Skip to main content

Vera Meyer Family Collection

Identifier: AR 25075

Scope and Content Note

The Vera Meyer Family Collection holds papers relating to members of the Meyer and Apel families. Most material focuses on the Meyer family, especially the photocopies of correspondence of Alfred, Rolf, Gustav and Therese Meyer. Other material includes biographical essays, a family tree, and a number of family photographs.

The Meyer family is well-represented in the collection, with their papers in each series of the collection. Most notable is the documentation of Alfred Meyer's life. His essays in Series I provide details on the family history, events in his own life and describe his own relationship to Germany and Judaism. The correspondence of Series II gives further evidence of the events of his life in his many letters, as well as including correspondence of his parents and brother. Letters of the 1930s detail the separation of the family and family members' immigration and wartime experiences. Earlier letters document the Meyers' family life and later letters of Alfred Meyer show the establishment of his own family after the Second World War. Photographs of Meyer family members are also present in the numerous photographs of Series III.

The Apel side of the family is documented to a smaller extent. The family tree in Series I relates to an ancestor of this side of the family, and Eva Meyer (née Apel) is featured in the later letters of her husband Alfred Meyer. Many of the photographs of Series III show Eva as well as her parents and other family members.


  • 1890-2000
  • Majority of material found within 1916-1949


Language of Materials

The collection is in English and German.

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

Gustav Meyer was born in Herford, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. He studied law and was a member of the Alsatia fraternity in Leipzig. In 1911, he established himself as an attorney in Bielefeld. A soldier in World War I, during the war he met his future wife Therese Melchior, a nurse. They had three sons: Gerhard Rudolf (known as Rolf, born in 1917), Alfred George (born in 1920) and Hans-Joachim Gustav (called Hajo, born in 1924).

All three sons emigrated in 1939. Rolf Meyer went to Manchester, England, Alfred to family friends in California and Hajo to the Netherlands. In 1941 Alfred Meyer volunteered for the military, several months before the U.S. entered World War II. It was during his war training that he learned Russian. In 1944 Alfred was sent to Europe, and returned to Germany as part of the military intelligence. He earned a Bronze Star for his work during the war.

Gustav and Therese Meyer were unable to leave Germany. In 1943 both were deported to Theresienstadt. Hajo went into hiding in Amsterdam in 1943 until he was arrested and spent ten months in Auschwitz, which he survived. Gustav died in Theresienstadt in 1944, Therese died in Auschwitz-Birkenau in the same year.

After the war Alfred married Eva Apel; Eva was the daughter of Hans and Toni (née Werner) Apel of Berlin. Alfred and Eva Meyer had two children, Stefan and Vera. Alfred became a university professor and lecturer in the field of political science, with a focus on communism, Marxism, Leninism and Soviet studies. Over his long career he taught at many institutions, among them Harvard University, the University of Washington, Columbia University, Michigan State University and the University of Michigan and produced several books and publications in his field. At the University of Michigan he was also director of the Center for Russian and East European Studies.


0.75 Linear Feet


This collection documents the lives of Vera Meyer's family members, especially her parents, Alfred and Eva Meyer, but also involving her grandparents and uncles. Prominent in the collection are the many family photographs and copies of family correspondence, including immigration and wartime letters. Other material consists of some biographical essays and a family tree.

Related Material

Three articles by Alfred G. Meyer are available in the LBI Library:

  1. Lily Braun [PT 2603 R36 Z7]
  2. The feminism and socialism of Lily Braun [PT 2603 R36 Z69]
  3. The radicalization of Lily Braun [PT 2603 R36 Z73]

The LBI Library also includes two books by Hajo Meyer:

  1. Judentum, Zionismus, Antizionismus und Antisemitismus: Versuch einer Begriffsbestimmung
  2. Tragisches Schicksal: das deutsche Judentum und die Wirkung historischer Krafte; eine Übung in angewandter Geschichtsphilosophie

The Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan contains a three feet collection, the Alfred G. Meyer Papers. These papers include original copies of the correspondence found in Series II.

Separated Material

A CD of photographs was removed to the LBI Audiovisual Collection. This CD includes digitized images of most photographs in this collection as well as images of a photograph album not in this collection. Many of the filenames on the CD provide identification of family members featured in the unlabeled photographs of Series III.

Processing Information

The collection was reprocessed in December 2012 following the previously established arrangement of series. The folders in Series III were further organized by branch of the family and some folder titles were slightly altered. A CD of family photograph was removed to the Audiovisual Collection.

Guide to the Papers of the Vera Meyer Family 1890-2000 AR 25075
Processed by LBI Staff and Dianne Ritchey
© 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from VeraMeyerFamily.xml

Revision Statements

  • March 27, 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