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Alten Family Collection

 Collection
Identifier: AR 7198

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains materials about Kurt Alten, his parents Emil Aron and Selma Aron-Alten, and the family of his sister, Elli Loewenthal. The bulk consists of restitution files for Kurt Alten and Selma Aron-Alten. These files appear to be a fairly complete documentary portrait of a complex restitution, involving not only the property of Kurt and Selma Alten but also the estates of the Loewenthal family (deported and murdered in Auschwitz in 1943), Max Aron (died 1940), and Rosette Aron (died 1920).

Other materials include documents about Kurt Alten and his family. Most of these are of an administrative or official nature, such as birth certificates, passports, and educational documents. The family materials also contain documents about Selma's immigration and about efforts to trace Elli Loewenthal and her family after the war. There are also documents about Alten's extended family and some genealogical information about the Aron and Cohn families. There is little personal material in this collection.

Dates

  • 1882-1968
  • Majority of material found within 1943-1967

Creator

Language of Materials

This collection is primarily in German, with a significant amount of English and some Spanish.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers. Publication of information about family funds must be approved by Helga Alten.

Access Information

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

Biographical Note

Kurt Walter Aron (1907-1969) was born in Berlin to Dr. Emil Aron (1864-1932) and Selma Aron (née Cohn, 1870-1964). In 1939, he changed his surname from Aron to Alten. In the 1940s, his mother also changed her last name, to Aron-Alten.

Dr. Emil Aron, Kurt's father, was a medical doctor and Sanitätsrat at the Jewish Hospital in Berlin for more than 25 years. During World War One, he served the German army, although he was over 50 years old. Kurt's mother Selma was the daughter of Ephraim Cohn, a successful Berlin merchant. Both the Cohn and the Aron families were assimilated, well-educated, and financially successful.

In 1928, Alten passed the legal trainee exam in Berlin. He received his law degree in 1930 from the University of Heidelberg, and in December 1932 was hired as a Gerichtsassessor in Berlin. In April 1933, he was fired because he was Jewish. Alten immigrated to the United States via Cuba in 1936, and was naturalized in 1937. He settled in New York, and in 1945 married Helga Nord (1916- ). Alten worked as an accountant for the remainder of his professional career, and in 1969 died in Lisbon, Portugal while traveling.

In October 1941, Selma Aron-Alten managed to escape Germany via Portugal and Cuba. She arrived in the United States in 1942, where she joined her son in New York. However, despite Kurt's best efforts, his sister, Elli Loewenthal (1905-1943), was unable to emigrate. She was deported from Berlin to Auschwitz on the 26th Ost Transport (January 12, 1943), together with her husband, Otto Loewenthal (1899-1943), and her children, Renate (1931-1943) and Eddie-Peter (1938-1943).

Extent

1 Linear Feet

Abstract

This collection contains materials about Kurt Alten, his parents Emil Aron and Selma Aron-Alten, and the family of his sister, Elli Loewenthal. The bulk consists of restitution files for Kurt Alten and Selma Aron-Alten. Other materials include documents about Kurt Alten and his family. Most of these are of an administrative or official nature. There are also documents about Alten's extended family and some genealogical information about the Aron and Cohn families. There is little personal material in this collection.

Arrangement

This collection was arranged into three series. Documents were generally arranged chronologically. The documents within the folders of Series III were left in their original order, which was often roughly chronological.

Related Material

LBI holds an archival collection containing materials about Kurt's father Emil Aron (AR 3782). The LBI Library also holds many of Aron's medical publications.

Separated Material

Printed texts of military and German restitution laws from 1949 to 1953 were removed to the LBI library.

A bound book containing about 140 Cohn family documents was cataloged separately under AR 11871. The book contains documents, dating from 1819-1884, relating to the Cohn family of Pyrtiz, Stettin, and Berlin. Document types include personal and business letters, religious documents such as sermons and shochet certifications, wills, and workbooks for Jewish schools.

Processing Information

Duplicates and envelopes were removed. Documents were unfolded and photographs individually housed. Articles in newspapers and journals were photocopied as per LBI processing guidelines. Some outgoing correspondence and typescript copies are fragile.

Title
Guide to the Alten Family Collection Undated, 1882-1968, bulk 1943-1967 AR 7198
Status
In Progress
Author
Processed by Kevin Schlottmann
Date
© 2011
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Revision Statements

  • July 24, 2013 : Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

Contact:
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New York NY 10011 United States