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Arthur Bluhm Collection

 Collection
Identifier: AR 1884 / MF 733

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the papers of Rabbi Arthur Bluhm, which largely focus on his professional life. In addition, the collection also holds material on Jews in Westphalia, especially in Krefeld, where he served as rabbi. The papers include correspondence, manuscripts, published articles, and official documents.

Items detailing Arthur Bluhm's professional life are located in several areas of the collection. The majority of these documents are contained in Series I: Personal. This series consists of papers such as educational certificates from universities, letters from congregations Arthur Bluhm worked for before becoming ordained, documents pertaining to his time as chief rabbi in Krefeld, a few immigration documents, and condolences and memorials after his death. Papers from Bluhm's time in Krefeld consist of congratulations and invitations from Jewish organizations after he became a rabbi for Krefeld as well as letters, notices, and official documents from government agencies in the 1930s. Letters sent by him to family members of others imprisoned in the Dachau concentration camp as well as a published account of the camp is also held in this series. Some biographical information on Bluhm is contained in Series I, especially among the material written about him after his death. Most of Bluhm's correspondence will be found in Series II. The letters include greetings, requests for immigration aid, and some letters from members of his congregation. There are four letters from Leo Baeck among the correspondence. Some compositions of Bluhm are also among the material in this collection, and will be found in Series III. Noteworthy writings consist of his doctoral dissertation and a textual analysis of the seventieth chapter of Hosea. In addition, essays, both published and in manuscript form are also located in Series III and contain writings such as memorial and funeral speeches, an article on the Jewish youth movement, and essays on Passover and Hanukkah.

Another subject well-represented in this collection is Jews in Westphalia, with emphasis on Krefeld. Some material on this topic will be found in every series, but is especially prevalent in Series IV: Krefeld Jewish Community and Series V: Papers of Abraham Sutro. Among the documents of Series I is a speech on the persecution of members of the Krefeld B'nai Brith Lodge. The letters from former congregants in Series II include updates of the fates of various individuals from the Krefeld community. In addition, Series II also holds letters from Fritz Leven describing the state of the community in 1947. Series IV consists of organizational papers and correspondence from or concerning Jewish institutions in Westphalia, primarily in Krefeld. Three articles on the region include a report and an essay by Helmut Hertz on the Jewish cemetery and synagogue in Krefeld and a newspaper clipping on Jews in the Rheinland and Westphalia. In addition, this series contains photocopies of photographs of the synagogue and a war memorial in Krefeld. A historical view of Jews in Westphalia is provided in the papers of Abraham Sutro, a chief rabbi of Westphalia. These documents, which date from the early to mid-1800s, comprise Series V and include government circulars and decrees on Jewish life in the Napoleonic Kingdom of Westphalia and the Prussian province of Westphalia.

Dates

  • 1809-1962

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English, and Hebrew.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

Collection is microfilmed (MF 733).

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: lbaeck@lbi.cjh.org

Biographical Note

Arthur Bluhm was born in Cekzin, West Prussia (now Poland). He attended the secondary school (Gymnasium) in the town of Konitz (now Chojnice, Poland), graduating in 1919. Bluhm continued his studies at the Universities of Berlin and Würzburg, studying philosophy and languages, and received his doctorate at Würzburg in 1924.

After completion of his university studies, Bluhm worked as a student rabbi in Berlin, teaching religion to secondary school students and officiating in synagogues. For seven months in 1927 he filled in for the head rabbi in Danzig, who was recovering from illness. It was there that Bluhm met his future wife, Hannah Heimann. That same year he returned to Berlin to study at the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums, where he received his ordination as a rabbi. He then went to Krefeld, taking the position of assistant rabbi. In January 1928 he went to Danzig to be married; the following month he became the head rabbi of Krefeld. Bluhm would continue to serve in this position for the next eleven years.

Arthur Bluhm was among the Jewish leaders arrested by the Nazis in the autumn of 1938. Although at first he was held in a local jail, he was sent to the Dauchau concentration camp in November 1938, and incarcerated there for twenty-two days before being ordered to leave Germany. Bluhm took a position as a lecturer in Holland for a short time before emigrating to the United States in 1939 with the help of professor Fritz Kaufmann.

His first position in America was as the assistant rabbi for the North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe, Illinois. In 1941 Bluhm became the rabbi of Temple B'nai Israel in Amarillo, Texas. He served in this position for the rest of his life, and established close ties within the Amarillo commuity, especially with other religious leaders. In addition to his rabbinic duties at the Temple, he worked as part-time chaplain for the Amarillo Air Force Base and was also active in the United Service Organization (USO) and many other organizations.

Arthur Bluhm died on July 18, 1962. His funeral service was attended by both Christian and Jewish leaders as well as an honor guard from the local Air Force base.

Extent

0.5 Linear Feet

Abstract

This collection is composed of the papers of Arthur Bluhm, chief rabbi of Krefeld, Germany between 1928 and 1938, and rabbi of Temple B'nai Israel in Amarillo, Texas. It documents his professional life and also holds records related to the Krefeld Jewish Community and the Jews in Westphalia. In addition, the collection contains the papers of Abraham Sutro, chief rabbi of Westphalia from 1815-1869.

Other Finding Aid

A detailed item-level inventory is available for the collection.

Separated Material

Original photographs have been removed to the LBI Photograph Collection. Photocopies of photographs are included in the collection.

Processing Information

The collection was reprocessed in May 2006 in preparation for the creation of the EAD finding aid. Part II: Reden, Aufsaetze and Part VI of the former paper inventory were combined to form Series III: Writings. Description was added and oversized materials were photocopied and placed in their respective folders in the collection.
Title
Guide to the Papers of Arthur Bluhm (1899-1962) 1809-1962 AR 1884 / MF 733
Status
In Progress
Author
Processed by Ilse Turnheim and Andrea Strauss
Date
© 2006
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from ArthurBluhm.xml

Revision Statements

  • February 06, 2012 : Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

Contact:
15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States