Guide to the Papers of Paul Egon Cahn (1918-2010)
1820-2002

AR 25431

Processed by Fabian Wendler

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305

Email: http://www.lbi.org/ask

URL: http://www.lbi.org

© 2012 Leo Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Dianne Ritchey in March 2012. Description is in English.
November 25, 2013  Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Cahn, Paul Egon, 1918-2010
Title: Paul Egon Cahn Collection
Dates:1820-2002
Dates:bulk 1935-1985
Abstract: The Paul Egon Cahn Collection holds personal and official papers of Paul Egon and Senta Ilse Cahn and their families, as well as about one thousand personal and family photographs.
Languages: The collection is in German, English, and Spanish.
Quantity: 1.75 linear feet + 1 oversized item
Identification: AR 25431
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note
Portrait of Paul Egon and Senta Ilse Cahn

Portrait of Paul Egon and Senta Ilse Cahn

Paul Egon Cahn was born in Andernach, Germany, on September 22, 1918 to Sigfried Simon Cahn (born 1888) and Regina Cahn (born Levy, 1893). He had two sisters, Inge and Erika. In the 1930s Paul Egon Cahn learned the auto mechanic trade in Andernach and subsequently worked as a car driver in Cologne, where the family moved in 1937. In 1938/1939 the three children were able to escape Germany; Erika immigrated to England, Inge immigrated to Australia and Paul Egon immigrated to Kenya. Shortly after arriving in Africa, Paul Egon attempted to help his parents leave Germany. Unfortunately, his effort to secure visas for his parents was unsuccessful. His parents were deported to Riga on December 6, 1941. In 1942 his father died. His mother was deported to Auschwitz, where she most likely died shortly after the liberation in 1945. Paul Egon remained in Kenya, living and working until he immigrated to the US in 1951.

In the U.S. Paul Egon Cahn met Senta Ilse (born December 8, 1913), daughter of Julius (born 1890) and Maria Magdalena Wassermann (born 1891). Julius (a Jew) and Maria (a Catholic) married in 1913 in Hamburg, Germany. Being married to a non-Jew protected Julius from being deported until February 1945. Then the Gestapo sent him to Theresienstadt and he was kept in captivity until May 3, 1945. Julius Wassermann survived the concentration camp. Together with his wife, now calling herself Lina Mary Wassermann, he immigrated to the US after the war and died in New York City in 1965. Lina Mary passed away in 1976.

Senta Ilse was in the U.K. during the Second World War, but in 1946 and 1947 she worked for the U.S. Army in Germany. She immigrated to the US in the late 1940s, where she married Joseph Gottschalk in 1949, got divorced in 1962 and married again to Paul Egon Cahn in 1964.

Senta Ilse Cahn died on May 30, 2006. Her husband Paul Egon passed away on September 10, 2010.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection holds the papers of Paul Egon and Senta Ilse Cahn's family from the 1890s to 2002. It includes the personal and official papers of Paul Egon, mostly official documents of Paul Egon and Senta Ilse's family, as well as about one thousand personal photographs.

Series I holds the papers of Paul Egon Cahn, including personal correspondence, official papers reflecting his emigration from Germany to Kenya and to the U.S., as well as other personal documents. Series II holds papers of other members of the Cahn family and of Senta Ilse (Wassermann) Cahn's family, including correspondence, family trees and other historical documentation.

Series III consists of about one thousand personal photographs. It includes family portraits from the early twentieth century as well as personal photos of Paul Egon's time in Kenya and the U.S.

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Arrangement

The collection is arranged in three series and five subseries:

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

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
email: lbaeck@lbi.cjh.org

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Access Points

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Separated Material

The book Jeckpotz – Eine juedisch-deutsche Jugend 1914-1933 by Arie Goral-Sternheim was removed to the LBI Library, Call number DS 135 G5 G67 A19.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Paul Egon Cahn Collection; AR 25431; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing Information

The collection has been reordered and split into three series. When possible, the items within the folders were arranged in a chronological order. The folders were reordered to reflect the new arrangement. Folders were also renumbered to accurately reflect their location.

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Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Follow the links to access the digitized materials.

 

Series I: Paul Egon Cahn, 1820-1997

This series is in German and English.
0.5 linear feet.
Arrangement:

This series is arranged in three subseries:

Scope and Content:

This series is composed of Paul Egon Cahn's personal and official papers. It includes personal correspondence with his parents and sister Inge as well as official correspondence with various institutions regarding the fate of his parents. The series also holds a number of official documents reflecting his emigration. Moreover it contains personal papers related to his native town Andernach, Germany, and to his time in Africa as well as a small number of newspaper articles dealing with the end of the Second World War and with the ghetto of Riga.

