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Kartell-Convent deutscher Studenten Juedischen Glaubens Collection

Identifier: AR 966

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains records of the Kartell-Convent deutscher Studenten jüdischen Glaubens and the American branch of the organization following the dissolution of the Kartell-Convent in 1933 and 1934. Records of the Kartell-Convent largely include some memorablia and essays and articles of members on the fraternities. Records of the American Jewish K.C. Fraternity, the American branch of the Kartell-Convent, primarily consist of financial records, but also include organizational records and publications.

Series I includes some memorabilia of the Kartell-Convent. Such items include photographs of Kartell-Convent members in fraternity regalia or in fencing costume. Other materials include autograph books, postcards and a poster with the coats of arms and mottos of various member fraternities, and two folders with papers of individuals.

This collection holds several folders with articles, notes and unpublished essays on the history of the organization as well as memorials or eulogies for members. Prominent among these is the folder of essays in Series I. Such essays include reminiscences and discussion of the history of several of the fraternities, especially of Viadrina, but also of several others. Subseries 1 of Series II also includes some essays and clippings on the history of the Kartell-Convent. The final subseries of Series II includes many published articles on the organization.

Series II largely focuses on the activities of the American branch of the organization. Among such material are organizational records, specifically minutes or reports of meetings and correspondence that discusses financial decisions and the planning of meetings in addition to various other routine subjects. Related is the large amount of financial documentation found in Subseries 2.


  • Creation: 1867-2003
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1965-1999


Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers. The financial records of this collection are closed.

Access Information

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

Use Restrictions

The financial records of this collection are closed. There may be some further 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


Historical Note

During the 1880s, anti-Semitism at German universities had become increasingly notable, especially within the popular fraternity system. Jews were forbidden to wear "colors" (couleur) of fraternities or to duel, some fraternities were founded that were openly anti-Semitic, others refused to admit any new Jewish members. In response to these attitudes, the Jewish fraternity Viadrina was founded at the University of Breslau, its goal to actively fight anti-Semitism in German academic life as well as the development of self-assured German Jews, capable of defending their country and of supporting the political and societal equality of Jews in Germany. Fraternity members were meant to exemplify good Jews as well as good Germans. Other Jewish fraternities followed their example in Berlin, Munich, Heidelberg and Freiburg. In 1896 the Kartell-Convent der Verbindungen deutscher Studenten Jüdischen Glaubens (henceforth referred to in this finding aid as the Kartell-Convent) was established, an umbrella organization to join together scattered Jewish fraternities. Fraternities later developed at other universities, including those in Bonn, Darmstadt, Karlsruhe, Königsberg and Leipzig.

The Kartell-Convent fraternities followed the spirit of German fraternities: closely knit, disciplined, wearing insignia and following an honor code. Each fraternity had its own insignia and colors including a coat of arms, flag, motto and monogram. They had their own fraternity songs and sports activities, and had lessons in Jewish history, religion and fencing. Their members used the traditional nomenclature of German fraternities: new members were Füchse (foxes), former members were Alte Herren (old gentlemen), the head of the fraternity was the Erstchargierter, and so on. Kartell-Convent fraternities also engaged in dueling with swords, sometimes referred to as Mensur or academic fencing, finding honor in the facial scars (Schmisse) combatants frequently received. Several of the fraternities became well-known for insisting on satisfaction, including for anti-Semitic remarks; in Breslau, Heidelberg and Freiburg the corresponding Viadrina, Badenia and Friburgia fraternities were suspended by university authorities for aggresive behavior and had to be reformed under new names. The Kartell-Convent fraternities were the only duelling fraternities that consisted entirely of Jews.

The Kartell-Convent ceased to function in 1933/1934, its fraternities closed by government decree. After the war, the Kartell-Convent was reconstituted in England, and additional chapters opened in many countries. In the United States, it was known as the American Jewish K.C. Fraternity, with the Max Mainzer Memorial Foundation created to provide worldwide financial support to members of the fraternity. At the end of 2000, the American branch of the K.C. and the Max Mainzer Memorial Foundation turned over their management to SELFHELP.


2 Linear Feet


This collection documents the history and some of the activities of the Kartell-Convent deutscher Studenten jüdischen Glaubens and its American successor organizations. Among the records are financial papers, organizational correspondence, published and unpublished essays and articles, photographs, autograph books, meeting minutes and reports and publications.

Related Material

Particularly useful in understanding this collection is the book Der Kartell-Convent und seine Verbindungen by Kurt U. Bertrams, available in the LBI Library. [st 4752]

Another related publication is available in the LBI Library: Literatur-Wegweiser fuer den K.C. Eine Uebersicht ueber die fuer den wichtigste Literatur [Z 1037.3 K3]

The LBI Library additionally includes many publications of the Kartell-Convent and the American Jewish K.C. Fraternity, which may be found through a search of the online catalog.

Separated Material

During processing in 2011 many superfluous copies of K.C. publications were removed to the LBI Library.

Various items were removed to the Arts and Objects Collection, including: two hats and various cloth bands (University of Bonn, University of Leipzig); two caps and various colored bands from K.C. fraternities; two wooden boxes with K.C. fraternity adornments; medals; decorations; ribbons from Rudi Breitbarth.

Processing Information

Approximately one linear foot of papers were deaccessioned from this collection during processing. Included were a large amount of unused stationery and cancelled checks along with individual receipts for organizational services, since other documentation such as ledgers already contained the information on these receipts. Bank statements and ledgers were retained to fully document the organization's financial history in the United States.

Approximately 0.5 linear foot of duplicate copies of K.C. publications were removed during processing and given to the LBI Library.

Some addenda was integrated with the material of the original collection. Much of the addenda consisted of unannotated duplicate publications and was removed to the LBI Library.

Guide to the Records of the Kartell-Convent deutscher Studenten Juedischen Glaubens 1867-2003 AR 966
Processed by Dianne Ritchey
© 2011
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from Kartell-Convent.xml

Revision Statements

  • March 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