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Kaethe Placzek Collection

Identifier: AR 25308

Scope and Content Note

The Kaethe Placzek Collection focuses on the family life of Kaethe Spiegel née Placzek, and especially on several years in the lives of Hermann and Melvine Placzek and Julian Spiegel. This collection consists entirely of correspondence, both that sent to Kaethe by her own family and that sent by Julian Spiegel. Prominent topics include spa treatments and culture in the early twentieth century and Julian Spiegel’s World War I experiences.

The collection is organized by family, with the first series containing the letters of Hermann and Melvine Placzek to their daughter Kaethe. The Placzeks were frequent guests at various European spas and their letters provide a large amount of information on the use of such facilities, including descriptions of various types of treatments as well as commentary on meals and activities. They also often provide Kaethe with advice while she was away from home, or once she was older, on the running of the household while they were absent. Their letters from the time of World War I also provide a sense of restrictions in Berlin at that time, especially on food, while some later letters show the preparations for the wedding of Kaethe Placzek and Julian Spiegel.

The second holds the letters of Julian Spiegel to his parents. Although one folder holds some letters and postcards from a trip to Zermatt, Switzerland with his brother Percy, the remainder of letters of this series were sent in 1915-1916 while Julian was stationed at Graudenz during World War I. These letters include some information on his role as an aircraft mechanic but especially focus on details of his daily life. They frequently include his requests for various items while there.


  • 1894-1931
  • Majority of material found within 1907-1920


Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English.

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

Käthe Placzek was the daughter of Hermann and Malvine (née Bernstein) Placzek. In November 1919 she married Julian Spiegel.

Julian Spiegel was born in England in 1884, the son of Felix and Sophie (née Ohlmann) Spiegel, and had two siblings, Percy and Helen. He designed airplanes for the aviation firm Rumpler-Werke AG.

Julian and Käthe had one son, Walter.


0.5 Linear Feet


The Kaethe Placzek Collection contains family correspondence of Kaethe Placzek and her husband Julian Spiegel. Such correspondence includes letters sent to Kaethe by her parents while they were separated during summers, often while they attended health spas. Letters sent by Julian Spiegel are to his parents, especially during his time in World War I.

Related Material

Related is the Walter Spiegel Collection in the LBI Archives, which consists of a letter of Kaethe and Julian Spiegel's son Walter (AR 10762). In addition, the LBI Archives include the Julian Spiegel Family Collection (AR 7235).

Processing Information

The collection has retained much of its arrangement prior to its processing in preparation for the EAD finding aid. One large folder that held Julian Spiegel's correspondence was subdivided by date.

Guide to the Papers of Kaethe Placzek 1894-1931 AR 25308
Processed by Dianne Ritchey and LBI Staff
© 2013
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from KaethePlaczek.xml

Revision Statements

  • November 25, 2013:: Added Julian Spiegel Family Collection to Related Material.
  • September 15, 2014: : Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States