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Papers of Virginia Dorsey Lightfoot

Identifier: RG 715

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains Mrs. Lightfoot's correspondence with individuals and agencies regarding the attempted rescue of Otto Neumann and an additional 328 German Jews from Breslau. It also contains a book that Neumann created with profiles of the 328 individuals, which includes their photographs, names, ages, occupations, and relationships to one another.


  • 1939-1941

Language of Materials

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

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


Historical Note

Virginia Dorsey Lightfoot (Mrs. James Herndon Lightfoot), a resident of Takoma Park, Maryland, became involved in an effort to rescue 328 German Jews in Breslau in 1939. She had been in touch with a German woman, Ilse Reinersdorf, prior to the outbreak of World War II, possibly in the course of genealogical research, and in 1939 Reinersdorf contacted her on behalf of her dentist, a German Jew named Otto Neumann. Neumann asked Lightfoot to help an additional 328 people from the town of Breslau, and Lightfoot contacted a myriad of government agencies, searching for a country that would accept them as refugees.


0.2 Linear Feet


This collection consists of a book with profiles of 328 German Jews from Breslau, and correspondence between Mrs. Lightfoot and the government agencies she sought to persuade to help them.

Acquisition Information

These records were given to YIVO by Bryna Seidman in 1975.

Related Material

Correspondence between Virginia Dorsey Lightfoot and additional government agencies can be found in the Leo Baeck Institute's Emigration Collection, AR 1989, in Box 1, Folder 2.

Guide to the Papers of Virginia Dorsey Lightfoot 1939-1941 RG 715
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 and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany.

Repository Details

Part of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States