General Background on theArchive
The archive of the Leo Baeck Institute in Jerusalem plays an essential role in the institute’s research and commemoration activity. It contains hundreds of individual, family and institutional collections. The archive’s collections contain a wide variety of historical documents from the late eighteenth century to the end of the twentieth century, which allow us to view the lives of the Jews of communities in Germany and in Central Europe, both in their countries of origin and in the countries to which they migrated over the years. The archive holds a microfilm collection of nineteenth and twentieth century Jewish newspapers.
What do we find in the archive?
The material kept in the archive is diverse in its themes and its genres, and deals with numerous facets of Jewish life in Germany. Among the items found in the archive is a large number of biographies and family memoirs that portray the everyday lives of German Jews in their various communities during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including their civil status, occupations, social customs, religious rites and family relationships. In addition to memoirs of these kinds, many of the family collections contain official certificates, personal documents, letters and photographs.
Another significant group of documents kept in the archive contains autobiographies and memoirs from the time of the Nazis’ rise to power in Germany, which describe how Jews coped with the regime’s persecution of Jews and its antisemitism, as well as their migration to countries all around the world. One can also find in the archive memoirs and letters concerning migration to Palestine and a variety of documents that relate to German Zionism, to the Jewish and Zionist youth movements, and to the pioneering training groups.
In addition to the histories of Jewish individuals and families, one can find in the archive extensive correspondences of prominent figures in the German Jewish community, including Martin Buber, Robert Weltsch, Max Lieberman and others. The archive also holds copies of articles, lectures and academic works dealing with German Jewry written since the 1920s and which cannot be found in most academic libraries. Apart from the historical archive, one finds the archive of the Leo Baeck Institute itself, which contains various certificates and documents that record the institute’s activity since its inception in 1955.
What’s new in the Archive?
The institute’s archive is currently re-cataloguing all its collections into the catalogue of the Center of Jewish History, which includes the archive of the New York Leo Baeck Institute. The catalogue is digital and web-based, and offers online access to a selection of archival items. Members of the public can peruse original material held in the institute’s archive itself subject to prior arrangement.
The cataloguing of the collections of Leo Baeck Institute is made possible through the generosity of:
- The Sal Oppenheim Foundation
- The German Foreign Ministry, through the project “Traces of German-Jewish History: Preserving and Researching German-Jewish Archives in Israel,” conducted by the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center and the Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach
- You can browse the digital catalogue of the Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem at the site of The Center for Jewish History here.
- A preliminary catalogue of all the files, including those that have yet to be digitized, can be accessed here (PDF).
You can visit the institute from Sunday to Thursday between 08:30 and 14:30 (preferably by prior arrangement by phone or email). At these times you can visit the library, the archive and the reading room, and make use of our office services.
Visiting the Archive
To arrange a visit to the archive, and if you have any questions about the archive, please contact our archivists Meirav Reuveni or Liad Levy-Mousan at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone: 02-5633790 between Monday to Wednesday from 09:00 to 14:00.
To submit items
The institute welcomes new items. Please contact us about this at the above email or phone.