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Bär-Oppenheimer Family Collection

 Collection
Identifier: AR 7044 / MF 739

Scope and Content Note

This collection holds papers concerning businesses and members of the Bär and Oppenheimer families from Bruchsal, Germany. It is arranged in four series and includes family papers such as official documents and vital records, personal correspondence, family histories and trees, emigration paperwork, and the writings of family members. Business-oriented documents refer to the Oppenheimer woolens factory and the Bär leather distribution company, and are comprised of correspondence, histories, and financial records such as balances and reports.

Material pertaining to members of the Bär and Oppenheimer families can be found in every series of the collection. Series I contains some family papers such as correspondence of several family members, official documents including marriage agreements, and notebooks of Bär family members with handwritten excerpts from literary works. Much of the correspondence of Oppenheimer family members in this series mentions family history. Further documentation of family history, including a manuscript written by Louis Oppenheimer, will be found in Series II. The emigration of family members, especially Richard and Annie Bär, is documented in Series III, and consists of official papers as well as correspondence. Series IV holds personal papers in Subseries 1 and correspondence between family members in Subseries 2. Although much of this correspondence is business-related it also mentions significant events and the health of family members. Some correspondence focusing on the emigration of family members is located in this subseries as well.

Other prominent themes of this collection are the family businesses, especially that of the Bär family. Papers of the Anol AG, formerly the Firma Raphael Bär, consist of correspondence, financial records, and a publication on its history. Most records of the company will be found in Subseries 2 and 3 of Series IV. Subseries 2 contains correspondence of and about the company, including discussion of restitution for its loss and correspondence between Richard and Felix Bär on its liquidation. Subseries 3 holds the financial documentation of the company, including monthly and yearly balances, annual reports, tax papers, and documents that list customer inventories and granting shares in the firm. A few papers on the history of the Anol AG are located in Series II. Series II also holds papers describing the Firma Oppenheimer.

Dates

  • 1841-1981
  • Majority of material found within 1926-1958

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English, French, and Spanish.

Access Restrictions

Researchers must use microfilm (MF 739).

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

Oppenheimer Family Louis Oppenheimer was the son of Siegmund Oppenheimer and Henriette Lewis, and grandson of Zacharias Oppenheimer, founder of the Michelfeld Oppenheimer woolens factory.The factory specialized in the production of uniforms, including those used by the Prussian and Baden military. In 1860 Louis Oppenheimer came to Bruchsal, where he founded the Firma Oppenheimer with the support of his father. In July 1860 he married Berta Bär, daughter of banker Jakob Bär. Louis and Berta Oppenheimer had four children who lived to adulthood: Jacob, Karl, Henny, and Otto. Berta Oppenheimer died in 1883, while Louis Oppenheimer died in 1907.

Otto Oppenheimer was born on September 7, 1875, the youngest son of Louis Oppenheimer and Berta Bär. On December 8, 1903 he married Emma Wälder; they had two daughters, Suse and Annie. Otto Oppenheimer served in World War I. After the death of his father he led the Firma Oppenheimer. In 1935 he faced charges of having traded in uniform cloth of the SA (Sturmabteilung), something forbiden for Jews; the charges were later dismissed, but the company began to lose customers. In August 1938 Otto Oppenheimer gave the firm over to his non-Jewish colleague Ernst Franke, and it was renamed the Ernst Franke and Co., GmbH. In 1941 Otto and Emma Oppenheimer moved to New York with their daughter Annie and son-in-law Richard Bär, settling in the Bronx. Otto Oppenheimer died in the Bronx on February 8, 1951; his wife died there nineteen years later.

Bär family Richard Bär was born to Friedrich (Fritz) Bär and Mathilde (Tilly) Bär in Bruchsal in 1898. He served in World War I, for which Richard Bär earned an Iron Cross Second Class. In 1928 he married his cousin Annie Oppenheimer, the daughter of Otto and Emma Oppenheimer. They had two children: Hanne, born in 1929, and Martin, in 1930. Richard Bär followed in his father's path and took over the firm founded by his grandfather Raphael Bär in 1799, which dealt with the import and export of leather and skins. It was Richard Bär who renamed the company the Anol AG and moved it to Zug, Switzerland, in 1934. At this point the firm's focus shifted to the export of leather. Other family members who left Germany led branches of the firm in other countries: Felix Bär in Montreal and Hermann Bär in London. In 1941 Richard Bär, along with his wife, their children, and Annie's parents Otto and Emma Oppenheimer, emigrated to New York. On August 1, 1946 the couple became citizens of the United States. The Anol AG was liquidated by Bär family members in 1954. Richard Bär died in Sullivan County, New York, in 1965; Annie Bär died in the Bronx in September 1976.

