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Paul and Margaret A. Engel Collection

Identifier: AR 25921

Scope and Contents

The primary component of the collection is files pertaining to the restitution claims of Paul Engel, his wife Margaret A. Engel née Elikann, Margaret’s sister Selma Hacker née Elikann, and Selma’s husband Carl Hacker. Common documents include filled-out claim forms, correspondence with lawyers, correspondence with relevant governmental agencies in Germany and the United States, correspondence amongst legal heirs, correspondence with banks, financial records, including bank statements, and clippings. Their claims focus on the estates of their respective parents and include requests for compensation for property, household belongings and valuables, businesses, lost income, bank accounts, and life insurance policies.

Correspondence in the collection includes both wartime and post-war correspondence; the earliest correspondence dates from 1938 through 1942. Included are letters to Selma Hacker née Elikann from family in Karlsruhe after her immigration to the United States in 1939. Box 2, Folder 7 contains letters sent to Selma from her family in Gurs from 1940 until 1942. Letters in Box 2, Folder 2 cover the years 1938 through 1941 and document the Engel family’s immigration to the United States. Post-war correspondence includes a mix of personal and family updates and discussion of the family’s restitution claims. Series II also contains one folder of vital records.


  • undated, 1929-1988


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, with some English and a small amount of French and Dutch.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Readers may access the collection by visiting the Lillian Goldman Reading Room at the Center for Jewish History. We recommend reserving the collection in advance; please visit the LBI Online Catalog and click on the "Request" button.

Biographical / Historical

Engel Family
Benedikt Engel was born on January 18, 1854, in Neidenstein, Germany. He was married to Anna Regina Engel née Fischel. Anna was born on August 23, 1860, in Ingenheim, Germany. She died on January 28, 1930, in Herxheim bei Landau/Pfalz.

Benedikt Engel operated the weaving mill that had been run on his property at Obere Hauptstrasse 12 in Herxheim since it was founded in 1843 under the name Moses Wolf. He was an employee of the company from 1877 to 1884, a partner from 1884 to 1899, and sole owner from 1899 to 1939. The company name was changed to Moses Wolf Nachfolger in 1899. Benedikt’s son Paul Moses Engel worked with him in the business from 1912 until February 1939, except for his years of service during World War I. On February 1, 1939, the company was compulsorily handed over to August Braun, who continued to run it under the name Leinenweberei Herxheim Braun & Co. Benedikt Engel lived in Herxheim until April 1939, at which point he moved to Karlsruhe. Benedikt Engel died on August 19, 1940, in Karlsruhe.

Benedikt and Anna Engel had four children: Eva, Elisa (Lisa), Paul Moses, and Helene Barbara. Eva was born on May 12, 1888, in Herxheim. She married Gustav Rosenthal on September 5, 1911, in Herxheim. Gustav was born on August 19, 1885, in Hohebach, Germany. Gustav and Eva had three daughters. Gertrud Regina Skall, widowed Kahn, née Rosenthal was born on September 7, 1912, in Herxheim. Margarete (Margret) Rosalie Ejger née Rosenthal was born on January 19, 1914, in Herxheim. Johanna (Joanne) Rosenthal was born on January 1, 1919, in Herxheim. Eva died on January 23, 1936, in Herxheim. Gustav lived in Herxheim at Obere Hauptstrasse 16/20 until April 1939, at which point he moved to Karlsruhe. He was deported to Gurs in October 1940, then to Auschwitz in August 1942, where he perished.

Elisa (Lisa) Engel was born on October 4, 1890, in Herxheim. Lisa was deported to Gurs in October 1940 and from there to Auschwitz on August 10, 1942, where she perished. Helene Barbara Laudensack née Engel was born on May 2, 1900, in Herxheim. Helene was married to Heinrich Laudensack. They had one son, Ernst Gunther Vinzenz Laudensack.

Paul Moses Engel was born on March 25, 1894, in Herxheim bei Landau/Pfalz. He married Margaretha Anna (Margaret A.) Elikann on January 15, 1924, in Hagenbach. Their first son Wilhelm (William) Harvey was born on October 22, 1924, in Herxheim. Their second son Herbert Heinrich (Henry) Engel was born on June 13, 1929, in Herxheim. The family immigrated to the United States in March 1939. Paul Engel died on August 29, 1972. Margaret A. Engel died on February 23, 1988.

