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Papers of Sebastian Steiner

Identifier: RG 1030

Scope and Content Note

These materials document Steiner’s years in Shanghai. They include articles he wrote about his time there, personal documents such as passports and work permits, and correspondence in connection with both his professional and personal life during this period. They also include materials related to the family’s search for their loved ones, including documentation from the Jewish Refugee Service that a family member had perished in a concentration camp.


  • 1938-1952


Language of Materials

The collection is primarily in German, with a few items in Dutch and English.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public. Permission to publish part or parts of the collection must be obtained in writing from the YIVO Archives.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:

YIVO Archives, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011


Biographical / Historical

Sebastian Steiner was born in 1901 in Bucharest, and lived in Vienna as a young adult. In 1938, he emigrated to Shanghai with his family, and wrote an article in the local German language paper (Das Familien-Magazin) describing how he was able to come to Shanghai with no need of papers, and was easily able to find a house to rent, due to a large proportion of the local population having fled. This inspired many of his fellow German Jews to follow his example. In Shanghai he worked as a salesman for the Charles Chang Steel Furniture company, and there survived the war. He was expelled from China, along with all enemy citizens, in 1947, and spent a few years in Austria before emigrating to the United States in 1952.


0.25 Linear Feet


This collection contains materials that document Sebastian Steiner’s time in Shanghai during WWII. Materials include professional correspondence related to the jobs Steiner held in Shanghai, and correspondence with officials regarding his residency as well as his eventual departure.

Acquisition Information

These records were given to YIVO by Sebastian Steiner in 1980.

Guide to the Papers of Sebastian Steiner (1901-1985) 1938-1952 RG 1030
Processed by YIVO staff. Additional Processing by Sarah Ponichtera
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation.

Repository Details

Part of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States