Guide to the Archives of the Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews
1962-2010
(bulk 1992-2010)

AR 25443

Processed by LBI staff / Additional processing, and finding aid compiled and encoded by Violet Lutz.

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

© 2015  Leo Baeck Institute
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Violet Lutz in April 2015. Description is in English.
October 2016: dao links added by Emily Andresini.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews
Title: Archives of the Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews
Dates:1962-2010
Dates:bulk 1992-2010
Abstract: This collection contains the records of the Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews, an organization founded in 1961, in New York City, by members of the Joseph Popper unit of B’nai B’rith, to foster and disseminate knowledge about the history and culture of Jews in the Czech and Slovak lands. Along with the Joseph Popper unit and, later, the Holocaust Survivors of Slovakia, the society sponsored an annual memorial service held in New York City to honor Czechoslovak Jews who perished in the Holocaust. A majority of the records are from the tenure of Rabbi Norman Patz as president (1994-2008). The materials primarily comprise correspondence, and items related to the annual memorial service, including texts of addresses, and yizkor memorial booklets. Also included are meeting minutes, letters to the membership, financial reports, writings, speeches, obituaries, clippings, photographs, and printed ephemera. The society's correspondence reflects its participation in cultural events related to Czech and Slovak Jewish history, as well as its relationship to the Jewish communities in the Czech Republic and, to a lesser extent, Slovakia; some correspondence with members contains genealogical information.
Languages: The collection is predominantly in English, with some Czech, Slovak, German, and Hebrew.
Quantity: 1.5 linear feet (3 boxes)
Identification: AR 25443
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Historical Note

The Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews (SHCJ) was founded in 1961, in New York City, by members of the Joseph Popper Lodge and Chapter of B’nai B’rith, on the initiative of Kurt Wehle, an immigrant from Czechoslovakia and survivor of the Nazi concentration camps. Its mission at that time was to foster and disseminate knowledge about the history and culture of Jews in the Czech and Slovak lands. By the 1980s the SHCJ had also assumed a leadership role in organizing the annual memorial service held in New York City to honor Czechoslovak Jews who perished in the Holocaust, a tradition that began in 1946. The event was regularly co-sponsored by the Joseph Popper unit of B’nai B’rith and, later, the Holocaust Survivors of Slovakia.

The SHCJ was conceived as a successor organization to the Society for the History of the Jews in the Czechoslovak Republic (Gesellschaft für Geschichte der Juden in der Čzechoslovakischen Republik), which was founded in Prague, on 22 April 1928, by the Prague lodge of B’nai B’rith. The Prague society published a German-language journal (Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für Geschichte der Juden in der Čzechoslovakischen Republik) from 1929 to 1938.

In its early decades the SHCJ promoted the history and culture of Czechoslovak Jews through its publications. The series The Jews of Czechoslovakia appeared in three volumes, in 1968, 1971, and 1984, respectively, and was followed by the journal Review of the Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews (volumes 1 to 6, 1987-1994). The society also participated in cultural activities related to the history of Jews in the Czech and Slovak lands.

Kurt Wehle served as president of the society until 1967, when he was succeeded by Hugh Colman. By 1970 Ludovic Sturc had succeeded Colman as president, while Wehle continued with the title of chairman. Subsequent presidents were Lewis Weiner, from 1976 to 1994; and Rabbi Norman Patz, from late 1994 to early 2008. In the latter part of 2008 Thomas A. Reiner and Amira Kohn-Trattner served as co-presidents; and Kohn-Trattner subsequently served as president through at least 2010. The scholar Guido Kisch, who had been associated with the original Prague society, was an honorary president.

Others who held leadership roles in the society from the 1990s on were Fred Hahn and Alan A. Politzer, who both served as vice presidents; and Anita H. Grosz who was treasurer, or secretary-treasurer. Beginning around the year 2000, Lesly Cohn served as administrative assistant.

In a letter to the membership in April 2006, President Norman Patz noted that the society had a mailing list of 196 names but that only 37 members were up to date in paying annual membership dues; he also reported that attendance at the annual memorial services had grown in recent years, with over 120 participants in 2006.

