Aron Rauner Family Collection
Scope and Content Note
The Aron Rauner Family Collection contains papers of Aron Rauner and his extended family. The central theme of the collection is the effects upon the family of their departure from Germany, especially for Aron Rauner. The collection is particularly strong is providing biographical information on him. The papers include official papers for Aron Rauner and his family members along with other family material, correspondence of Aron Rauner and family photographs.
Family papers, including official documents from government agencies such as copies of vital records, are located in Series I. This series includes papers of Aron Rauner as well as his family, and includes papers of the related Schnerb and Kahn family members as well as Aron Rauner and his immediate family. Some personal papers are additionally located in this series, especially the poetry of Aron Rauner. Material collected by other family members, such as his youngest son Wolfgang Rauner, also comprise a part of Series I.
Series II consists of the correspondence of Aron Rauner. The bulk of this series by far is personal letters that were sent to him, frequently by family members. Most of these discuss family news and activities. However, some folders hold letters with biographical information on Aron Rauner. These include the folder of restitution correspondence, which holds several notarized statements by Rauner as to the upon his profession, health and financial security as well as that of his family members due to leaving Germany. Another folder holds letters he exchanged with former colleagues of the Rowenta Metalwarenfabrik; these letters also hold some information on the events of his life.
The final series of this collection contains many family photographs. Many of these are unidentified, although most appear to date from Aron Rauner's younger years. The photographs include a few photos of school excursions.
- Majority of material found within 1916-1963
- Rauner, Aron, 1885-1963 (Person)
Language of Materials
The collection is in German, English, and French.
Open to researchers.
Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.
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
Aron Rauner was born July 9, 1885 in Merzig, near the German border with France and Luxembourg. He was the son of the baker Isaac Rauner and his wife Miriam née Schnerb and had an older sister, Hedwig. After training in business and accounting he worked in his father's wholesale business that sold flour and feed. A 1913 automobile accident and its subsequent difficult recovery made him unfit for service in World War I until 1916, when was he assigned to a position in the field artillery in the Trier/ Mosel area. After completing his military training he was wounded in April 1917. No longer able to participate in the fighting due to his medical condition, he was sent to Romania as part of Field Marshall August von Mackensen's staff. For his war service Aron Rauner received an honorary cross (Ehrenkreuz) second class and a commendation for having been wounded in the fighting.
Following the war Aron Rauner again joined his father's business, eventually taking over the branch in Trier. To the wholesale business in sugar products he added a special department for bakery and pastry markets, taking over as general representative for various related commercial machinery businesses. Prominent among these was Rowenta, who produced commercial coffee machines, ovens and freezers for bakeries and related operations. Later he became involved with the import of raw materials, including chocolate and sugar products. In 1928 he gave up his other enterprises in order to focus his business on the representation of the various machinery firms, with a staff of fifteen people in the greater Saar region. Due to his success, his family – which included his wife Hedwig (née Kahn), who he had married in 1922 and with whom he had four children (Edgar, Ludwig, Gertrud and Wolfgang) – led a comfortable life in Trier. They resided in a 6-room apartment and had a maid; his eldest son attended Gymnasium. Prior to giving up his participation in the import of chocolates and confections in 1928, Aron Rauner had also owned several delivery trucks and cars and employed several drivers.
In September 1935 Aron Rauner and his family fled Germany due to Nazi persecution, taking with them their furniture and other possessions. Their goal was Luxembourg, where Salomon Kahn, Hedwig Rauner's father, had secured a professional license (Berufserlaubnis) for Aron Rauner to work as a salesman. In Luxembourg Rauner attempted to establish himself once again with the Rowenta firm. He also represented similar Belgian firms. Supporting his family with such work was difficult due to the low currency exchange.
On May 10, 1940 German troops occupied Luxembourg. No longer able to attend to his customers due to the presence of German troops in the city's bakeries and other establishments where his machines were used, Rauner's income shrank still further, although he tried to support his family with various small jobs. The family sold their jewelry and artwork. Paul Kahn, Hedwig Rauner's cousin, was a doctor in New York and assisted them in receiving immigration visas. In 1941 the family was transported in trucks by the Gestapo to Irun on the Spanish border, having been required to surrender their apartment and all their household items prior to their departure. From Irun, the Rauners traveled to San Sebastian, Formosa and Lisbon before boarding the S.S. Mouzinho that took them to New York. They arrived in Staten Island on June 21, 1941.
The family's first months in the United States were assisted financially by HIAS. They settled in the Washington Heights area of Manhattan, along with many other German-speaking Jews who had fled the Nazis. Three months after arriving Aron Rauner suffered a heart attack and became unable to work. Once the U.S. had entered the war, Aron Rauner's two eldest sons, Edgar and Louis, were sent to the army. The family was supported with the money his sons received from the army and from what money Gertrud and Wolfgang earned through odd jobs; their mother was required to remain at home to care for Aron Rauner while he recovered. Louis Rauner's plane was shot down and he returned home only after one-and-a-half years' convalescence in a hospital.
Aron Rauner was eventually able to work from home, although it was interrupted by attacks of angina pectoris. Such work included the establishment of Service for Israel, which sent care packages to Israel, and a travel agency, Rauner Travel. In 1956 he invented a serving dish for citrus fruits that removed their cores and separated their edible portions into servings. After the war Louis Rauner received training as a watchmaker and eventually opened a jewelry business with a partner. Wolfgang Rauner worked as a window designer for Sears before serving for three years in the Korean War. After returning home he continued a career in design and advertising. Hedwig Kahn (née Rauner), Aron Rauner's sister, had remained in Merzig and died in Theresienstadt. Aron Rauner died in New York on July 15, 1963, following his wife Hedwig who had passed away the previous year.
Researchers should note that following her marriage to César Kahn, Aron Rauner's sister shared the same name as his wife prior to her marriage to him: both were named Hedwig Kahn.
1 Linear Feet
The Aron Rauner Family Collection documents the life of this businessman and his family, although his story is the most prominent of the collection. The papers include official documents and certificates as well as notes, poems, narratives, correspondence and photographic material.
Two books with dedication to Aron Rauner were removed from the collection prior to processing:
- Galgenlieder by Christeian Morgenstern
- Akabjah by Paul Lehmann
Photocopies of the dedications will be found in the folder "Other Papers - Books and Newsletters" in Series I.
Upon inspecting the collection it contained no discernable original order. Therefore, order was imposed during processing with similar material brought together to form series. Description was also added to the finding aid at this point.
- Emigration and immigration
- Kahn family
- Kahn, Hedwig
- Merzig (Germany)
- Notes (documents)
- Occasional poems
- Official documents
- Rauner family
- Rauner, Aron, 1885-1963
- Rauner, Louis
- Rauner, Wolfgang
- Saarburg (Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany)
- Schnerb family
- Trier (Germany)
- Guide to the Papers of the Aron Rauner Family 1892-2005 AR 25438
- Processed by Dianne Ritchey
- © 2011
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description is in English.
- Edition statement
- This version was derived from AronRaunerFamily.xml
- July 25, 2013 : Links to digital objects added in Container List.