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Hermann Lewin Collection

Identifier: AR 25605

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of Hermann Lewin and his family as well as materials about the Schocken family, especially their publishing enterprise in the United States and Salman Schocken’s book collection. The materials span a century with several gaps. They were probably gathered by Hortense Lewin, who was likely Hermann Lewin’s wife.

Folder 1 houses the papers of Hermann Lewin and his immediate family. These include letters, various cards, photographs, recommendation letters, newspaper clippings, Hermann Lewin’s passport, and copies of Karl Lewin’s World War I military papers bound in a small booklet. There is also a memory book that Charlotte Lewin kept from the time Hermann was born through his early childhood. In addition to her entries, it contains poetry printed on the pages, photographs, stamps, dried flowers, a lock of hair, and a piece of cloth in very good condition. Folder 2 holds a photo album of the Schocken family. It includes also a detailed list of the family members throughout five generations. In folder 3, there are materials (mainly newspaper clippings) relating to the Schocken Publishing House and Salman Schocken’s book collection that was sold in 2005. Folder 4 houses a typed letter from Thomas Mann written in Zürich, Switzerland, in which he requested the extension of his German passport and also claimed his property left behind in Germany. The letter is undated, but was most certainly written after 1933; its connection to this collection is unclear. In folder 5 there are newspaper clippings pertaining to a broad variety of topics including the lives of Julius Schocken and Albert Reitmann. Also included are a brochure from the Moses Mendelssohn Center in Dessau, Germany, and short publications pertaining to various topics in Jewish history, such as Scottish Jews, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Franz Werfel, the Wannsee Protokoll, and the Dessau Jewish community.


  • 1898-2005


Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers.

Access Information

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.

Biographical Note

Hermann Lewin was born on July 30, 1912, in Geestemünde, Germany. His parents, Karl Lewin (1881-1946) and Charlotte Lewin, née Hirsch (1891-) were married in Berlin-Schöneberg in October 1911. Charlotte’s mother Emma was the sister of Salman and Simon Schocken, the founders of the Schocken department store chain and the Schocken publishing house. Simon Schocken was Hermann Lewin’s “godfather” (sandak). Karl Lewin worked for the Schocken family enterprise starting in 1910. The young Lewin couple and their son Hermann moved to Freiberg in 1914 when Karl Lewin was appointed manager of the Schocken department store there. Hermann’s two younger sisters, Hanna and Eva were born there in 1915 and 1920. Martin Buber was a frequent guest in the Lewin home.

In 1930, the Lewins moved to Chemnitz, Germany, where a new Schocken department store was opened under Karl Lewin’s management. In 1935, a month after celebrating twenty five years of employment at the Schocken enterprise, Karl Lewin left Chemnitz with his family. Karl and Charlotte Lewin, together with their youngest daughter Eva emigrated to Palestine, where Karl Lewin died in 1946. Hanna married an Englishman in 1935 and lived in England thereafter. According to Hermann Lewin’s German passport, he traveled extensively to England, Palestine, Belgium, and Italy in the early 1930s, and he eventually immigrated to the United States.

In addition to the publishing house in Israel, the Schocken family bought the majority shares of the Ha’aretz daily. Salman Schocken’s son Gershom (1912-1990) was its chief editor until his death in 1990. In addition to the business enterprise, Simon Schocken was known for his rare book collection, which was auctioned in 2005.


0.5 Linear Feet


The collection contains the papers of Hermann Lewin and his family. Also included are materials pertaining to Salman Schocken and the Schocken family, which was related to the Lewin family by marriage.


The collection is arranged topically.

Digitization Note

The collection was digitized and made accessible in its entirety.

Related Material

The Leo Baeck Institute has a Schocken-Lewin Family Collection (AR 11188).

The memoirs of Karl Lewin, written in Haifa in 1939, are included in an article by Eva Grünberg née Lewin ’Die Lebenserfahrungen meines Vaters’, which appears in Glück auf, mein Freiberg!, Jüdisches Leben in der Bergstadt Freiberg - eine Spurensuche. Teil 2, edited by Michael Düsing (Freiberg: Medienzentrum der TU Bergakademie Freiberg, 1995, pages 94-115). A copy of this book was originally donated with the archival materials.

Processing Information

Hermann Lewin’s memory book was rehoused in an archival book box. The original folders of the collection were discarded and the materials rehoused in acid free paper folders.

Guide to the Hermann Lewin Collection 1898-2005 AR 25605
Processed by Katalin Franciska Rac
© 2014
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Processing made possible by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany and the Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) Europe. Digitization made possible by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany.

Revision Statements

  • March 2015: dao links and digitization information added by Leanora Lange.
  • July 2015: dao links to oversized material added and digitization note updated by Leanora Lange.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States