Elikann Family
Maximilian Elikann was born on December 25, 1868, in Hagenbach, Germany. His sister Wilhelmine (Mina) Adler née Elikann was born on November 9, 1870, in Hagenbach. She married Karl Adler on May 24, 1899, in Hagenbach. Their son Hans Heinrich Adler was born March 25, 1901, in Heuchelheim. Karl Adler died on May 9, 1928, in Heuchelheim. Hans Heinrich Adler was deported from Mannheim to Gurs in October 1940 and then to Auschwitz in August 1942. Wilhelmine Adler was deported from Mannheim to Theresienstadt in August 1942, and from there to Treblinka the next month. Both Wilhelmine and Hans Heinrich perished in the Holocaust.

Maximilian’s sister Isabella (Bella) Blum née Elikann was born on July 8, 1881, in Hagenbach. Her husband Karl Arthur Blum (Arthur Blum) was born on May 29, 1881, in Hagenbach and died in 1939 in Karlsruhe. In October 1940, Bella was deported from Karlsruhe to Gurs. In August 1942 she was deported to Auschwitz, where she perished.

Maximilian Elikann’s wife Juliane (Julie) Elikann née Baer was born on November 25, 1877, in Rodalben, Germany. They had five children: Margaretha Anna (Margaret A.), Selma (known as Liesel), Anna, Heinrich, and Else. Margaret A. Engel née Elikann was born on December 19, 1900, in Hagenbach. Selma Hacker née Elikann was born on May 6, 1904, in Hagenbach. Selma Elikann immigrated to New York in May 1939. She married Carl Joseph Hacker on August 21, 1948, in New York.

Anna Elikann was born on March 7, 1906, in Hagenbach. Heinrich Elikann was born on June 2, 1909, in Hagenbach. Else Elikann was born on April 18, 1912, in Hagenbach. The three youngest Elikann siblings with their parents were deported from Karlsruhe to Gurs in October 1940 and to Auschwitz in August 1942. Maximilian, Julie, Anna, Heinrich, and Else all perished in the Holocaust.

Selma Hacker née Elikann’s husband Carl was born on April 7, 1901, in Kolomea, then in Poland. His parents were Abraham Hacker and Rosa Hacker née Berger. Abraham was born on March 15, 1868, in Kolomea and died on April 19, 1943, in Theresienstadt. Rosa was born on May 16, 1873, in Kolomea and died on December 2, 1941, in Dortmund, Germany.


1.5 Linear Feet


The collection is comprised of files pertaining to the restitution claims of Paul Engel, his wife Margaret A. Engel née Elikann, Margaret’s sister Selma Hacker née Elikann, and Selma’s husband Carl Hacker, along with wartime and post-war family correspondence.


Restitution files and correspondence in the collection arrived at the Leo Baeck Institute organized into manila envelopes, each with a note about the envelope’s contents. The groupings of the envelopes were maintained, and the notes retained in the folder titles.

The collection is arranged by document type in two series:
Series I: Restitution Files, undated, 1938-1988
Series II: Correspondence and Vital Documents, undated, 1929-1982

Separated Materials

Materials pertaining to the Isachar Widows and Orphans Benevolent Society, including copies of two large, rolled charts of the society’s burial plots in the Mt. Zion Cemetery in Maspeth, N.Y., the society’s charter (1862), constitution and by-laws (1943), an order and judgment approving the first and final report audit and petition in the matter of the liquidation of the society (2002), and ledger labeled as “sick benefits paid out,” have been removed to Isachar Widows and Orphans Benevolent Society (AR 12137).

Processing Information

During processing, all materials were removed from the manila envelopes in which they were originally housed, and the envelopes discarded. All items in the collection were rehoused in archival folders and boxes. Paperclips were removed and duplicates and blank forms were discarded.

Guide to the Paul and Margaret A. Engel Collection
Sarah Glover
© 2022
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