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Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss Collection

Identifier: AR 1020

Scope and Content Note

Ranging from 1946 to 1982, the materials in the Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss collection includes correspondence, clippings, photographs, posters, programs, drafts of essays and writings, typed lectures, and a hand-edited manuscript

The bulk of the collection consists of typed, photocopied and hand-written correspondence with a variety of correspondents. The writings series includes: hand-written and typed poems in German with marginalia; typed presentations and lectures, both in German and English; a hand-edited German manuscript about Paul Celan. While the topics within the correspondence and writings cover a broad range, the most prominent discuss issues of coping with life after the Holocaust, poetry, literature, criticism, day-to-day existence, as well as speaking engagements, appearances and lectures involving Blumenthal-Weiss. There are also press clippings and typed articles, three black and white photographs, as well as posters and programs related to Blumenthal-Weiss and her work.

The following names are mentioned in this collection: Arendt, Hannah, 1906-1975; Baeck, Leo, 1873-1956; Brod, Max, 1884-1968; Buber, Martin, 1878-1965; Celan, Paul; Hesse, Hermann, 1877-1962; Huder, Walther (Hasenclever), 1890-1940; Kolmar, Gertrud, 1894-1943?; Lasker-Schueler, Else, 1869-1945; Picard, Jacob, 1883-1967; Rilke, Rainer Maria, 1875-1926; Sachs, Nelly; Susman, Margarete, 1874-1966; Weltsch, Robert.


  • 1935-1989
  • Majority of material found within 1942-1978


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English, and Hebrew.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

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

Use Restrictions

Select correspondence with Robert Weltsch is closed. Correspondence with Margarethe Susman requires permission. For more information, contact: Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011 email:

Biographical Note<extptr actuate="onload" altrender="Portrait of Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss (1899-1987)" href="" linktype="simple" show="embed" title="Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss (1899-1987)"/>

Born in Berlin on October 14, 1899, Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss was by training and profession an orthopedic specialist. She wrote poetry from an early age, an interest that was to lead to the publication of her first volume of verse, Gesicht und Maske, in 1929 and to a correspondence with Rainer Maria Rilke, which was published in Briefe aus Muzot in 1935.

Blumenthal-Weiss was subjected to the horrors of the concentration camp having lost her son to Mauthausen and her husband to Auschwitz. Survivors of Westerbork and Theresienstadt, Blumenthal-Weiss and her surviving daughter immigrated to the United States in 1947. Three volumes of her verse were published in the Federal Republic of Germany: Das Schlüsselwunder: Gedichte in 1954, Mahnmal in 1960, and Ohnesarg: Gedichte Und Ein Dokumentarischer Bericht in 1984. Often writing about the Holocaust and the pain of loss, Blumenthal-Weiss’s poetic legacy has made a significant contribution to women’s studies and exile literature. She died in 1987 in Connecticut after many active years as a highly respected scholar and poet in the German intellectual community of New York City.


0.25 Linear Feet


This collection documents select periods throughout the life and career of German poet Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss. Containing material related to her personal and professional life, the bulk of this collection is made up of correspondence. Also included are poetry drafts, lectures, a manuscript, press clippings, and ephemera.


The collection is divided into three series in the following manner:

Related Material

The Max Kreutzberger Collection, AR 7183; Franz Kobler Collection, AR 7184; Johanna Meyer-Lövinson, AR 299; Max Grünewald Collection, AR 7204; Robert Weltsch Collection, AR 7185; at the Leo Baeck Institute Archives contain materials pertaining to Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss.

More materials will be found with the Kurt Richard Grossman Papers, Hoover Institution Archives; Harry Zohn Papers, Houghton Library, Harvard University; Rilke, Rainer Maria Papers, Houghton Library, Harvard University, and with the Autograph File, B. Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Various published materials by Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss are held by the Leo Baeck Institute Library.

Separated Material

Photographs removed to Photograph Collection. [AV Collection (Tapes)]: "Zeitgeschichte in Lebensgeschichten. Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss im Gespraech mit Bernd H. Stappert." Sueddeutscher Rundfunk, Suedwestfunk, Saarlaendischer Rundfunk, Aug 27, 1982, 5pm “Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss: Begegnungen mit Else Lasker, Nelly Sachs, Leo Baeck, Martin Buber,” a privately printed text of a 1976 Blumenthal-Weiss lecture was removed from the collection to the library. Originally folded, large posters were unfolded and moved to an oversized storage box for preservation purposes.

Processing Information

Originally grouped together, clippings, photographs, posters and programs, correspondence and writings were divided into distinct subject files. Writings were further divided into the following subject files: drafts, lectures, and manuscript (Paul Celan). Correspondence was arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Select photographs have been photocopied.

Guide to the Papers of Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss (1899-1987) 1935-1989 AR 1020
Processed by Kate Jadwin
© 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from IlseBlumenthalWeiss.xml

Revision Statements

  • July 25, 2013 : 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