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Leo Baerwald Collection

Identifier: AR 3677 / MF 699

Scope and Content Note

This collection documents the professional life, family, and interests of Leo Baerwald. Some topics found here include Leo Baerwald, the Lazarus family, Leo Baeck, and the Munich Jewish Community.

Items pertaining to Leo Baerwald will be found in four series of the collection. Series I contains most of the material pertaining to him. Here users will find some of his personal documents, writings, letters sent to him, and genealogical documents, including family trees. Series III contains correspondence, much of it handwritten, from rabbi Leo Baeck to Leo Baerwald; many of these are greetings. Series IV holds many clippings on the Munich Jewish community and its main synagogue, and includes an article by Baerwald, published in 1942, on the destruction of the synagogue. Finally, Series VI contains some biographical articles on Baerwald as well as a small amount of correspondence and notes of his.

The Lazarus family, to whom Leo Baerwald was related through his mother, Fanny Lazarus, is also documented in several places in this collection. Series II, which focuses on the Lazarus family, contains the papers of several family members: Leiser Lazarus, rabbi of Prenzlau and director of the Jewish theological seminary in Breslau; Moritz Lazarus, the philosopher; and Arnold Lazarus, rabbi in Frankfurt am Main. Among the papers on these individuals are several memorial albums, including a collection of sayings of Moritz Lazarus, and a biography of Arnold Lazarus written by Leo Baerwald. The family trees and other genealogical documents found in Series I and Series VI provide some genealogical information on the Lazarus family.

Material on Leo Baeck resides in Series III. These documents include a number of newspaper and periodical clippings on the rabbi; many of these give overviews of his life and were written in honor of significant dates or in memorial of him. As mentioned above, this series also features some correspondence written by Baeck to Baerwald.

Many newspaper articles on the Munich Jewish community will be found in Series IV: Jewish Communities. These articles describe the fiftieth anniversary of the main synagogue of Munich, its destruction by the National Socialists in June 1938, and the restoration and dedication of the new synagogue in 1947.


  • 1798-1971
  • Majority of material found within 1922-1960


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.

Collection is microfilmed (MF 699).

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 Baerwald was born in Saaz, Austria-Hungary (now Žatec, Czech Republic) on October 23, 1883. The son of Aron Baerwald, the rabbi of Saaz, and Fanny Lazarus, he was descended from a family of rabbis and well-known Jewish scholars including Moritz Lazarus and Heymann Steinthal. Baerwald studied at the Jüdisch-theologisches Seminar in Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland). After serving in World War I as a military chaplain (Feldrabbiner), he became a rabbi for the Jewish community in Munich. He kept this position until his departure from Germany. From 1933 on Baerwald struggled against the Nazi regime. He was refused a travel permit to leave the country for health reasons. It was in 1940 that he was finally able to leave Germany for England, where he waited for a visa to the United States.

After arriving in the United States, Baerwald settled in New York City, where he became the rabbi of the Congregation Beth Hillel in Washington Heights. This congregation was made up of Jewish refugees from Munich and Nuremberg. He retired from this position in 1955. After his retirement he continued to support the congregation as well as becoming involved in the work of the Leo Baeck Institute and the American Federation of Jews from Central Europe. Leo Baerwald died in New York in 1970 at the age of 86.


0.5 Linear Feet


This collection holds the papers of Leo Baerwald, rabbi of the Munich Jewish community from 1918-1940. Included are some of his religious writings, correspondence, and genealogical material. Other subjects of this collection are the Lazarus family, the Munich Jewish community, and Leo Baeck. Documents include manuscripts, letters, clippings, memorial albums, and family trees.

Other Finding Aid

An item-level paper finding aid is available for the collection.

Custodial History

The papers of the collection previosly belonged to Leo Baerwald until the collection was donated in 1970.


This collection is on one reel of microfilm.

  1. Reel 1: 1/1 - 1/19

Related Material

The LBI Archives holds several collections on Lazarus family members.

Separated Material

The memorial album of sayings of Moritz Lazarus (Sprüche des Lazarus) is located separately from the rest of the collection. Photographs have been removed from the collection and placed in LBI's photograph collection.

Processing Information

When the EAD finding aid was being prepared in February 2006, the collection was rehoused in acid-free folders. In Series VI, similar materials were grouped together; previously most items were located in their own folder. Series V was formerly titled "Varia."

Guide to the Papers of Leo Baerwald (1883-1970) 1798-1971 AR 3677 / MF 699
Processed by Ilse Turnheim
© 2006
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from LeoBaerwald

Revision Statements

  • October 23, 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