Skip to main content

Buchheim Jonas Family Collection

Identifier: AR 25755

Scope and Content Note

The Buchheim Jonas Family Collection contains papers of members of the Buchheim family, originally of Dauborn, Germany, and of the related Jonas family from Waldbreitbach, Germany. The collection was originally organized in one large binder, but was divided into multiple folders during the archival processing of the collection. It includes family photographs, family trees, correspondence from the 1930s and 1940s and later correspondence that relates to this time and the fate of family members during the Holocaust. Maps of the village of Waldbreitbach and copies of town records and some family members' official documents are also part of this collection.

The first four folders of the collection provide an overview of the related Buchheim and Jonas families. Included in the folder of introductory documents (1/1) is a timeline that describes Inge Sklar's life in Germany, immigration story, and later life in New York. This folder includes a letter from United States immigration offices declining her visa application for her parents and sister in 1942. The following folder contains material on the village of Buchheim, from which the Jonas family came. Included are copies of maps and photographs of the village, along with copies of town records that feature family members, and copies of their official documents. Included are copies of Louis Jonas's World War I military service record and Inge Jonas's Jewish identification booklet from the 1930s. The next two folders feature family photographs as well as oversized construction plans for Meier Buchheim's house in Dauborn, which had been included with the photographs. The photographs largely focus on members of Jonas family and of their residence in Waldbreitbach, but also include several photos of Meier Buchheim.

One folder (1/4) pertains to the family's genealogy, including some trees of the Strauss family and many of the different branches of the Jonas family. The family trees assist in showing how the Jonas family spread across the planet, ending up in the United States, Australia, and Israel. The trees are especially useful when used in conjunction with the DVD video originally in this collection (now removed to the LBI Audiovisual Collection).

The folder "Pleas for Help" (folder 1/5) primarily consists of family members' correspondence during the late 1930s and early 1940s, although some letters date later. Many letters and telegrams in this folder concern Meier Buchheim and his efforts to get out of Germany, including several telegrams and letters that relate to a failed attempt to go to Cuba. Several of Meier Buchheim's letters were sent from Frankfurt am Main in addition to others from Dauborn. Most of his letters focus on imparting family news or asking about family; emigration efforts are also frequently mentioned. There is also one letter from November 19, 1938 from Louis Jonas, which mentions plans to emigrate. Several other letters from various family members impart family news and mention emigration as well. An undated later letter from a "Ludwig," a nephew of Meier Buchheim, to "Rosi" (no surnames), tells of the deaths and transports of various individuals in Theresienstadt. This letter is followed by an article about a trip to Theresienstadt in 1996, with information about suicides in the concentration camp. Other correspondence in this folder include letters from Willy and Hilde Jonas in Basel and family members in Neuwied.

The following folder pertains to material about the family after World War II. Included are copies of citizenship papers for Louis and Ella Jonas, correspondence about family property in Waldbreitbach, a letter to Elsbeth Brotman from the mayor of Waldbreitbach concerning a memorial, and material relating to museum exhibitions about the Holocaust.

The final folder of the collection holds papers previously held in the original binder's cover. These include correspondence and official documents for Inge Sklar. Her documents include report booklets from her Basel secondary school for 1935 through 1937 and documents from the United States censorship program documenting her position as a clerk translator with them, and the ending of the position as the program was ended in 1944. Other documents in this folder include recent correspondence that mentions a young family member's project about Jewish families from Dauborn and a memoir by Laure Schoenfeld-Lehrer, daughter of Siegfried and Irma Jonas, about her family's flight from Vichy France through Spain and Portugal and eventual arrival in New York. With these papers is also an unidentified photograph. The folder also includes a letter that mentions a recent family trip to Waldbreitbach.


  • Creation: 1920-2017


Language of Materials

The collection is in English and German.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

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

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

Meier Buchheim lived in Dauborn, Germany. In 1893 he married Lina Strauß. They had three daughters: Ella, Betti, and Klara, although Klara died in infancy. Meier Buchheim served in World War I, and was awarded the Iron Cross, Second Class in 1917. He died in 1943, having committed suicide in the concentration camp Theresienstadt.

In 1919 Ella Buchheim married the cattle dealer Louis Jonas of the village of Waldbreitbach, near the town of Neuwied, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The Jonas family was one of six Jewish families in Waldbreitbach, and the families of Louis Jonas and his father Jakob Jonas shared one house, across the street from the village's small synagogue. Louis and Ella had two daughters: Inge, born in 1921, and Elsbeth, born in 1923.

In 1935 Inge went to Belgium to attend a private school and learn French. Afterward, she went to Basel, Switzerland, where her uncle Willy Jonas and aunt Hilde lived. There she attended the Mädchenrealschule (Girls' Secondary School). In 1939 her uncle sent her to England, where she first attended the Masterman-Smith English Institute to learn English. Afterward she studied at the Highbury Nursery Training College. In 1940 she was able to reunite with her parents and sister in England.

Inge was able to get an American visa, and left England on August 10, 1940 to go to New York City where her aunt Betty (née Buchheim) Moser lived in the neighborhood of Washington Heights, along with her uncle Morris (Moritz) Moser, and cousin Lore. Inge's parents and sister followed later. In New York, Inge met Saymour Sklar. He joined the Navy, and the couple married in 1943, before he was sent to fight in the Pacific. During the war she worked as a translator for the postal censorship department, translating the letters of German prisoners of war. After the war, Inge and Saymour had two children and lived in New Jersey. Her sister Elsbeth married Gerald (Jerry) Brotman, and had one son; they lived in Maryland.


0.25 Linear Feet


The Buchheim Jonas Family Collection holds documentation of various branches of the Jonas family of Waldbreitbach, Germany, especially the descendants of Louis Jonas and Ella Buchheim, and tells of their emigration from Germany. In addition, it documents aspects of the life of Meier Buchheim of Dauborn, Germany, especially his attempt to emigrate and later death. The collection includes many family photographs, family trees, correspondence, official documents, material on the village of Waldbreitbach, and other documentation.


The collection is arranged in original order in one series.

Related Material

Related is the Betty and Morris Moser Collection (AR 25497).

Separated Material

A DVD from this collection was removed to the LBI Audiovisual Collection. The DVD is titled "Out of the Valley" and is about the Jonas family's history and experiences in the village of Waldbreitbach, Germany. This video provides a great deal of biographical information about the family.

Processing Information

The collection was originally housed in a three-ring binder. During the processing of the archival collection, the binder was disassembled, with items removed from plastic sleeves and each of its divisions made a folder of the collection. Papers in the binder's covers were likewise placed in an archival folder.

Guide to the Papers of the Buchheim Jonas Family 1902-2017 AR 25755
Processed by Dianne Ritchey
© 2017
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from Buchheim_Jonas_Family.xml

Revision Statements

  • April 10, 2018 : 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