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Berthold Rosenthal Family Collection

Identifier: AR 25248

Scope and Content Note

The Berthold Rosenthal Collection documents the life of Berthold Rosenthal and his family, starting in 1940, the year of Berthold and Johanna Rosenthal's immigration to the U.S. The papers of this collection are largely comprised of personal correspondence between the part of the family living in the U.S. (Berthold, his wife Johanna and their two daughters) and Berthold's son, Ernst, who lived on a Kibbutz in Palestine/Israel.

The letters are predominantly a mixture of information on familial happenings, such as marriages and the birth of children as well as of intense discussions on political events which frequently affected the parents' lives in the U.S. and Ernst's life in Israel directly. In addition, the collection contains articles on Berthold Rosenthal's biography and works as well as family trees.


  • Creation: 1912-1984
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1940-1961


Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English.

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

Berthold Rosenthal was born on January 17, 1875 in Liedolsheim bei Karlsruhe, the son of Emanuel Rosenthal, a cattle dealer and Babette née Weil. In 1914 he married Johanna née Benzian. In the following years they had three children: Ernst, Ruth, and Lotte. From 1889-1891 Rosenthal attended preparatory school in Tauberbischofsheim. For the following three years he studied towards his teaching degree (Baden-Würtemberg). After receiving his teaching degree in Karlsruhe, he taught Jewish religion classes before moving on to a 'Gymnasium' in Mannheim.

From 1914-1916 Rosenthal served in World War I. He was released from service because of an eye injury. He resumed teaching in Mannheim, where he continued until forced to leave in 1933. In addition to teaching, he wrote for the Jewish magazine Die neue Volksschulwarte. He was also involved in Jewish charity organizations and collected information on Jews in Baden; in 1927 his work Heimatgeschichte der badischen Juden was published. This work would become very important in the future, since it contained much information on Jews in Badenlost under the National Socialist regime. After he lost his teaching position in 1933, he conducted research and contributed articles to the Germania Judaica, a work focusing on the history of Jews in Germany. The Germania Judaica was banned in (say year), and was eventually published by the Leo Baeck Institute in 1968.

In September 1940 Berthold Rosenthal and his wife Johanna escaped to the United States via Portugal. They arrived in New York and were greeted by Berthold Rosenthal’s two daughters and younger siblings, who had left Germany earlier. His eldest son Ernst went to live in Palestine on a kibbutz. Berthold Rosenthal lived for eight years in New York, staying with his daughters and working in an export business owned by a relative. Eventually, Berthold Rosenthal moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where he died on December 16, 1957.


0.5 Linear Feet


This collection holds predominately private letters from Berthold Rosenthal to his son on a Kibbutz in Israel. The correspondence documents developments within his domestic life from 1940 to his death in 1957. The correspondence covers his opinions on a variety of political and religious topics. The collection also contains articles on Berthold Rosenthal’s life and his works.


The collection is divided into two series:


The collection is on two reels of microfilm (MF 1073):

  1. Reel 1: 1/1 - 1/7
  2. Reel 2: 1/8 - 1/15

Related Material

A number of books written by Berthold Rosenthal are in the LBI Library and the LBI Archives also holds the Berthold Rosenthal Collection, AR 637.

Separated Material

Memoirs of Berthold Rosenthal have been removed to the Memoir Collection.

Processing Information

The original order has been slightly changed; a folder was moved to match the thematic order of the collection.

Guide to the Papers of the Berthold Rosenthal Family 1912-1984 AR 25248 / MF 1073
Processed by Sophia Nacke
© 2010
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from BertholdRosenthalFamily.xml

Revision Statements

  • November 2010:: Microfilm inventory added.
  • September 2011:: Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States