Subseries 1: Correspondence, 1938-1997

This subseries is in German and English.
0.15 linear feet.
Arrangement:

The folders are arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content:

A significant part of this subseries reflects the fate of Paul Egon Cahn's parents in the Holocaust. In this context the subseries includes the letters Paul Egon in Kenya received from his parents from 1938 to 1940 and some official correspondence concerning the appeals of Paul Egon to assist his parents to leave Germany. For example Paul Egon Cahn addressed himself to the Kenya Jewish Refugee Committee, to the German Jewish Aid Committee in London, to the Self Aid of German Emigrants (London) and to the South African Jewish Board of Deputies. The series also contains the correspondence with German institutions regarding Paul Egon's search for his parents in 1945 and 1946, as well as correspondence regarding his restitution claims in the late 1950s. Also of significant importance is a 1997 letter sent by his sister, Inge Cahn, concerning the fate of their parents in the Holocaust. Attached to this letter is a photo showing the mother Regina Cahn in Auschwitz after the liberation in 1945.

Furthermore this subseries contains Paul Egon's correspondence with the Geschichtsverein der Gemeinde Inden e.V. from the late 1980s. These papers include a family tree of the Cahn Family and a list of the family members murdered in the Holocaust. In its entirety this correspondence reflects Paul Egon's perspective and feelings as well as the contemporary level of dealing with the past in Germany.

BoxFolderTitleDate
11Appeals for assistance of parents to leave Germany1938-1941
12Friends1940-1959
13Geschichtsverein der Gemeinde Inden e.V.1988-1989
14Inge Cahn1997
15Other Official1938-1940
16Parents1938-1940
17Request join military forces in Second World War1940-1943
18Restitution Claims1958-1960
19Search for parents1945-1946

Subseries 2: Official Papers, 1936-1987

This subseries is in German and English.
0.1 linear feet.
Arrangement:

The folders are arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content:

In its entirety this subseries reflects the emigration history of Paul Egon Cahn. It contains his German birth certificate, his German passport and drivers license as well as his Arbeitsbuch from the 1930s. The subseries includes similar official documents from Kenya and the U.S., such as his Kenyan Certificate of Registration and his identity card plus his American Certificate of Naturalization, his passport and certificate of marriage from 1964.

BoxFolderTitleDate
110Germany1936-1976
111Kenya1938-1952
112References of former employers1937-1951
113USA1955-1987

Subseries 3: Personal Papers, 1820-1996

This subseries is in German and English.
0.25 linear feet.
Arrangement:

The folders are arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content:

This subseries consists of personal materials regarding three different themes.

It includes papers concerning Paul Egon's home town Andernach. Besides some tourist brochures, an engraving from 1820 and other related material, these papers contain invitations to class reunions, which Paul Egon refused. In this context Paul Egon received an oversized framed artwork with signatures of his former class comrades. In its entirety the correspondence reflects the contemporary form of dealing with the past in Germany as well as Paul Egon's perspective and feelings.

Most material related to Paul Egon's time in Kenya are brochures and catalogs for tourists.

The newspaper articles and clippings reflect Paul Egon's interest in the end of the Second World War, in the fate of his parents, who had been deported to Riga, and in the general history and post-war dealing with the Holocaust.

BoxFolderTitleDate
114Andernach - Brochures and Postcards1980s
115Andernach - Class Reunions1979-1988
116Andernach - Engraving1820
117Andernach - Festschrift - Sport Vereinigung Andernach 1910-19851985
118Kenya – Catalog - South Africa in Pictures1949
119Kenya – Maps – one of World one of East Africa1940s?
120Kenya – Printed material on Africaundated, 1951
121Newspaper – Aufbau-Article: Story of Riga Ghetto1996
122Newspaper – Clippings1980s (bulk)
123Newspaper – Illustrated London News about end of World War II1945
124Other mixed materials1930s-1980s
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 139Framed artwork – Class Reunion in Andernach1979
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Series II: Other Family Members, 1890-2002

This series is in German, English, and Spanish.
0.25 linear feet.
Arrangement:

Divided into two subseries:

Scope and Content:

This series holds papers of other members of the Cahn family and of Senta Ilse (Wassermann) Cahn's family. It includes personal correspondence of Paul Egon's parents, family trees and other personal material of parts of Paul Egon's family. Moreover the series consists of official and personal documents reflecting stages of Senta Ilse's life, material regarding the history of the Gerstle and of the Mettenleitner families, as well as official and personal papers of Julius and Lina Wassermann such as documents regarding Julius' imprisonment in Theresienstadt.