As of 2015 the society continues to sponsor the annual memorial service in honor of the Czechoslovak victims of Nazism. Since 2011 it has also organized a lecture series related to the history and culture of Jews in the Czech and Slovak lands.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the records of the Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews (SHCJ), an organization founded in 1961, in New York City, by members of the Joseph Popper unit of B’nai B’rith. The aim of the society was to foster and disseminate knowledge about the history and culture of Jews in the Czech and Slovak lands. The SHCJ also eventually assumed primary responsibility for organizing the annual memorial service in New York City to honor Czechoslovak Jews who perished in the Holocaust, an event that had been held regularly since 1946, and was co-sponsored by the Joseph Popper unit and, later, the Holocaust Survivors of Slovakia.

The major portion of the records reflects the participation of Rabbi Norman Patz in the society, especially his term as president, from 1994 to 2008. Rabbi Patz was the head of the congregation of Temple Sholom of West Essex, in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, and carried on business of the society from there. Approximately one quarter of the materials relate to the annual memorial service sponsored by the society (Series I), including program fliers and handouts; correspondence with invitees or participants; and yizkor, or memorial booklets, which include prayers, stories, songs, and historical information, as well as lists of names of individuals to be remembered, as submitted by participants.

Approximately half of the collection comprises general correspondence of the society (Series IV), which often reflects the society's participation in cultural events in the United States, as well as in contemporary events relating to the Jewish communities in the Czech Republic and, to a lesser extent, Slovakia. Examples of such activities are found in correspondence organized by topic (Subseries IV.1), as well as individual correspondence files (Subseries IV.2), including, for instance, the Czech consulate general in New York, and organizations in the Czech Republic (e.g. the Jewish Museum in Prague and the Terezín Ghetto Museum), or Slovakia (Central Union of Jewish Religious Communities, Bratislava).

Noteworthy materials include: documentation relating to the dedication of the Holocaust memorial in the Czech town Dvůr Králové nad Labem, in 2008, including 12 photographs (Folder 47); a file on relief aid to Jewish organizations in Prague following the floods of August 2002, including a report written by Rabbi Patz on conditions he observed during a visit there in February 2003 (Folder 48-49); correspondence concerning the controversy over the remnants of a Jewish cemetery discovered in Vladislavova Street in Prague in 2000 (Folder 52); a small amount of correspondence with Madeleine Albright, then the U.S. Secretary of State (Folder 54); and photographs of Václav Havel, evidently taken at a ceremony at the Beit Terezín Memorial in Israel (Folder 72).

Among the remaining records are writings, speeches, obituaries, and interviews (Series II); administrative records, such as minutes and supporting documents from board meetings, and letters to the membership (Series III); and a small amount of printed ephemera, from the SHCJ, as well as other organizations (Series V).

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Arrangement

Arranged in the following series according to types of materials, incorporating aspects of the original filing system of the organization with respect to topical groupings of correspondence.

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers.

Access Information

Readers may access the collection by visiting the Lillian Goldman Reading Room at the Center for Jewish History. We recommend reserving the collection in advance; please visit the LBI Online Catalog and click on the "Request" button.

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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

Related Material

The Guido Kisch Collection (AR 787), held at the Leo Baeck Institute, contains materials related to the Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews. The LBI Library also holds the three-volume SHCJ work, The Jews of Czechoslovakia (DS 135 C95 J45), as well as the following items related to the original Prague society on which the SHCJ was modeled, Gesellschaft für Geschichte der Juden in der Čzechoslovakischen Republik: the statutes of 1928 (DS 135 C95 G47 A2) and the journal, Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für Geschichte der Juden in der Čechoslovakischen Republik, 1929-1938 (DS 135 C95 J45). The latter journal is also freely accessible online at www.compactmemory.de.

The YIVO Library, at the Center for Jewish History, holds the SHCJ journal: Review of the Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews (015010128).

The LBI Library also holds the 2005 publication Thus We Remember (q 375), published by Temple Sholom of West Essex, concerning its relationship with Dvůr Králové (a topic addressed in the current collection); and newsletters of the Joseph Popper Lodge, Forest Hills, NY (Serials, C51).

