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Arnold Taenzer Collection

Identifier: AR 485

Scope and Content Note

This collection provides information on the work and life of Arnold Tänzer. Among the items in this collection are manuscripts and clippings, official documents, correspondence, and diaries. Noteworthy topics include the philosopher Moritz Lazarus, World War I and the role of rabbis therein, and the Jewish community of Göppingen.

Material on Moritz Lazarus will be found in Series III: Writings, among Tänzer's other writings, and is mainly comprised of notes and manuscripts. Many of the notes consist of typed copies of letters to and from Moritz Lazarus by Berthold Auerbach, Chayim Steinthal, Georg Brandes, and others. There is also a copy of a work written by David Baumgardt and an inventory of the Moritz Lazarus collection of the Jewish National and University Library. Several of Tänzer's published newspaper and journal articles in this series also have Moritz Lazarus as their main subject.

World War I is another area that often appears in this collection. Most of this material is located in Series IV. Among the documents related to this topic are diaries and correspondence written during Tänzer's service on the East Front, a list and clipping on Jewish soldiers during the War, and documents describing Taenzer's treatment as a veteran during the rising anti-Semitism of the 1930s. The folder "Official Documents Concerning Service as Army Chaplain" describes the official duties of Jewish rabbis serving in the field in World War I, while his own description of his service will be found in the aforementioned folder of documents relating to his status as a veteran. Other material on Jewish soldiers may also be found among the published items available in Series III. Arnold Tänzer's book on Brest-Litowsk, written during his military service, is mentioned in correspondence from military and government officials that will be found in Series II.

Finally, this collection also provides some information on the Jewish community of Göppingen. This is most prominently found in the manuscript of his work Die Geschichte der Juden in Württemberg, in Series III. In addition, a few of the published clippings also address the topic. Routine correspondence regarding his role as rabbi of the community will be found in Series II. A small amount of correspondence concerning memorials of Arnold Tänzer by the city of Göppingen will be found in Series I.


  • 1904-1996


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, Hebrew, and English.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Readers may access the collection by visiting the Lillian Goldman Reading Room at the Center for Jewish History. We recommend reserving the collection in advance; please visit the LBI Online Catalogand click on the "Request" button.

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


Biographical Note

Aron Tänzer was born in 1871 in Pressburg, Hungary (now Bratislava, Slovakia) to Heinrich and Marie Tänzer née Schlesinger. He began religious study at a very early age, and attended school in Pressburg. In 1885 he contined his education at the rabbinical college in Pressburg before completing his academic studies in universities in Berlin and Bern. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1895, he spent the next year traveling. In 1896 he married his first wife, Rosa.

From December 1896 until February 1905 Tänzer was rabbi for the towns of Hohenems (Vorarlberg) in Austria, then served until 1907 as rabbi in Merano, in the southern Tirol area of Italy. In September 1907 he became rabbi of Göppingen in Baden-Württemberg. In 1912 his wife died; the next year he was married for the second time, to a woman named Bertha. While in Göppingen, Tänzer became increasingly interested in advocating the establishment and support of a public library for the city. He assisted in the creation and development of this institution, which was established in 1911, and also assisted in its administration.

In 1914 Tänzer volunteered for military service and was assigned to the position of Army chaplain (Armeerabbiner) for the Bug-Armee (later called the Heeresgruppe Linsingen-Eichhorn-Kiew) and remained in this position for the duration of the war. In November 1918 he was sent home because of illness and was released from his position on January 20, 1919. It was in 1924 that he changed his first name to Arnold. Tänzer's military service earned him several awards, including the Iron Cross Second Class. In 1933 he was dismissed from the Göppingen War Veterans' Association (Veteranen- und Militär- Verein "Kampfgenossenschaft" Göppingen) for being a Non-Aryan.

Following his participation in World War I, Arnold Tänzer spent much of his time writing. Tänzer was perhaps most well-known for his scholarly and historical writing. Several of his manuscripts on Moritz Lazarus and his histories on local Jewish communities were written at this time. In addition to works of a religious or cultural nature, such as Die Mischehe in Religion, Geschichte, und Statistik der Juden, he also produced several works on local Jewish history in the areas where he worked as rabbi. These works include his Geschichte der Juden in Tirol und Vorarlberg (1905); Brest-Litowsk: Ein Wahrzeichen russischer Kultur im Weltkriege (1917); Die Geschichte der Juden in Jebenhausen und Göppingen (1927) and Die Geschichte der Juden in Württemberg (1937).

Arnold Tänzer died in 1937 in Göppingen at the age of 66.


1.5 Linear Feet


The Arnold Tänzer Collection documents the work and life of this German rabbi. Prominent topics of this collection include Moritz Lazarus, Jews in the German military, and the Jewish communities of Göppingen and Württemberg. The papers consist of manuscripts, official documents, diaries, correspondence, clippings, and a few photographs.


The collection is available on 3 reels of microfilm (MF 705):

  1. Reel 1: 1/1 - 1/20
  2. Reel 2: 1/21 - 1/29
  3. Reel 3: 1/30 - 2/16

Related Material

The LBI's William Nussbaum Collection (AR 10750) contains correspondence between Arnold Tänzer and William Nussbaum. Some published works of Arnold Tänzer will also be found in the LBI Library.

Some archives and museums in areas where Arnold Tänzer once lived hold some of his papers, including the Jüdisches Museum Hohenems and the Jüdisches Museum Göppingen. In addition, the City of Göppingen maintains a website on Jews in the Göppingen region with a biography containing photographs of Arnold Tänzer.

Separated Material

Photographs have been removed to the Photo Collection. A memoir has also been removed to the memoir collection: Taenzer, Arnold (Arno): Kriegserinnerungen (ME 640).

Guide to the Papers of Arnold Tänzer (1871-1937) 1904-1996 AR 485 / MF 705
Processed by Dianne Ritchey Oummia and LBI Staff
© January 2006
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from ArnoldTaenzer.xml

Revision Statements

  • 2010-03-11 : encoding of linking to digital objects from finding aid was changed from <extref> to <dao> through dao_conv.xsl

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States