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Franz and Grete Hillinger Collection

Identifier: AR 25586

Scope and Content Note

The Franz and Grete Hillinger Collection holds the papers of Franz and Grete Hillinger and of other Hillinger family members. Focuses of the collection include the former property of Grete Hillinger in Brieselang, Germany and the history of the Hillinger and Grigoleit families, illustrated by biographical information on family members. Documentation includes personal, legal, financial, and official correspondence, identification papers, curricula vitae, a family history and an essay, and wills.

The first series centers on the family members. Some basic biographical information will be found for Franz, Grete, Claude, and Edith Hillinger in the form of curricula vitae or identification documents. More information on Franz and Grete Hillinger, their lives and the lives of their parents, will be found in a detailed family history. Some correspondence of this series also mentions family genealogy. Other information in this series pertains to family finances.

The collection's second series holds the plentiful documentation on the Brieselang property originally belonging to the Grigoleit family, including a house and associated land. Basic information on the property, such as its ownership and assessments of its value are present. A large amount of legal, official, and financial correspondence in this series pertains to an unsuccessful attempt to make a claim for the property via the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission in the 1970s-1980s. Other extensive correspondence relates to the sale of the property by Edith and Claude Hillinger in the 1990s.


  • Creation: 1915-2014
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1950-1999


Language of Materials

The collection is primarily in German and English, with a small amount of Turkish.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

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

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

Franz Hillinger was born in 1895 as Ferenc (Feri) Hillinger in Grosswardein/Nagyvárad in Austria-Hungary (today Oradea, Romania), the son of Jewish parents. His parents were Miksa (Max) and Rosa (née Schwartz) Hillinger, owners of a hotel and restaurant, and he had a younger brother, Kalman. From 1915-1918 he served in the Austro-Hungarian army on the Italian front. While studying architecture in Budapest, unrest led to Jewish students being barred from studying, so in 1919 he went to Berlin to study architecture at the Technische Hochschule Berlin-Charlottenburg, from which he graduated in 1922; while in Berlin he met Grete Grigoleit.

Grete was born on August 14, 1900 in Tilsit, East Prussia, the daughter of Martin and Bertha Auguste (née Süß) Grigoleit, who were Lutherans. After Martin's bicycle business failed, the couple had moved to Berlin, where he found a position at the electrical firm Siemens. They were able to buy land in Brieselang, outside of Berlin, where by 1925 they had a built a house with fruit trees and a large garden.

During the 1920s, Franz Hillinger held various positions as an architect, including the design of single-family homes and villas. From 1924-1934 he worked at GEHAG (Gemeinnützigen Heimstätten-, Spar- und Bau- Akteingesellschaft), where he designed and constructed housing projects with the well-known architects Bruno Taut and Martin Wagner. He also taught architecture at the Technische Hochschule Charlottenburg. In 1933 he lost his position at GEHAG due to being Jewish.

Franz and Grete Hillinger had two children: Claude (born Klaus) Hillinger and Edith Hillinger, both born in Berlin, in 1930 and 1933, respectively.

In 1937 the Hillingers went to Turkey, where Franz Hillinger worked for the Turkish Education Ministry. He designed secondary and trade schools for the agency in Ankara, Istanbul, and Trabzon, including the Chemical Institute of the University of Istanbul and the New Technical University in Ankara. From 1937-1940 he was a professor of architectural design at the State Academy for Fine Art (Güzel Satlar Akademisi) in Istanbul.

In 1948, Grete Hillinger and their children immigrated to the United States, but as a result of having been born in Romania, Franz Hillinger had a wait of years to immigrate due to quota restrictions. In 1950 he converted to Catholicism as part of an unsuccessful attempt to come to the United States via Brazil.

From 1951-1952 Franz Hillinger worked as an architect in Canada, and in 1953-1956 returned to work in Turkey, designing the reconstruction of the Turkish Parliament. In 1956 Franz Hillinger joined his family in New York, where he worked as an architect from 1956 until 1970. He died in New York in 1973. Grete Hillinger died in 1996.


0.5 Linear Feet


The Franz and Grete Hillinger Collection holds the papers of Franz and Grete Hillinger and of other Hillinger family members. The collection focuses on former family property in Brieselang, Germany, with some information on the family history and specific family members' details. Documentation includes personal, legal, financial, and official correspondence, identification papers, curricula vitae, articles on family history, and wills.


The collection is arranged in two series:

Related Material

The LBI Archives include a bound scrapbook of illustrations by the artist Edith Hillinger on her and her father's lives: The Lives of Two Artists in Exile (MS 1023).

Separated Material

2 linear feet of boxes of slides have been removed to the LBI Photograph Collection. The slides were taken by Franz Hillinger during his travels in Europe and in the Near East from 1930 until his death in 1973.

Processing Information

As there was little original order observed prior to processing, the collection was arranged by topic during processing. Documents of specific family members were placed together in folders. Documentation on property of California, originally placed in the second half of the folder on documentation of the foreign claim settlement, was separated and placed in the first series.

Guide to the Papers of Franz and Grete Hillinger 1915-2014 AR 25586
Processed by Dianne Ritchey
© 2015
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from Franz_and_Grete_Hillinger.xml

Revision Statements

  • August 2015:: dao links added by Emily Andresini.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States