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Gertrud Mainzer Family Collection

Identifier: AR 25417

Scope and Content Note

This series includes personal and professional materials pertaining to Gertrud Mainzer.

Mainzer's personal materials include her personal correspondence in the immediate post-war period with her husband, friends, and family, as well as other later correspondence. They also include documents, day books, autograph books and diaries, a baby book, juvenilia such as drawings and letters to and from her family, and raw typescripts of an oral history interview. Mainzer's professional materials include correspondence, pleadings from her private practice as a family law attorney, manuscripts, law review articles, a resume, diplomas and awards, a proposal for a family law clinic at Cardozo Law School, her dissertation, and alumni information for Finch College and New York University.

Documents relating to Mainzer's family include personal documents and correspondence of her husband Richard Mainzer and his ancestors Jacob and Wilhelm Mainzer, as well some materials about her father Hugo Sinzheimer and her children Frank and Susan Mainzer. It also includes some other materials related to the family.

This collection also includes hundreds of family photographs in a variety of formats, spanning a hundred years of the Mainzer and Sinzheimer families.


  • Creation: 1859-2008


Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English with some Dutch and French.

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 Catalog and click on the "Request" button.

Biographical Note

Gertrud (Traute) Mainzer née Sinzheimer (1914-2010) was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany to noted legal scholar Hugo Daniel Sinzheimer and Paula née Seelig. Her family moved to Holland after Hitler came to power in 1933. In Holland, she married Richard Mainzer (1907-1966), an attorney and a student of her father. After the Nazi invasion her husband managed to flee to Cuba, but Gertrud and her two small children went into hiding. In 1944 she and her children were found and interned in the Westerbork camp and later the Bergen-Belsen camp (where she met Ann Frank and her sister Margot). After the war she joined her husband in Cuba, and in 1948 the family moved to New York, where they had a third child.

Mainzer worked as a librarian for Finch College in the 1950s, but once her children were grown she returned to school to study law (NYU, 1966) and then entered private practice. From 1979 to 1984, she was a Family Court Judge in New York City. She was also an adjunct professor at the Cardozo School of Law, where the program in Family Law, Policy and Bioethics is now named in her honor.

She and Richard Mainzer had three children: Gabriele, Frank, and Susan.


3 Linear Feet (three boxes) plus one oversize folder (OS 139)


The Gertrud Mainzer Family Collection documents the personal and professional life of Holocaust survivor, attorney, and New York Family Court judge Gertrud Mainzer. It also includes materials about her family and her ancestors, including her husband, attorney Richard Mainzer, and her father, noted legal scholar Hugo Sinzheimer.

Digitization Note

This collection was digitized and made accessible in its entirety with the following exceptions: (1) Of the two full NYU alumni magazines in box 1 folder 14, only the cover and annotated pages were digitized. (2) Documents in box 1 folder 19 are available onsite only.

Related Material

The LBI Archives holds a memoir by Getrude Mainzer, "The Life of Gertrude 'Traute' Mainzer" (ME 1641, 1999).

The LBI Archives holds collections relating to Mainzer's father (the Hugo Sinzheimer Collection) and husband (the Richard Mainzer Collection).

The Hermann Simon collection, AR 6372, Box 3, Folder 25, contains a memoir by Gertrud Mainzer, describing her life in hiding in Holland and subsequent time in the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen. Also included in the collection (Box 3; Folder 26) are legal documents and correspondence by Gertrud Mainzer.

An oral history with Mainzer from the USC Shoah Collection is available on YouTube.

Separated Material

The Hugo Sinzheimer Collection, AR 25413, was part of the estate of Gertrud Mainzer.

An audio tape entitled "Louise + Gertrude Remember" was removed to the LBI AV collection.

Processing Information

Published slides were discarded. Some clippings were photocopied, and originals discarded. Slides were placed in Slideguard sleeves. Photographs were grouped and foldered by format and by size. Snapshots were divided into two periods, pre-war and post-war.

Guide to the Gertrud Mainzer Family Collection undated, 1859-2008 AR 25417
Processed by Yakov Illich Sklar with additional processing by Kevin Schlottmann
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation

Revision Statements

  • September 2016: Folder numbers for box 1 folders 15 and 16 fixed by Leanora Lange.
  • July 2017: Added dao links by Sarah Glover.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States