign to him after the war.


  • Creation: undated, 1941-1956


Language of Materials

The collection is in German.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Use Restrictions

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

Biographical Note

Walther Rothschild was born on January 23, 1879 in Wuppertal (Rhineland). He lived there until his move to Bonn, Germany for university. After two semesters, he returned to Frankfurt, Germany where he eventually completed his doctorate studies in philosophy at the University of Freiburg. He started his own publishing house in 1905 in Berlin. In 1935, he was forced to sell his company under the discriminatory laws of Nazi Germany. Rothschild left Berlin for Freiburg with his wife and lived there until 1938. Warned of his impending arrest during the Kristallnacht, Walther fled with his wife and joined his daughters in Switzerland.

The Rothschilds eventually moved to London, England. Walther was soon interned at the Isle of Wight as an “enemy alien.” Through the continual efforts of his wife, he was freed from internment. They fled once again and finally settled in California, where he wrote his manuscript De Profundis, a story about the daily life of the German-Jewish upper middle class after Hitler's rise to power. Rothschild visited Europe in 1956, for the first time since the war. Walther Rothschild passed away in December 1957 in Carmel, California.


1 Linear Feet


The collection contains typescripts by Walther Rothschild, a publisher, scholar and author. The writing includes journals, drafts of an unpublished novel, and a travel report.


The collection consists of a single series: Series I: Typescripts, undated, 1941-1956.

Related Materials

Another typescript draft of Walther Rothschild’s novel “De Profundis” is available in the LBI Archives, call number: MS 135.

Separated Materials

Books and published journals have been moved to the LBI Library: Handbuch der Politik (several volumes); Die Justiz (several volumes); Staat und Menschheit; Rothschild's PhD thesis “Der Gedanke der geschriebenen Verfassung in der englischen Revolution; Deutsch-Französische Rundschau (many issues).

Processing Information

Original order when applicable was preserved. The collection is arranged into one series titled “Typescripts, undated, 1941-1956,” and divided into sixteen folders.

Guide to the Papers of Walther Rothschild
Agata Sobczak
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