Subseries 1: Paul Egon Cahn's Family, 1914-2002

This subseries is in German and English.
0.1 linear feet.
Arrangement:

The folders are arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content:

This subseries consists of personal and official material of members of Egon Cahn's family. It includes a small number of personal correspondence of his parents, the most significant of which is a 1940 letter reflecting their living conditions. Moreover the subseries contains personal materials regarding Alice and Walter Kohn's Silver Wedding Anniversary as well as clippings and a memory card related to the death of Egon's sister Erika Schmidt in 1989. In addition, the series holds family trees of the Levy and Tobias Family and related correspondence.

BoxFolderTitleDate
21Cahn, Regina and Siegfried Simon – Personal Correspondence1914-1940
22Kohn, Alice and Walter – Silver Wedding Anniversary and Alice's 90th birthday1979, 2002
23Levy and Tobias Family – Family Trees1989-1993
24Schmidt, Erika (née Cahn) – Death Notices1989

Subseries 2: Senta Ilse (Wassermann) Cahn's Family, 1890-1982

This series is in German, English, and Spanish.
0.1 linear feet.
Arrangement:

The folders are arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content:

This subseries consists of personal and official material of members of Senta Ilse Cahn's family. It includes official documents reflecting significant stages of Senta Ilse's life such as police and identification certificates from Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. The subseries also holds certificates of her serving in the Civil Censorship Division of the U.S. Army in 1946 and 1947. Also included are documents related to her divorce from her first husband Josef Gottschalk.

Moreover the subseries consists of material regarding the history of the Gerstle and of the Mettenleitner family. Also included are official papers of Julius Wassermann, such as his certificates of birth, marriage and death. Items of note are documents regarding Julius Wassermann's imprisonment in Theresienstadt, specifically his order to report (Einsatzbefehl) and his work card (Arbeitsausweis). Beyond that, the subseries holds documentation regarding the life of Julius' sister Lina Wassermann, such as her birth certificates, U.S. naturalization and death as well as a small number of other personal documents.

BoxFolderTitleDate
25Cahn, Senta Ilse (née Wassermann) - Official and personal papers1939-1973
26Cahn, Senta Ilse (née Wassermann) – References of employers1930-1948
27Gerstle Family – Karen Spiegel Franklin's book 'Eleven Generations of the Gerstle Family'1982
28Mettenleitner Family – Family Reunions1950s-1960s
29Wassermann, David A. – Death Card1969
210Wassermann, Julius – Gestapo letter and Theresienstadt1945
211Wassermann, Julius – Other papers1890-1965
212Wassermann, Lina – Mixed papers1891, 1955-1976
213Wassermann, Sara – Eulogy1904
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Series III: Photographs, 1900s-1980s

1.0 linear foot.
Arrangement:

The folders are arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content:

This series holds about one thousand personal photographs such as Paul Cahn's family portraits from the early twentieth century. The bulk consists of, mostly small, photos of Paul Egon's stay in Kenya showing landscapes as well as scenes of work and leisure time. The series also includes a large number of other family and private photos reflecting important stages of his life in Germany and the U.S. A smaller number of the pictures relates to Senta Ilse Cahn; the series holds some portraits of her parents as well as photos showing herself while serving in the U.S. Army.

BoxFolderTitleDate
31Album – Family1900s-1970s
32Family members as Soldiers before or in World War I1910-1915
33Familycirca 1915-1964
34Family and former Cahn house in Pier, Germany1920-1938, 1950
35Family – Framed1930s-1980s
36Album – Kenya1938-1952
37Album – From Kenya to New York1939-1960s
38Senta Ilse and her parents1940s
39Small photos – bulk from Kenya1940s-1950s
310Small photos – bulk from Kenya1940s-1950s
311About 200 small photos (reduced sizes) – bulk Kenya1940s-1950s
312About 100 small photos (reduced sizes) + negatives – bulk Kenya1940s-1950s
313Negatives – bulk Kenya1940s-1950s
314Negatives – bulk Kenya1940s-1950s
315Family and Friends1940s-1950s
316Small Photos – From Africa to the U.S.1950s
317Family, friends and holidays1950s-1970s
318Senta Ilse and Paul Egon Cahn1960s
319Lina and Julius Wassermann1960-1970
320About 80 small photos – Friendsundated
321Picture Postcards – Bulk from Kenyaundated
322Tombstones of Paul Egon Cahn's grandparents (Cemetery in Pier)undated
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