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George Manasse Family Material

Identifier: AR 25861

Scope and Contents

The George Manasse Family Material is a collection of the papers of the families of the businessman George Manasse and his wife Anne-Marie Manasse (née Simon). The collection includes correspondence, photographs, a diary, notebooks, and memorabilia.

Most prominent in this collection is the large amount of correspondence of Series II. Much of this correspondence relates to the Manasse family's emigration from Stockholm to the United States, and George Manasse's extended stay in Japan and extensive search for a transit visa in order to make his way to the United States and join his family. The letters also provide some information about their journey to the United States. Other topics among the correspondence include family news, trips, descriptions of places visited, and some information on business activities of George Manasse or family members, among many other topics.

Other types of family member papers will be found among the collection. Notable are the diary of Anne-Marie Manasse (née Simon) and the Yahrzeit books of family members in Series I, and the handwritten notebooks of family ancestor Rabbi Jacob Cahana Spiro in Series III. Series III additionally documents the books of the Manasse family originally donated with the archival collection.

Some memorabilia collected by family members will be found in both Series I and Series III. These consist of both German inflation currency and small postage stamp collections assembled by an unidentified family member.

A small amount of family photographs are located in both Series I and Series II. The photographs of Series I consist of photocopies of photographs of family members as well as a folder of photographic postcards that depict the town and countryside of Margonin, from which many Manasse ancestors came. Series II includes a few photographs of George Manasse, found among the correspondence.


  • 1710
  • 1803-1813
  • 1916-2013


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English, Swedish, and Hebrew.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical Note

Georg Manasse descended from a Jewish family from the small town of Margonin (Prussia/ Poland), where he was born on May 28, 1893, the fifth child of Mannheim Manasse and his wife Rebekka; he had six brothers and one sister. It was in Margonin that Mannheim Manasse opened a small department store, called M. Manasse. After the defeat of Germany in World War I, and the resulting border change, Mannheim and Rebekka Manasse moved to Schneidemühl, where Mannheim Manasse established a construction company, Manasse & Sons. Partly due to the ill health of Rebekka, Mannheim then moved the family to Dresden, until after the death of Rebekka in 1931, when Mannheim moved to Berlin, where he lived until his death in 1938.

In 1906 Georg Manasse began attending the Sophien Gymnasium in Berlin; from 1909-1912 he had an apprenticeship in Berlin with the company Königsberger, a textile manufacturer. After meeting with Simon Schocken, whom he had known from his childhood in Margonin, Georg Manasse began working in 1912 in the department store of Alfred Karseboom, part of a larger group of stores owned by the Schocken family in the town of Wismar. The following year Simon Schocken moved Georg Manasse to the Schocken central buying office in Zwickau. Later that year he became the manager of a new Schocken store in Frankenberg. After the outbreak of World War I, Georg Manasse registered for the draft, but was rejected. In 1915 he became director of the branch of the Schocken company in Cottbus until he contracted tuberculosis on a business trip.

During the war, Georg's brother Hugo died of his wartime injuries. Following the war, Georg Manasse lived for a short time in Posen, where he came to know Rabbi Leo Baeck. While on business trips for the Schocken company, he was hospitalized during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1919; his brother Hermann also fell victim to the disease but did not survive it. Following the end of the war Georg Manasse returned to work at the Schocken head offices in Zwickau in spring 1919. By 1923 he had become general director in the Schocken firm. He was hard working, gave many lectures and talks, saw to the education of Schocken personnel, and he was also involved in the management and opening of new stores. In 1926, Georg Manasse established his own department store in the town of Mühlhausen, modeled after the Schocken department stores; it was run by his sister Hedwig, her husband Withold Freudenheim, and Albert Manasse.

In summer 1927 Georg Manasse came to Bingen am Rhein while on a wine buying trip, where he met Anne-Marie Simon. The couple married on December 12, 1927. In 1928 they moved to their newly built home in Niederhohndorf. They would have two children: Klaus (born 1929, later spelled Claus after immigration) and Renate (born 1930).

By 1932, due to the illness of Salman Schocken, Georg Manasse had taken over many aspects of heading the Schocken firm. After Salman Schocken's withdrawal from the company at the beginning of 1934, there were disagreements regarding the future leadership of the Schocken firm and in June 1934, Georg Manasse left the firm. Meanwhile, the Manasse department store in Mühlenhausen had suffered greatly under the Nazi boycott, and the family members sold it in 1938.

