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Elijahu (Ernst) and Sara (Mamina) Rappeport Collection

Identifier: LBIJER 923

Scope and Contents

Series I contains Austrian official documents and certificates of Elijahu, Sara, and their children (German, 1903-1931). The series also contain biographic materials published after their death (Hebrew, 1952-1980).

Series II contains correspondence. Subseries 1 includes Elijahu's correspondence with family, friends, colleagues and possibly love interests; among the correspondent are Martin Buber, Heinrich Gomperz, Richard Beer Hofmann, Hermann Hesse, and Lou Andreas-Salome (German and Hebrew, 1908-1944). Subseries 2 includes Sara's correspondence with family and friends; among the correspondents are Leopold Krakauer, Leo Mayer, and Arthur Stadler (German, English and Hebrew, 1921-1974, undated). Subseries 3 includes letters from various individuals, including the Rappeport children. (German, English and Hebrew, 1900-1974, undated).

Series III contains manuscripts, notes and correspondence pertaining to Elijahu's various interests; Subseries 1 includes materials concerning math and natural sciences; Subseries 2 includes materials relating to violin building and repairing; Subseries 3 includes Elijahu's drawings (German, English and Hebrew, 1908-1952, undated).

Series IV contains issues of Zionist journals which published Elijahu's articles: Der Jude, ESRA, Jüdische Jugendblätter, and Jüdische Zeitung (German, 1916-1928).

Series V contains manuscripts and drafts by Elijahu, pertaining to various subjects and creatives projects of him over the years. Most of the manuscripts exist in several versions, including drafts and translations; published works are listed in below. Subseries 1 includes manuscripts about philosophy, partly related to the dissertation about Spinoza (German, 1907-1921). Subseries 2 includes manuscripts of articles about Judaism and Zionism (German, 1908-1911). Subseries 3 includes different versions of "Das Buch Jeschua des Elijahu Ben Lasar": full manuscripts, drafts, early sketches of stories, plays, etc. The materials in this subseries pertaining both to the Jeschua section, published in 1920, and the unpublished Saulus section. (German, 1912-1929). Subseries 4 includes manuscripts and drafts of "Loblieder", as well as later translations of the poems to Hebrew and English (German, Hebrew, and English, 1917-1924, 2001). Subseries 5 includes various poems, mostly in draft form (German, 1919-1924, undated). Subseries 6 includes Elijahus' diary (German, 1937-1938). Subseries 7 includes manuscripts of children's stories and fairytales, as well as some translations of those (German, Hebrew, and English, 1914-1922, undated). Subseries 8 includes manuscripts of stories, articles and "conversations" (שיחות) pertaining to the life in the workers' group (Gdud Shomri'ya) at Bitanya Illit and kibbutz Beit Alfa (German and Hebrew, 1921-1925). Subseries 9 includes various drafts of unrecognized texts, as well as some writings relating to Hebrew and English learning (German, English, and Hebrew,1918-1950, undated).

Series VI contains Hebrew translations by Elijahu to Rilke, Romain Rolland, Georges Danton, and others (German and Hebrew, 1915-1952, undated).

Series VII contains various writings by Sara: diary, poetry, novel manuscripts, and memoirs (German and Hebrew, 1912-1947, undated).

Series VIII contains several photographs of the Rappeport family and other people of Beit Alfa and/or Ramat Yochanan.


  • 1900-2001


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English and Hebrew.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

The collection has been digitized.

Biographical / Historical

Elijahu Ernst Rappeport was born in January 19, 1889 in Neutra, Hungary, to a wealthy family of the liberal Jewish community. He graduated high school in Vienna and continued to learn math and physics Vienna and Göttingen Universities. In 1912 he married Sara Gelb, and moved to Basel University, where he began to study philosophy. In 1914 he submitted his dissertation, titled "Über die Substanzdefinition in Spinozas Ethik." With the break of World War I, Elijahu was drafted to the Austrian army and served in the eastern front until his injury in 1916, while Sara and their four children lived in Vienna. After the war, the couple became active in the local Zionist circles, hosting meetings of young Galician Zionists from HaShomer HaTza'ir pioneers' movement. Elijahu was also friend of Martin Buber and wrote for Zionist journals such as Der Jude and ESRA. In 1920, Elijahu published his most notable work, "Das Buch Jeschua des Elijahu Ben Lasar". This book is a fictional gospel, containing stories and fables about the life of Jesus written in pseud-biblical style. A second part, about Saulus (Paulus) remained in manuscript. In 1923, he published "Loblieder", a collection of religious poems written during his military service. In September 1920, Elijahu left Vienna to Palestine, joining a group of HaShomer HaTza'ir (Gdud Shomri'ya) workers. Sara and the children joined him a year later and the family became one of the founders of kibbutz Beit Alfa. In Beit Alfa, Elijahu established the first children's society of the Kibbutz movement and also worked as shoemaker. In 1930, he left the kibbutz for Tel Aviv, while his family stayed behind. He traveled to Czechoslovakia to learn the craft of violin building, and continued to write and translate in Hebrew and German. Elijahu Rappeport passed away in March 28, 1952.

Sara 'Mamina' Gelb was born in March 22, 1890 in Pressburg, Bratislava and to an orthodox Jewish family, descendent of the Hatam Sofer. In 1900, the family moved to Vienna, where Sara graduated high school and become a member of the Zionist youth movement Blau Weiss. In 1912, after graduating high school and a short period at Vienna University, she married Elijahu Ernst Rappeport and followed him to Göttingen. Sara and their four children lived through World War I in Vienna, while Elijahu served in the Austrian army. After the war, the family's house became a center of Zionist youth, who called Sara 'Mamina' – Polish for mom. In October 1921, Sara and the children migrated to Palestine and joined Elijahu in a workers' camp that would later become kibbutz Beit Alfa. In the kibbutz, Sara was in charge of the kitchen operation and over the years continued to instruct other kibbutzim on the subject. She also wrote a novel and other literary works in German, none of them were published at the time. In 1937, she went to Europe in order to join the Spanish Civil War, but eventually did not make it to Spain. In 1940, due to an internal dispute, a group of members, including Sara, left Beit Alfa for kibbutz Ramat Yochanan. Sara continued to be politicly active and remained a member of Ramat Yochanan until her death in November 7, 1980, at the age of 90.

Elijahu and Sara had five children: Elazar (1911) and Esther (1913) were born in Göttingen. In Vienna they had twins, Rephael and Reuven (1917); Reuven died before his second birthday. In Beit Alfa, Gavriel (1924), their youngest son, was born; he became later a colonel in the Israeli army.


105 Folders


The collection contains various materials pertaining to the lives and writings of Elijahu and Sara Rappeport. The majority of the collection is dedicated to Elijahu's writings about Zionism, religion, poetry, and more. The file also includes correspondence, clippings, certificates, and some photographs.


This collection is arranged in 8 series.

  1. Series I: Official Documents, 1903-1980
  2. Series II: Correspondence, 1900-1974, undated
  3. Series III: Interests, 1908-1952, undated
  4. Series IV: Journals, 1916-1928
  5. Series V: Manuscripts, 1907-1950, 2001
  6. Series VI: Translations, 1915-1952, undated
  7. Series VII: Sara Rappeport's writings, 1912-1947, undated
  8. Series VIII: Photographs, undated
Processed by Meirav Reuveny
© 2023
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