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Rudolph Shaffert Family Collection

Identifier: AR 25896

Scope and Contents

The papers of Rudolph Shaffert document the lives of Rudolph Shaffert, born Rudolf Schafranik, and his wife Irma and son Kurt from their origins in Vienna to their eventual settlement in the United States during the Second World War. The collection contains Rudolph Shaffert’s personal and official correspondence spanning both world wars including his letters from Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps, 1938-1939. Furthermore, the collection testifies to his and his wife’s efforts to escape Austria via England and emigrate to the United States. It includes passports from the German Reich and financial records, as well as birth, school, and family origin certificates from Austria. It also contains various membership cards, driver’s licenses and gun permits issued to Rudolph and Irma Shaffert in Austria, England, and the United States. The collection also includes the personal and official documents of Kurt Shaffert and his uncle Leo Allen as well as a folder of photographs of the Shaffert family dating 1911 to 1966.


  • 1906-1996
  • Majority of material found within 1934-1967


Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical Note

Rudolph Shaffert was born Rudolf Schafranik in 1897 in Vienna, Austria and died in 1950 in New York City. Rudolph graduated from a commercial academy, Neue Wiener Handelsakademie, in Vienna and went on to fight in World War I. He was poisoned with mustard gas and was granted a disability pension due to his sustained injuries. Afterwards he started working for the life insurance company Gisela Verein until 1920 and then moved on to the bank KOLA & Co. In 1922 Rudolph married Irma Altar in Vienna and had a son, Kurt, born July 20, 1929, in Vienna, Austria.

In 1936 Rudolph was an employee for the Life Insurance Phönix and then moved on to work as a commercial affairs manager for a fruit and vegetable preserving factory in Vienna for the next two years. In May 1938, Rudoph was rounded up on Vienna’s streets by the Nazis and sent to the Dachau concentration camp and from there to Buchenwald. He was released in 1939 due to the intervention of his wife, Irma. He emigrated to England, where he was placed in the Kitchener Camp, Kent, and from there he organized the emigration of his wife and son Kurt from Vienna to the United States. In 1940 the family succeeded in being reunited and emigrated to the United States, where they remained. Rudolph Shaffert worked as a supervisor in a chemical factory in Long Island City until his death in 1950.


0.5 Linear Feet


The collection contains Rudolph Shaffert’s personal and official correspondence, restitution claims, newspaper clippings, photographs, and official documents from Austria and the United States as well as immigration records from the United States. It includes official and personal documents and photographs from other family members.


This collection is organized by topic in three series.

  • Series I: Rudolph and Irma Shaffert (née Altar), 1906-1996
  • Series II: Other Shaffert Family Members, 1943-1986
  • Series III: Photographs, 1911-1966

Processing Information

The materials were rehoused in acid-free folders and envelopes and rearranged to form series.

Guide to the Papers of the Rudolph Shaffert Family
Processed by Simona Sivkoff-Livneh
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