After considering various emigration plans, by 1935 Georg Manasse had entered into an agreement to run a department store in Stockholm, part of a chain under the ownership of C.E. Herman Meeths. On July 29, 1935, Georg, Anne-Marie, and their children left for Stockholm. Due to the difficulties of being an outsider and pressure from Nazi groups in Stockholm, Manasse left the company in November 1936. He then established his own textile factory in Stockholm, including bringing his previous secretary from Germany to work for him. By August 1939 the Manasses had lost their German citizenship, due to being Jewish; by May 1940 they lost access to their financial assets in Germany. After the fall of Denmark and Norway fell to Nazi Germany, the Manasses looked to emigrate once again.

The family intended to immigrate to the United States, where Anne-Marie's sister, Leonie (called Lolo) Wulf lived. Since Anne-Marie had been born in Strasbourg, she (and by extension her children) came under the French immigration quota for the United States. On June 22, 1940 the family left Sweden, traveling to the United States by way of flights to Riga and Moscow, and then took the Trans-Siberian Railway to Vladivostok, and then traveled by boat until they came to Yokohama, Japan, where the family discovered that due to changes in the American immigration policy, only Anne-Marie and the children could board a ship to continue on to the United States; Georg required a new visa. The family separated, and on July 27, 1940 Anne-Marie and the children arrived in San Francisco on the ship Kamakura Maru. Meanwhile, Georg worked to receive a temporary visa from various South and Central American countries. In America, Anne-Marie frequently traveled from where she stayed with her sister's family in Richmond, Virginia to Washington, D.C., where she advocated in person for a visa for her husband. Eventually, Georg received a visa for Panama and left Japan on November 22, 1940 on the ship Hie Maru. He arrived in San Francisco on December 9, 1940. Anne-Marie had been able to arrange that he received a two-week visitor's visa so he was able to stay long enough to celebrate Hanukkah with his family. After a stay in Montreal, Canada, he was finally able to legally immigrate to the United States in February 1941.

After the family's reunification, they found a home in New Rochelle, New York. George Manasse established Scan Manufacturing, Inc. in New York City, which produced men's work shirts, men's jackets, and children's coats. He later established Scan Corporation, a Scandinavian import export company that had its offices in Rockefeller Center. During a trip to Sweden in 1954, George Manasse had a heart attack and the family moved to Scarsdale, New York. He retired from his company in 1965.

Both George and Anne-Marie Manasse were early supporters of the Leo Baeck Institute. George Manasse became a member of the LBI's Board of Directors. In the 1960s Anne-Marie Manasse was chair of the Women's Auxiliary of the Institute.

Anne-Marie died in 1974; George Manasse passed away in Scarsdale in 1980.


1.25 Linear Feet

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


This collection contains family papers of the businessman George Manasse, as well as papers of his wife, Anne-Marie Manasse (née Simon) and extended family members. Most prominent in this collection is the immigration correspondence of the couple. The collection also includes personal papers, photographs, sermons, a diary, inflation currency and ration coupons, and other material.


The collection is arranged in three series.

  1. Personal Papers, 1914-1947
  2. Correspondence, 1939-1963
  3. Books and Albums, 1710, 1803-1813, 1858-2013

Related Materials

Related are two other archival collections in the LBI Archives:

  • George Manasse Collection, 1923-1989 (call number AR 6379)
  • Manasse Daily Record, 1935-1936 (call number AR 5137)

The LBI Library also holds a biography of George Manasse by Jürgen Nitsche, in both English and German:

  • Georg Manasse : Schockens Generaldirektor, Unternehmer, Sozialdemokrat, Pazifist (call number st 7226)
  • Georg Manasse : Schocken’s chief executive officer, businessman, social democrat, pacifist (call number st 7235)

Separated Materials

Three linear feet of books were removed to the LBI Library.

Processing Information

The collection was organized into three series by genre. The two large boxes of correspondence of Series II were further subdivided chronologically or by correspondent. Three linear feet of books were removed from the archival collection to the LBI Library, with lists of titles retained in the collection, along with copies of titles, dedications, and any handwritten notes.

Guide to the Papers of the George Manasse Family Material
Processed by Dianne Ritchey
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