Lili Wronker Family Collection
Scope and Content Note
This collection primarily documents the lives of the various Wronker family members. It consists of personal papers and official records, correspondence, postcards, albums, publications, drawings, photographs and photo albums, offprints, and artifacts and objects.
More than half of the collection is comprised of the personal papers of family members. Prominent among these are Max and Irma Wronker, Hermann and Alice Engel, and Lili and Erich Wronker. Series 1 of Subgroup I includes such items as the daily calendars of Max Wronker, guestbooks of Hermann and Alice Engel, material concerning the Hermann Wronker plaque and the Stoatley Rough School, family trees and genealogical information, a postcard collection, and an album of currency. Series 1 of Subgroup II deals primarily with Hermann and Alice Engel. Among the papers in this series are a guestbook, biographical sketches, emigration and identification papers, and poetry albums. Professional papers of Hermann Engel are placed in Series 3 of Subgroup II; a large portion of these documents are recommendations, certificates, and offprints. A few personal items of family members are located in Series 4 of Subgroup I.
Correspondence of family members will be found in several areas of the collection. Correspondence of Max, Irma, and Erich Wronker will be found in Series 1 of Subgroup I. The majority of this Wronker family correspondence is between Max and Irma Wronker. Hermann and Alice Engel's correspondence is located in Series 2 of Subgroup II. It largely consists of restitution correspondence, although it also includes personal correspondence of both Hermann and Alice Engel as well as professional correspondence primarily pertaining to Hermann Engel's medical practice in New York.
A small amount of material in this collection concerns the Hermann Wronker Warenhaus AG of Frankfurt am Main. Documents on the department store will be found in Series 2 of Subgroup I. Additionally, a few objects from the store have been placed in Series 4 of the same subgroup.
This collection also holds many photographs of and by family members, especially those taken by Max Wronker. Photographs are located in Series 3 of Subgroup I and Series 4 of Subgroup II. They include such topics as family members, Hermann Engel's Berlin clinic and the Engel's villa, and places where family members resided or visited, such as Germany, Egypt, and Italy.
- Creation: 1843-2002
- Cassel-Wronker, Lili, 1924-2019 (Person)
Language of Materials
The collection is in German, English, and French, with a small amount of Hebrew and Arabic.
Open to researchers.
Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.
Collection is microfilmed - MF 737.
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.
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
Hermann Wronker was born on August 5, 1867 in eastern Prussia, the son of Lewin Wronker and Emilie Wronker née Sandel. When he was fourteen he began an apprenticeship at the business of H. & C. Tietz in Prenzlau; during this time he opened stores in Bamberg and Coburg. In 1887 he founded a business with his elder brother Simon, S. Wronker & Co., in Mannheim. He left Mannheim in 1891 to found a branch of the business in Frankfurt am Main. By November 1896 the store had grown successful enough that a neighboring building was purchased for its expansion. Further branches were opened in Baden, Hessen, and Alsace. A fire in 1897 destroyed the Frankfurt store, but it was rebuilt. In 1921 the business was incorporated as the Hermann Wronker AG, and by 1926 it had been expanded once again. With the purchase of the Kaufhaus Hansa in Frankfurt and the Warenhaus zum Strauss in Nuremberg, the Hermann Wronker AG had become one of the largest businesses in southern Germany. In 1934 the business was disbanded and taken over by the Nazis, becoming the Hansa AG. Hermann and Ida Wronker died in Auschwitz in 1942.
Hermann Wronker had three children with his wife Ida Wronker née Friedeberg: Erich, Max, and Alice. Erich Wronker lived only until 1918, when he died of tuberculosis after having served on the east front in World War I until 1916. Max Wronker also served as an officer during the First World War, and was awarded the Iron Cross Second Class. He married Irma Wronker née Lichter; they had two children, Erich and Gerda.
After completing her studies at the Viktoria Schule in 1914, Alice Wronker spent two years working at the Poliklinik für innere Medizin am Israelitische Krankenhaus (Outpatient Clinic for Internal Medicine at the Jewish Hospital) in Berlin. She then worked for 1½ years at the Archiv für Kriegefangenenhilfe (Archive for the Assistance of Prisoners of War) Zeil. In 1921 Alice Wronker married the orthopedic surgeon Hermann Engel, in Berlin, where the family lived until leaving Germany in 1936. They had two daughters, Ruth and Marion, born in 1924 and 1927, respectively. From 1927 until 1929 the family's home, the Villa am Rupenhorn 10, in the Spandau district of Berlin, was built; the house was a gift from Alice Engel's father, Hermann Wronker.
Hermann Engel was born in 1886, the second son of Gustav Engel and Jenny Loewy. The family moved to Berlin in 1892. After graduating from the Falke Realgymasium in 1905, Hermann Engel began studying medicine at the Universities of Berlin and Heidelberg, receiving his medical liecense in Berlin in 1912. As a young doctor Engel spent the next few years in various temporary positions, including working as a ship's doctor on trips to Mexico and Brazil and studying abroad for three months in the United States. From 1914 until the end of World War I he served as a military doctor on both the east and west fronts, including service at the Battle of Verdun. His military service earned him an Iron Cross. From the end of 1918 until 1927 Engel worked as the first assistant to Hermann Gocht at the Orthopädische Universitätsklinik und Poliklinik (Orthopedic University Clinic and Outpatient Clinic) in Berlin. He opened his own practice for orthopedic surgery in 1920. In 1936 he emigrated to Cairo with his family, where he had his own practice as well as working on the staff of several hospitals. While in Cairo he frequently visited Palestine (now Israel) for lectures and operations. In September 1949 Engel emigrated to the United States, where he opened his own practice on Fifth Avenue five months later. He was also on the staff of the Hospital for Joint Diseases. Hermann Engel continued to practice medicine until the age of 80, and published numerous articles in his field. He died in 1971.
