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Leo Abraham Collection

Identifier: AR 25425

Scope and Content Note

This collection holds the papers of Leo Abraham and his second wife from 1938 to 1983. It includes personal correspondences from friends and family, photographs, letters of restitution, and emigration documentation.

Series I holds mostly personal documents of Abraham, including letters he saved from family and friends. It also holds other personal documents belonging to Abraham and his second wife Ida, including birthday cards, his will, his passport, an inventory journal from his business, and a list of Jews from Altenkirchen and Westerwald.

Series II includes documentation pertaining to Abraham's immigration to the United States and attempts to get clearance for his family to emigrate out of Germany. It includes applications, affidavits, correspondence, and responses back from the American consulate.

Series III consists of Abraham's documentation of his efforts to collect restitution. The papers discuss requests to the French occupying forces and German government for restitution for his loss of property and health. These are mostly legal documents, correspondences with his lawyer Paul Hirsch or documented evidence pertaining to what he lost during the war and receipts of money compensated to Abraham from the Bezirkamt für Wiedergutmachung (Regional Office for Restitution) in Koblenz.

Series IV is composed of addenda added to the collection after it was first processed. Divided into two subseries, the first contains correspondence that augments the letters of Series I as well as correspondence between Leo Abraham and his cousin, who assisted him in his immigration attempts and is featured in the immigration documentation of Series II. Finally, the first subseries also holds some correspondence on the hearing loss of Leo Abraham's second wife Ida and his efforts in procuring financial support for her after she became disabled. The second subseries of Series IV holds documentation related to Leo Abraham's restitution claims of Series III. Series IV also includes two photographs of his first wife Else Abraham and their daughters.


  • 1938-1983
  • Majority of material found within 1938-1942


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English, and French.

Access Restrictions

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.

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

Leo Abraham was born in Altenkirchen, Germany on October 27, 1902. Altenkirchen contained a small Jewish community, in which Abraham held an active role. He married Else Marx, and they had two children, Berta (Bertl) and Hannalore. By 1933, Abraham realized the threat of Nazism and prepared his family for immigration to Palestine. They received the visas, but due to a car accident in 1937, Abraham was unable to travel until after the visas expired. On Kristallnacht, Abraham was rounded up and sent to Dachau, but returned to his family two weeks later. In 1938, he was forced to sell his property at half its value and continued attempting to get clearance to emigrate out of Germany. In 1939 he and his family moved to Cologne, where Abraham was able to immigrate to England and stay at the Kitchener Camp from August 1939 to March 1940. In March 1940, Abraham immigrated to the United States. From that point, Abraham worked to get his family out of Germany, but it was unsuccessful, and his wife and two daughters were first deported to Riga and then farther East, where they were murdered in early 1942. After the war, Abraham married his second wife Ida Reiner until his death on August 14, 1980.


0.75 Linear Feet


The Leo Abraham Collection documents the immigration of Leo Abraham to the United States on the eve of World War II. The collection contains mostly personal papers and correspondence to his family who he attempted to get clearance to immigrate as well. After 1945, most of the papers in the collection are related to restitution for his loss of property.


The collection is one reel of microfilm (MF 1116).

Processing Information

The collection has been reordered and split into three series pertaining to the types of documents. Items were kept in the original order of their respective folders, but the folders were reordered to reflect the new arrangement. Folders were also renumbered to accurately reflect their location. Some large, overfilled folders had their contents further separated by topic for preservation purposes.

In July 2011 a second box of addenda was added to the collection, comprising Series IV.

Guide to the Papers of Leo Abraham (1902-1980) 1938-1983 AR 25425 / MF 1116
Processed by Nicole Greenhouse and Dianne Ritchey
© 2011
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from LeoAbraham.xml

Revision Statements

  • July 2011.: New box of addenda added to finding aid.
  • August 2011.: Microfilm information added.
  • March 2012: Links to digital objects added in Container List.
  • July 2012.: 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