Oppenheimer Family

Louis Oppenheimer was the son of Siegmund Oppenheimer and Henriette Lewis, and grandson of Zacharias Oppenheimer, founder of the Michelfeld Oppenheimer woolens factory.The factory specialized in the production of uniforms, including those used by the Prussian and Baden military. In 1860 Louis Oppenheimer came to Bruchsal, where he founded the Firma Oppenheimer with the support of his father. In July 1860 he married Berta Bär, daughter of banker Jakob Bär. Louis and Berta Oppenheimer had four children who lived to adulthood: Jacob, Karl, Henny, and Otto. Berta Oppenheimer died in 1883, while Louis Oppenheimer died in 1907.

Otto Oppenheimer was born on September 7, 1875, the youngest son of Louis Oppenheimer and Berta Bär. On December 8, 1903 he married Emma Wälder; they had two daughters, Suse and Annie. Otto Oppenheimer served in World War I. After the death of his father he led the Firma Oppenheimer. In 1935 he faced charges of having traded in uniform cloth of the SA (Sturmabteilung), something forbiden for Jews; the charges were later dismissed, but the company began to lose customers. In August 1938 Otto Oppenheimer gave the firm over to his non-Jewish colleague Ernst Franke, and it was renamed the Ernst Franke and Co., GmbH. In 1941 Otto and Emma Oppenheimer moved to New York with their daughter Annie and son-in-law Richard Bär, settling in the Bronx. Otto Oppenheimer died in the Bronx on February 8, 1951; his wife died there nineteen years later.

Bär family

Richard Bär was born to Friedrich (Fritz) Bär and Mathilde (Tilly) Bär in Bruchsal in 1898. He served in World War I, for which Richard Bär earned an Iron Cross Second Class. In 1928 he married his cousin Annie Oppenheimer, the daughter of Otto and Emma Oppenheimer. They had two children: Hanne, born in 1929, and Martin, in 1930. Richard Bär followed in his father's path and took over the firm founded by his grandfather Raphael Bär in 1799, which dealt with the import and export of leather and skins. It was Richard Bär who renamed the company the Anol AG and moved it to Zug, Switzerland, in 1934. At this point the firm's focus shifted to the export of leather. Other family members who left Germany led branches of the firm in other countries: Felix Bär in Montreal and Hermann Bär in London. In 1941 Richard Bär, along with his wife, their children, and Annie's parents Otto and Emma Oppenheimer, emigrated to New York. On August 1, 1946 the couple became citizens of the United States. The Anol AG was liquidated by Bär family members in 1954. Richard Bär died in Sullivan County, New York, in 1965; Annie Bär died in the Bronx in September 1976.

Extent

2.25 Linear Feet

Abstract

This collection holds the papers of members of the Bär and Oppenheimer families from Bruchsal, Germany. It documents the history of the two families as well as the Bär leather distribution company and Oppenheimer woolens factory. Included in this collection are business and personal correspondence, personal papers, financial records, family trees and a few newspaper clippings.

Microfilm

This collection is on five reels of microfilm (MF 739).
  1. Reel 1: 1/1 - 1/20
  2. Reel 2: 1/21 - 2/1
  3. Reel 3: 2/2 - 2/16
  4. Reel 4: 2/17 - 2/33
  5. Reel 5: 2/34 - 3/6

Related Material

The LBI Archives also contain several other collections belonging to various members of the Bär and Oppenheimer families, please see the online catalog.

Separated Material

Photographs have been removed to the LBI Photograph Collection. Several memoirs have been removed to the LBI Memoir collection:
  1. Otto Oppenheimer (ME 1215)
  2. Julius Bär (ME 1216)
  3. Herry Ettlinger (ME 1333)

Processing Information

Some folders in the original three series of the collection were given more concise titles. Series IV, comprised of addenda, was processed in preparation for the creation of the EAD finding aid. Folders in Series IV containing similar material were grouped together to form subseries.
Title
Guide to the Papers of the Bär-Oppenheimer Family 1841-1981 AR 7044 / MF 739
Status
In Progress
Author
Processed by LBI Staff and Dianne Ritchey Oummia
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 BaerOppenheimerFamily

Revision Statements

  • 2010-03-23 : 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

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