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Leiter and Berliner Family Collection

Identifier: AR 4448

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the personal papers of members of the Leiter and Berliner families, who are related through the marriage of Siegfried Leiter and Hedwig Berliner.

The collection contains a large amount of official papers, including vital documents, passports, late 19th century Prussian naturalization certificates, official correspondence, residency certificates, and official decrees. Personal correspondence and poems are included as well. Some of the personal correspondence comes from those held in Theresienstadt. Jakob Levy’s papers include official decrees such as an evacuation order sent to him by the Gestapo as well as handwritten contracts indicating that he and Nanni Berliner wished to marry in 1942 and planned for their return to Hamburg after the war. Minna Berliner’s papers also include bank records from Amsterdam, official correspondence, and restitution materials.

Folders 6-7 contain items that do not clearly correspond to a single individual. These items include poems written in Theresienstadt (author unknown), official decrees, clippings from publications of the Reichsvertretung der Juden in Deutschland, and five yellow badges (Judensterne). The negative photograph in folder 7 depicts a family casually sitting outdoors.

An inventory with a more detailed description of each item is included in the previous finding aid and inventory list in folder 8. Because most of the photographs and three-dimensional objects have been removed to the Photograph Collection and the Art and Object Collection at LBI, this finding aid and inventory list is no longer accurate concerning the arrangement of the items in the collection, but the descriptions remain accurate.


  • 1911-1958, 1977


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English, and Dutch.

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

Benno and Siegfried Leiter were brothers both born in Altona, Germany. Benno Leiter (1890-1958) became a manufacturer of women’s clothing and co-owner of the business Klein & Leiter in Berlin. He served in the German military during World War I. He married Helene Marie Finke, a gentile, in 1932, and the couple made an unsuccessful attempt to emigrate to Cuba in 1939. Benno lived through World War II as a forced laborer in Berlin. He and Helene Marie immigrated to the United States in 1947.

Siegfried Leiter (1897-1975) immigrated to the United States in 1939 with his wife Hedwig née Berliner, and the couple settled in New Rochelle, New York. Hedwig’s parents were Itzig Berliner and Nanni Berliner née Kristeller. Itzig Berliner died in 1922. Nanni Berliner survived Theresienstadt. While in Theresienstadt, she and Jakob Levy (1876-1943) were engaged and asked a rabbi in Theresienstadt to be married. It is not clear from the materials whether a wedding took place. Jakob Levy perished in February of 1943.

Other members of the Berliner family whose exact relation are not clear from the materials include Siegfried Berliner, a soldier who died in World War I, and Minna Berliner (1891-1952), a hat maker who lived in Berlin until she was forced to flee to Holland. Minna Berliner survived the Nazi years in Amsterdam and eventually immigrated to the United States, where she married and took the last name Rosenbaum.


0.25 Linear Feet


This collection contains the personal papers of members of the Leiter and Berliner families of Hamburg and Berlin. Some members of these families immigrated to the United States in the late 1930s while others survived World War II in Amsterdam, as forced laborers in Berlin, or in Theresienstadt. Materials include vital documents, official papers, personal correspondence, poems, clippings, official announcements and orders, banking records, restitution materials, and a few photographs.


The collection is arranged alphabetically by name, with the exception of materials that are not clearly connected to a single individual, which are grouped by document type at the end of the collection.

Digitization Note

The collection was digitized and made accessible in its entirety.

Separated Material

Objects separated to the LBI Art and Objects Collection include military dog tags, an Iron Cross medal from World War I, an armband reading “Deutsche Wehrmacht,” a folding cup, and a knife and fork pair. A photograph of Ernst Eylenburg, whose connection to the Berliner and Leiter families is not clear from the collection materials, has been removed to the LBI Photograph Collection and can be viewed online: Ernst Eylenburg portrait.

Processing Information

This collection was initially processed in 1977. Objects and photographs were separated in 2000 and 2001. In 2013, an EAD finding aid was created and some materials were rehoused into acid-free archival folders. Torn materials were placed in Mylar sleeves, and the negative was placed in a polyethylene sleeve.

Guide to the Leiter and Berliner Family Collection 1911-1958, 1977 AR 4448
Processed by Leanora Lange
© 2013
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Processing made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany. Digitization made possible by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany.

Revision Statements

  • April 2015: dao links and digitization information added by Leanora Lange.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States