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Landsberger Gans Family Collection

Identifier: AR 25331

Scope and Content Note

This collection is arranged in four series and includes family correspondence, family trees, memoirs, official documents, photographs, printed materials, and professional correspondence belonging to Carl Heinz Gans, Ruth Gans, and their respective extended families.

The collection documents the lives and work of the members of the Gans and Landsberger families, with especial emphasis on Carl Heinz Gans and Ruth Gans née Landsberger. There is an abundance of materials related to Carl Gans's professional experience in the lumber industry and conservation interests, including many photographs of his travels to South America in the early 1970s (Series III). There is also a large amount of printed material relating to the family's genealogy (Series II) and emigration from Germany to North America. The Gans's experiences returning to Germany after many decades are particularly well covered (Series II). The collection also includes several letters from Robert F. Kennedy and a framed autograph of his brother, John F. Kennedy (Series IV).

The collection is divided into four Series: Family Papers and Correspondence; Genealogy and Family History; Photographs; and Collected Articles and Items. In many cases topics of different series overlap.

The central topic of this collection is the biography of Carl and Ruth Gans, and the members of each of their extended families. The personal and professional lives of the couple are well represented with an abundance of government-issued certificates, letters, clippings, and photographs (Series I). Materials relating to their extended family include family trees, memoirs, and clippings (Series II).

Materials pertaining to Carl Heinz Gans cover his education and career as a consultant to plywood and veneer processing plants in Europe, North America, South America, Africa, and Asia (Series I). A great many photographs in the collection depict his travels to these locales (Series III). A small number of documents relate to his interest in conservation and his membership in the American Arbitration Association (Series I). The collection also covers printed materials regarding his emigration, including official papers, newsletters pertaining to his experiences in a Canadian internment camp (Series I), and a memoir and photographs from a visit to his hometown, Borken, Westphalia, much later in life (Series II).

Materials pertaining to Ruth Gans cover her education and career as a schoolteacher and, for a short period of time, as a typist for the United States Lines transatlantic shipping company in Paris. A great many documents detail her background in the Montessori educational method and her long struggle to gain recognition of her professional certification after leaving Europe (Series I).

Other family members appear in genealogical charts, correspondence, photographs, and scattered printed materials. Principally, the collection covers the following individuals: Ruth Gans's father, Leopold Landsberger; her mother, Hedwig Elly née Stiasny; and Carl Gans's siblings, Manfred and Anita, although others are mentioned in various documents. Of special interest is the Holocaust memoir of Ruth Lachs, a cousin of Carl Gans's from Amsterdam whose family hid from the Nazis and reunited in the years after the war (Series II).

A prominent topic encountered in the collection is the emigration of Carl Gans, Ruth Landsberger, and various relatives from Europe, in the years directly preceding, during, and following the Second World War. In addition to visas and naturalization certificates, relevant documents include a reply from the American Consul in the Netherlands regarding a 1939 immigration application submitted by family member Hugo Nachmann (Series I).

Additionally, a number of printed materials within the collection cover the Canadian internment camps where Carl Gans was detained after the war. Among these are a series of newsletters written by Helmut Kallmann, another ex-internee (Series I), and clippings of articles about films and books on the subject (Series IV).

One folder in the collection contains two catalogues of artworks by Dominique Lorsch. Both are edited by Eric Landsberger, who is a relative of Ruth Gans (Series IV).


  • 1887-2008
  • Majority of material found within 1934-1972


Language of Materials

The collection is in Dutch, English, French, German and Italian.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

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

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.

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

Ruth Gans (née Landsberger) was born in 1920 in Berlin, the daughter of the lawyer Leopold Landsberger and his wife Hedwig Elly, née Stiasny. She left Germany in 1937 for Switzerland, the Netherlands, and France, eventually arriving in the United States. Ruth Gans was the wife of Carl Heinz Gans, who was active for many years in the lumber and veneer business.


0.75 Linear Feet


The collection contains various letters, certificates, photographs, and printed materials relating to the families of Carl Heinz Gans and Ruth Landsberger.

Related Material

The LBI Manuscript Collection includes an autobiographical manuscript by Leopold Landsberger, entitled Den Abgrund Entlang, MS 748.

Separated Material

A typescript, 448 p., of a novel Den Abgrund entlang by Alter Ego [Leopold Landsberger] has been removed to the LBI Manuscript Collection [MS 748].

Portrait photographs of Ruth Landsberger at age 6 and of her mother Elly Stiasny Landsberger, as well as other photographs of Ruth Landsberger; Elly Stiasny Landsberger and her family; and of the Gans family have been transferred to the LBI Photograph Collection.

A book by Mettay, Joël: Die verlorene Spur. Auf der Suche nach Otto Freundlich, has been removed to the LBI Library [st 4448]. Video tapes removed to the LBI Library.

A commemorative silver tray for Carl H. Gans, 1970 and a birthday cup for Leopold Landsberger have been transferred to the LBI Art and Objects Collection.

Processing Information

This collection was rearranged in 2011 in accordance with the various subjects it covers. The current arrangement is, however, largely based on the original inventory established by its creator, Ruth Gans. While the order of the folders themselves has changed, none of the contents within each folder have been removed or reorganized in any way.

Guide to the Papers of the Landsberger Gans Family 1887-2008 AR 25331
Processed by Yakov Illich Sklar and Benjamin Serby
© 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Made possible by the Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives Grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources through The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support "Illuminating Hidden Collections at the Center for Jewish History"
Edition statement
This version was derived from LandsbergerGansFamily.xml

Revision Statements

  • May 2012 : Link to digital object for Box 2 Folder 3 added in Container List.
  • August 6, 2012 : Links to digital objects for remaining folders added in Container List.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States