Bernhard Kahn Collection
Scope and Content Note
The Bernhard Kahn Collection documents the educational and professional achievements of Dr. Bernhard Kahn. It is largely comprised of personal and professional correspondence, clippings, manuscripts and official documents, such as certificates and Geleitbriefe (Laissez-Passer). Latter were issued by e.g. the German, Russian and Swedish governments in order to facilitate Bernhard Kahn’s travel and work regarding the support of distressed Russian Jews.
His professional activities during his travels are depicted in Bernhard Kahn's letters to his wife and in addition the correspondence illustrates the political situation and the living conditions of Jews in the countries he visited. Various articles inform about his biography and his work for different Jewish organizations. In additions, the collection holds speeches and lectures by Bernhard Kahn which describe his opinion on the current situation of Jews and the Jewish history.
- Majority of material found in 1908-1955
- Kahn, Bernhard, 1876-1955 (Person)
Language of Materials
The collection is in German, French, Russian, Polish, Swedish and Hebrew.
Open to researchers.
Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.
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
Berhard Kahn was born on April 9, 1876, in Oscarshamm, Sweden, as the son of Jacob and Jetta (Sandel) Kahn. He studied law and economics in the University of Wuerzburg where he received his LLD in 1899.
After the pogrom in Kishineff (Kishinev) in 1903, Dr. Kahn joined the protest movement against the oppression of Jews and in 1904 became Secretary-General of the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden. The following 50 years of his life he devoted to welfare and relief activities on behalf of needy Jews. In 1921 he joined the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) staff as director of the refugee department. From 1924 to 1939 he served as the European Director for the JDC and as Managing Director of the American Joint Reconstruction Foundation. Other titles held by Dr. Kahn during his long career included chairman of the advisory council of Oeuvre de secours aux enfants (OSE), honorary president of the American and European Friends of ORT, executive member of the Jewish Agency and director of the Central Bank for Cooperative Institutions in Israel. He successively became a German, French and U.S. citizen. When he migrated to the U.S. in 1939 Dr. Kahn was elected Honorary Chairman of the JDC European Council, a post which he held until 1950 when he was elected a JDC Vice-Chairman.
On April 26, 1955 Bernhard Kahn died in White Plains, New York, at the age of 79, leaving behind his wife, Mrs. Dora F. Kahn and his son, Ludwig Werner Kahn.
1 Linear Feet
Bernhard Kahn dedicated 50 years of his life to welfare activities in order to help distressed Jews. Among others he worked for the Hilfsverein der deutschen Juden, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Comittee and the American Joint Reconstruction Foundation .The collection contains personal as well as professional correspondence, articles on Bernhard Kahn’s work and biography, lectures and speeches by him and a number of official documents such as letters of consignment, citizenship papers and educational and professional certificates.
The collection is arranged into two series:
Photographs have been removed to the Photograph Collection.
The original order has been slightly changed; two folders were moved to match the thematic order of the collection.
- American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
- Clippings (information artifacts)
- Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden (Germany)
- Jewish lawyers
- Jews -- Social life and customs
- Judaism -- History
- Kahn, Bernhard, 1876-1955
- London (England)
- Manuscripts (documents)
- New York (N.Y.)
- Paris (France)
- Social service
- Guide to the Papers of Bernhard Kahn (1876-1955) 1901-1955 AR 416
- 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 BernhardKahn.xml
- July 17, 2013 : Links to digital objects added in Container List.
Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository
15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States