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Kurt Seelig Collection

Identifier: AR 11115

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains materials by and about Kurt Seelig and his family. The majority relates to Seelig's time with Bernard and Winifred Schlesinger, who opened a London hostel for 12 German-Jewish children that arrived via Kindertransport. The diary of ten-year-old Kurt Seelig, written between 1939 and 1940, is particularly notable.

Seelig's personal documents, which are color copies, include correspondence and forms relating to his inclusion in a Kindertransport and placement with the Schlesinger family in England. Kurt Seelig's diary chronicles his childhood life in England from August 28, 1939 to July 1, 1940. It discusses daily life, such as school and leisure time activities like going to the movies, as well as commenting on the war situation. It is written in German, and contains pasted-in postcards, photographs, and clippings from British newspapers. Some loose items, such as envelopes and a photograph, were left as found in the diary.

The collection also includes a poor photocopy of the diary of Fritz Seelig, Kurt's older brother, from the same time period. Fritz was also sent to England on a Kindertransport, but he was placed with a different family. The content is similar – daily life, school, the political situation – but written from a more sophisticated point-of-view.

The collection also includes materials about the Schlesinger's hostel. A packet, assembled in 1999, entitled "The Schlesinger's Hostel," contains photocopies of documents detailing the establishment and operation of the hostel in 1938 and 1939, as well as commentary and context written in the late 1990s. A photocopied packet entitled "Shepherd's Hill Tales" contains reminiscences from eight people who as German-Jewish children were taken in by the Schlesingers. They are Lore Vajifdar, Vera Ellis, Ilse Eden, Steffi Schwarcz, Mark Kneale, Kurt Seelig, Ilse Henry, and Elisabeth Maybaum.

Also found in the collection are materials about Bernhard Schlesinger, such as eulogies and obituaries and a photograph; a photocopy of Bernhard and Winifred Schlesinger's golden anniversary album; a photocopy of a 2001 brochure about Kindertransports; and a journal about the history of Schwedt that includes two articles about the Jews of Schwedt.


  • 1925-2001


Language of Materials

This collection is in English and German.

Access Restrictions

This collection is 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

Kurt Werner Seelig was born on April 9, 1929 in Schwedt/Oder, Germany. His parents, the merchant Heinz Simon Heinrich and Edith (née Tuch) Seelig, sent Kurt and his older brother Fritz on a Kindertransport to England in April 1939. Kurt was placed in a London hostel opened by Dr. Bernard Schlesinger (1897-1984), a prominent English pediatrician. Located at 26 Shepherds Hill, Highgate, twelve German-Jewish children lived under the Schlesinger's care until October 1939, when the children were removed from London to the countryside for their safety.

Seelig's parents immigrated to Quito, Ecuador in 1941, via Russia and Japan, and in 1943 their children joined them there. After the war, Kurt immigrated to the United States, where he became a chef, while Frank stayed in Quito and became a businessman. Their parents returned to Berlin after the war, and lived in an old age home in Kantstrasse.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 box) plus one oversize folder (OS 78)


This collection contains materials by and about Kurt Seelig and his family. The majority relates to Kurt's time with Bernard and Winifred Schlesinger, who in 1939 opened a London hostel for 12 German-Jewish children that had arrived via Kindertransport. The collection contains mostly photocopies, except for Kurt Seelig's diary of 1939 and 1940.


Folders were left in the order of the previous processing.

Digitization Note

This collection was digitized and made accessible in its entirety.

Separated Material

"Jewish porcelain" (Judenporzellan), purchased in Berlin by Seelig's parents after World War Two, was removed to the LBI Art and Objects Collection.

Processing Information

Materials were refoldered.

Guide to the Kurt Seelig Collection, 1925-2001 AR 11115
Finding aid prepared by Kevin Schlottmann
© 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
Described, encoded, and digitized as part of the CJH Holocaust Resource Initiative, made possible by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany.

Revision Statements

  • September 30, 2013: Link to digital object for Box 1, Folder 2 added in Container List.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States