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Ida Ehre Collection

Identifier: AR 5926

Scope and Content Note

This small collection contains papers pertaining to the actress and director Ida Ehre. Among the material in this collection are a number of articles, clippings, programs and obituaries that provide information on her life and work. Other papers include some correspondence with Liselotte Sperber and a few photographs.

The bulk of papers in this collection consists of published material that pertains to Ida Ehre's life and especially her management of the Hamburger Kammerspiele. The first three folders in the collection relate to these subjects. Among the second folder are a few programs from performances by the Kammerspiele, in addition to other articles and some newspaper clippings. The first folder of the collection contains a program for the theatrical adaptation of the 1955 film comedy Ladykillers, put on by the theater in 1987 and signed by Ida Ehre and some of the other cast. Additionally, this folder holds some correspondence concerning the program. The second folder primarily holds articles and newspaper clippings on Ida Ehre's role as head of the Kammerspiele, as well as descriptions of her career and how it led to her position. Some of the published material pertains to honors she received or noteworthy events, such as the awarding of the Schiller Prize to her by the city of Mannheim, her fiftieth stage anniversary and the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Kammerspiele. Folder 3 is comprised of obituaries from various German and American newspapers and also holds a condolence letter from Liselotte Sperber to Ida Ehre's daughter Ruth.

Correspondence in this collection is located in folder 4, and almost entirely consists of correspondence between Ida Ehre and her close friend Liselotte (called Lisl or Lisa by Ehre) Sperber. Most of this correspondence dates from the 1980s, although there are a handful of earlier letters, include two that mention 1956-1957 possible visiting arrangements when Sperber's daughter Ann traveled in Germany. Most letters discuss family news, their health, and arrangements for visiting. In 1985 the two friends became "adopted sisters" to each other, since both had lost their biological sisters many years before. A few letters mention honors Ida Ehre received, her published memoirs, and a few of the roles she played during the mid-1980s. One letter from Liselotte Sperber's father, Julius Süss, to Ida Ehre in 1964 is also present.

The final folder in this collection holds photographic material. Much of this is comprised of photocopies of photographs that feature Ida Ehre, mostly from the 1980s. There are also three photograph prints; among these is a photograph of Liselotte Süss and her sister Aenne with Ida Ehre in 1926 and a picture of Ida Ehre and her daughter Ruth in Woodstock, New York. This folder also holds a couple of slides and negatives and a ticket stub from a performance of the Hamburger Kammerspiele in 1985.


  • Creation: 1928-1989
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1981-1986


Language of Materials

The collection is primarily in German and English, with some Spanish.

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

Ida Ehre was born in the Moravian town of Prerau (now Přerov, Czech Republic) on July 9, 1900; her father was a hazzan. Her parents resettled in Vienna in 1901, where she grew up and studied at the Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst (1916-1919).

In 1918 she debuted as Iphegenie in Goethe's Iphegenie auf Tauris in Bielitz (Silesia). During the following years she worked at theaters in Bielitz, Czernowitz and Bukarest (1920) before she went to Cottbus (1921). From 1922 onwards she worked in theaters in Frankfurt, Bonn and Königsberg (1923-1925) where she worked with Leopold Jessner. Her next engagement was in Stuttgart (1925-1926) where Ehre met her husband, gynecologist Bernard Heyde. She married him while she was working in Mannheim (1927-1931). Their daughter Ruth was born in 1929.

In 1931 her career led her to the Lessing Theater in Berlin. Two years later Ehre was forced to leave the stage due to the Nazi racial laws. She moved to Böblingen near Stuttgart with her husband, where she assisted him in his medical practice.

In August 1939 they tried to immigrate to Chile. Ehre's non-Jewish husband got papers as an agricultural laborer and Ida Ehre obtained a baptismal certificate from a Catholic priest in order to procure a visa. They boarded the Roda, a small German ship. When they reached the Azores the war broke out and the ship returned to Germany, where they stayed in Hamburg. In Fall 1943 Ehre was reported to the Gestapo. She was sent to the women's camp in Fuhlsbüttel which she was allowed to leave after eight weeks.

On December 10, 1945 Ida Ehre opened the Hamburger Kammerspiele on Hartungstraße, where she was director together with Erich Rohloff. Draußen vor der Tür (The Man Outside) by Wolfgang Borchert was one of the earliest pieces. Other early works included works by Thornton Wilder, Jean Anouilh and Jean Giraudoux.

In 1971 Ehre received the Schiller Prize from the city of Mannheim. In 1985 her memoir Gott hat einen großen Kopf, mein Kind was published. She died February 16, 1989 in Hamburg.


0.25 Linear Feet


The Ida Ehre Collection contains material on the actress and theater director Ida Ehre. Much of the papers in this collection focus on her postwar work as director of the Hamburger Kammerspiele; biographical information on the actress is particularly evident, along with correspondence with her friend Liselotte Sperber. The collection is comprised of articles, newspaper clippings, Hamburger Kammerspiele programs, personal correspondence, obituaries and a few photographs.


The collection has been arranged topically. Due to its small size, the collection does not contain series.

Related Material

The following archival collection and books are related to this collection:

  1. Liselotte Sperber Collection [AR 10251]
  2. Ida Ehre by Anna Brenken [st 3285]
  3. "Mutter Courage des Theaters": Ida Ehre by Verena Joos [PN 2658 E47 J66 1999]

Separated Material

Three books were removed from the archival collection to the LBI Library:

  1. Gott hat einen groesseren Kopf, mein Kind by Ida Ehre [PN 2658 E47 A18]
  2. Mutter Courage und ihr Theater: Ida Ehre und die Hamburger Kammerspiele [st 987]
  3. Ida Ehre im Gespraech mit Schepp Selz [PN 5658 E47 I_33 1999]

Processing Information

The collection was organized into its present arrangement in 2001. At this time, books were removed to the LBI Library. In 2010 description was added to the collection's inventory during the creation of the EAD finding aid.

Guide to the Papers of Ida Ehre (1900-1989) 1928-1989 AR 5926
Processed by Dianne Ritchey and LBI Staff
© 2010
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from IdaEhre.xml

Revision Statements

  • January 07, 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