Erich Wronker was the son of Max Wronker and Irma Lichter. Born in Frankfurt am Main in 1921, he spent his earliest years in the town of Königstein. He fled Germany with his family in 1933 via Paris and Cairo before ending up in Palestine, where Erich Wronker studied agriculture. Later he served in the Jewish Brigade of the British Army. In 1953 he emigrated to New York, where he taught himself printing. After working for the New York University Press he went to the Treaty Series Group, a printing company that worked with the United Nations. Erich Wronker stayed at the Treaty Series Group for twenty-five years, eventually heading the printing department, which printed international treaty books for the United Nations. In 1955 he founded Ron Press with his wife, the calligrapher Lili Cassel. Ron Press produced greeting cards, stationary, and books. Erich Wronker died on June 9, 1997.
Lili Wronker née Cassel was born on May 5, 1924. She attended the private Waldschule Kaliski from 1936 until 1938, and left Germany for England following Kristallnacht. From 1938 until 1940 she attended the Stoatley Rough School in Haslemere, Surrey, England. The Stoatley Rough School was a school for German and Austrian Jewish refugee children. In May 1940 Lili Cassel arrived in New York. For four years she studied art at Washington Irving High School. Her early experiences in the arts included working as an assistant to Time magazine's Promotion Art Director, Arnold Bank and designing book jackets for the World Publishing Company. Lili Cassel's first children's book illustrations were included in the best book of the year show at the American Institute of Graphic Arts. In addition to freelancing for various publishers, she also taught calligraphy at several institutions, including the New School of Social Research, the YMCA, the United Nations International School and St. John's University in Queens, New York. In 1949 Lili Cassel was invited to spend a year a Jerusalem, where she met many Israeli artists and had an exhibition of her book illustrations at the Bezalel School. Three years later she married Erich Wronker. The Wronkers had a private press as a hobby, and were also founding members of the American Printing History Association as well as belonging to the Typophiles, a group of book and letter professionals. Lili Wronker was additionally a founding member of the Society of Scribes, New York. Her own work, as well as that of other calligraphers included in her collection, will be found in the San Francisco Public Library. In addition, she also created a video on the history of the Hebrew alphabet, which may be found in the collections of several libraries, including that of the Center for Jewish History. Lili Wronker died on January 10th, 2019.
8.25 Linear Feet
This collection houses the papers of members of the Wronker family, including Max and Irma Wronker, Hermann and Alice (née Wronker) Engel, and Erich and Lili Cassel-Wronker. In addition, it holds a few items on the Warenhaus Hermann Wronker AG of Frankfurt am Main. Included in the collection are official papers, correspondence, postcards, guestbooks and other albums, photographs, offprints, and objects.
The collection is arranged in the following manner:
- Subgroup I: Wronker Family, 1876-2002
- Series 1: Family Members' Papers, 1876-2002
- Subseries A: Max and Irma Wronker, 1905-1984
- Subseries B: Hermann and Alice Engel, 1921-1984
- Subseries C: Erich and Lili Wronker, 1876-2002
- Subseries D: General, 1898-1946
- Series 2: Wronker Department Store, 1914-1998
- Series 3: Photographs, 1897-1968
- Series 4: Objects, 1897-1937
- Subgroup II: Hermann and Alice Engel, 1843-1996
- Series 1: Personal, 1843-1996
- Subseries A: Hermann Engel, 1894-1971
- Subseries B: Alice Engel, 1906-1980
- Subseries C: General, 1843-1996
- Series 2: Correspondence, 1843-1998
- Subseries A: Hermann Engel, 1843-1973
- Subseries B: Alice Engel, 1951-1998
- Series 3: Professional, 1905-1968
- Subseries A: Documents, 1905-1970
- Subseries B: Medical Articles, 1913-1968
- Series 4: Visual Material, 1922-1938
The collection was donated in several installments by Lili Cassel-Wronker.
This collection is on eleven reels of microfilm (MF 737).
- Reel 1: 1/1 - 1/9
- Reel 2: 1/1 - Daily Calendars, 1933
- Reel 3: Daily Calendars, 1934 - Daily Calendars, 1962
- Reel 4: 1/4 - 15/5
- Reel 5: 1/21 - 2/7
- Reel 6: 2/8 - 2/14
- Reel 7: 2/15 - 6/3
- Reel 8: 6/4 - 6/27
- Reel 9: 6/28 - 7/1
- Reel 10: 7/22 - 7/55
- Reel 11: 7/56 - 7/63
This collection is comprised of two former collections, the Lili Wronker Family Collection (AR 10545) and the Hermann Engel Collection (AR 10326). These two collections were consolidated together to form the Lili Wronker Family Collection; each former collection comprises a subgroup of the new collection.
Genre / Form
- Artifacts (object genre)
- Autograph albums
- Documents (object genre)
- Emergency currency
- Photograph albums
- publications (documents)
- Berlin (Germany)
- Cairo (Egypt)
- Frankfurt am Main (Germany)
- Germany -- History -- 1918-1933
- Germany -- History -- 20th century
- Guide to the Papers of the Lili Wronker Family 1843-2002 AR 25255 / MF 737
- Processed by LBI Staff and Dianne Ritchey Oummia
- © 2006
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description is in English.
- Edition statement
- This version was derived from LiliWronkerFamily.xml.
- 2010-12-16 : encoding of linking to digital objects from finding aid was changed from <extref> to <dao> through dao_conv.xsl