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Shimon Schwarzschild Collection

Identifier: AR 26006

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of three series. Series I encompasses Shimon Schwarzschild’s family papers and genealogical information, as well as his correspondence with friends from Wertheim and the city’s mayor, Karl Scheuermann and travel arrangements about his trip to Wertheim. Also included are his manuscripts, “If Stones Could Talk,” “My German Childhood,” “The Reception”, and “Language of Shadows”. The series documents his life before leaving Germany and after his return there 40 years later, as well as correspondence with German and American friends while writing his manuscripts.

Photographs in Series II document the visit of Schwarzschild and his family to his birthplace, Wertheim 40 years later in 1975. They show his house, his school, a reunion with former classmates and neighbors, and a trip to Italy with friends. This series is one third of the collection and the photographs are in color, arranged chronologically.

Finally, Series III holds his correspondence and other materials about his creation of the documentary film, “Transcending Terror.” Also included are materials about the Stolpersteine (“Stumbling Stones”) project; Schwarzschild’s visit to Wertheim’s secondary school (Comenius Realschule) and his interactions with its students; and newspaper clippings pertaining to Wertheim’s Jewish community and former Jewish residents of Wertheim coming back to visit the town.


  • Creation: 1975-2019

Language of Materials

The collection is in English and German.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact: Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011 email:

Biographical Note

The journalist, filmmaker, and environmental activist Siegbert (Bert) Shimon Schwarzschild was born in Wertheim, Germany on December 25, 1925, into an Orthodox Jewish family of cattle dealers, the son of Adolf Abraham (born December 14, 1887, Wertheim, Germany) and Rosalie Birk (born July 10, 1892, Laudenbach, Germany). Shimon’s father and his brothers Siegfried and Sampson fought in World War I. At the age of ten, Schwarzschild and his family left Wertheim and arrived in New Jersey, United States on February 2, 1936, escaping Nazi persecution. Schwarzschild graduated from Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He then attended Rutgers University, the New School for Social Research, and San Francisco State College. In August 1956, he married Effie (née Kuriloff), who taught at San Francisco Community College’s Child Development/Family Studies Department. They had three children, David, Nomi, and Daria. Schwarzschild served in the U.S. Navy in World War II and in the Korean War before being discharged with the rank of Lieutenant. In the 1960s, he lived with his family in San Francisco, where he left his engineering career in order to preserve, protect, and enhance community livability in San Francisco. He married his second wife Naomi Schechter in New York in 2004, Shimon Schwarzschild died in New York on November 10, 2021.


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The Shimon Schwarzschild Collection holds the materials of Shimon (Bert) Schwarzschild and his return to his birthplace of Wertheim, Germany. The collection documents his trips to Wertheim through photographs, newspaper clippings and correspondence with the town’s officials and friends, and manuscripts. It also holds materials on his documentary film “Transcending Terror.”


The collection is arranged in three series:

  • Series I: Family Papers, 1975, 2004
  • Series II: Photographs: Return to Wertheim, 1975
  • Series III: Correspondence and Documentary, 2010-2019

Related Materials

The LBI Library holds a related book:

Schaupp, Monika, Kleinehagenbrock, Frank, and Paczkowski, Jörg. Forschungen Zu Stadt Und Grafschaft Wertheim: Festschrift Für Erich Langguth Zum 95. Geburtstag / Herausgegeben Von Monika Schaupp, Frank Kleinehagenbrock Und Jörg Paczkowski. 2018. Print. Veröffentlichungen Des Historischen Vereins Wertheim; Band 10. (call number st 15261)

Separated Materials

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum CD with an interview with Shimon Schwarzschild, April 23, 2017, was removed. The interview is available online.

The following journal was removed from the collection: Israel-Forum: Zeitschrift für israelisch-deutsche Beziehungen. Volume XVII, Issue 3/1975, Verlag Israel-Forum, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.

Processing Information

Materials have been arranged chronologically and by document type, housed in acid-free folders. The photographs have been interleaved with archival sheets.

The following journal was removed from the collection: Israel-Forum: Zeitschrift für israelisch-deutsche Beziehungen. Volume XVII, Issue 3/1975, Verlag Israel-Forum, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.

Guide to the Papers of Shimon Schwarzschild
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