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Karl Rosenthal Collection

Identifier: AR 909 / MF 719

Scope and Content Note

This collection holds papers concerning Rabbi Karl Rosenthal, and is comprised of two series, Personal and Writings.

Much of the material in Series I pertains to the life of the rabbi. Biographical information on him will be found among the biographies and in the taped interviews with Trudie Rosenthal. These tapes largely concern the Rosenthals' lives in Germany, although there is also some mention of Karl Rosenthal's service as rabbi of the Temple of Israel in Wilmington, North Carolina. Other biographical material in this collection includes a few articles that mention Karl Rosenthal in Series II.

Series II holds writings, mainly of Karl Rosenthal. Among these documents are published articles, such as newspaper clippings and a history of the Temple of Israel, and unpublished writings, which include many of his sermons from the early 1930s and histories of the Berlin Reform Community.


  • 1915-1981
  • Majority of material found within 1925-1951


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.

Collection is microfilmed (MF 719).

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

Karl Rosenthal was born in 1889, one of nine children. He studied at the Universities of Berlin and Münster before receiving his doctorate from the University of Cologne. He served as a rabbi in Dortmund, where he met his future wife, Trudie Schuster. They were married shortly before the outbreak of World War I and were on their honeymoon in Norway when Karl was called back to serve in the army. Their first son, Klaus, was born nine months later. Their second son, George, was born in 1920.

In 1924 Karl Rosenthal began working as a rabbi for the Reform congregation in Berlin. Many of his writings criticized the Nazi ideology, and he was arrested several times. On Kristallnacht Rosenthal was arrested and sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. He was released three months later with orders to leave Germany at once and went to England, where he studied in Oxford. The Rosenthals' son Klaus had already immigrated to the United States. Trudie and George left Berlin early in 1939 and settled in Amsterdam. George was arrested by the Gestapo in 1941 and sent to the concentration camp in Mauthausen, Austria, where he perished. Later that year Trudie was arrested as well and was held at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp for three years. She was able to obtain a South American passport and upon her release went to Switzerland and then on to an UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) camp in Algiers. She remained there until 1945 when she was able to board a ship bound for America. She was finally reunited with Karl and Klaus in Philadelphia on December 31, 1945.

In 1946, Karl received an appointment to the Reform congregation in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He later worked in Springfield, Illinois, and Wilmington, North Carolina, where he died in 1952. Trudie stayed in Wilmington and died there in 1976.


0.25 Linear Feet


This collection holds material relating to Karl Rosenthal, rabbi of the Berlin Reform Congregation and Temple of Israel in Wilmington, North Carolina. Items in this collection center on his life, especially his time as rabbi in Berlin, as well as on the life of his wife. In addition to biographical material, the collection also holds Karl Rosenthal's writings, such as sermons and published articles. There are also two tapes of a lengthy interview with Trudie Rosenthal that describe the Rosenthals' life in Germany.


This collection is comprised of two series:

Other Finding Aid

Five index cards list the items in this collection.

Separated Material

Photographs have been removed to the LBI Photograph Collection.

Processing Information

In preparation for the creation of the EAD finding aid in July 2006, similar materials were grouped together to form series.

Guide to the Papers of Karl Rosenthal (1889-1952) 1915-1981 AR 909 / MF 719
Processed by LBI Staff
© 2006
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from KarlRosenthal.xml

Revision Statements

  • March 23, 2012 : 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