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Separated Material

A folder of miscellaneous clippings, dating from the 1990s to 2000s, was removed to the LBI Clippings Collection, where it can be found under the collection number AR 25443C. The following two publications were transferred to the LBI Library: The Treatment of Jewish Themes in Czech Schools, by Leo Pavlát (American Jewish Committee, October 1998); and Thus We Remember: A Memorial to the Jewish Community of Dvůr Králové and the Story of One of Its Torah Scrolls, by Naomi Patz and Rabbi Norman Patz (Temple Sholom of West Essex, Cedar Grove, NJ, May 2005).

Two 3.5" floppy disks and two CDs were removed to the LBI Audiovisual collection. The floppy disks contain texts in Word Perfect related to the memorial services in 2000 and 2001 (Folders 8-9), which have been printed out and integrated in the collection; one disk also contains a spread sheet file (related to Folder 8) that could not be opened. One CD contains 12 photographs (JPEG files) related to Folder 47 (Dvůr Králové Holocaust memorial dedication). The other CD, related to Folder 51 (Emil Orlik drawings donation to Jewish Museum in Prague), appeared to be corrupted and no files could be accessed.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Archives of the Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews; AR 25443; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing Information

During the present processing the collection was refoldered into new acid-free archival folders. Photographs was placed in archival photograph sleeves or envelopes. The arrangement incorporates many groupings reflected in original file folder titles (subseries I.2, IV.1 and, in part, IV.4); a few large files of unorganized correspondence were sorted according to correspondent name, or categories of inquiries (genealogical, research). The following materials were discarded: duplicate copies of letters and documents; a few images of checks received with orders for publications; printouts of catalog records of Society publications from Worldcat.org; printouts of bibliographies of Czech and Slovak Jewish history published on websites of the Library of Congress and the Center for Jewish History in 2007-2010.

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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: Annual memorial service for Czechoslovak Jewish victims of Nazism, 1984-2010

In English, with some Hebrew and German.
Box 1, Folders 1-28. .375 linear feet.
Scope and Content:

This series contains materials related to the annual memorial service held in New York City to honor the memory of Czechoslovak Jews who died in the Holocaust. In the program materials the service is formally titled "Memorial Service for Czechoslovak Jewish Victims of Nazism." During the time period represented, 1984 to 2010, the event seems to have always been held at Congregation Habonim, at 44 West 66th Street, except for the 1998 service, which was held at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, 30 W. 68th Street. Until 2008, the service was co-sponsored by the Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews (SHCJ) and the Joseph Popper unit of B’nai B’rith; beginning in the early 1990s, it was also co-sponsored by the Holocaust Survivors of Slovakia. The program materials in 2009 and 2010 indicate sole sponsorship by SHCJ. (As of 2015, the annual memorial services continue to by held by SHCJ, at a different location.)

The tradition of the memorial service began in 1946, long before the founding of SHCJ. As highlighted in particular in the address delivered at the memorial in 1995 by SHCJ founder Kurt Wehle (see flier in Folder 5), the scheduling of the event around early March is in recognition of a great massacre in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp of approximately 3,800 Czech Jews that took place on the night of March 8-9, 1944. Those prisoners had originally been held in the Terezín (Theresienstadt) camp, and were transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau at the end of 1943.

The series is organized into two parts: Subseries 1 contains program fliers and memorial booklets, sometimes accompanied by other fliers or handouts distributed at the event; Subseries 2 contains correspondence related to the preparation of the event, as well as clippings of announcements that were placed in newspapers. Please note that some items found in Series II (Writings) relate to addresses delivered at memorial services, or, in one instance, a musical performance. Also, letters sent to the membership about the memorial event are found in Series III, Folder 42.

The memorial booklets contain prayers, stories, songs, and historical information; and are sometimes illustrated. For example, the 2003 booklet has a narrative about the columbarium at Terezín, and a photograph of it, taken before the damage it incurred in the floods of August 2002; the 2008 booklet tells of the dedication of a Holocaust memorial in the Czech town Dvůr Králové, with accompanying photos. Beginning in 1995, on the proposal of Rabbi Norman Patz, the newly elected president, the society began to publish a program booklet that served the additional purpose of a yizkor book, or 'memory book.' From that time on the booklets bear the title "These We Remember," and include a listing at the back of names of individuals to be remembered, along with the names of the individuals and families who submitted the requests.

Materials accompanying the memorial booklet often include a flier with the evening's program; and a flier with the text of Rabbi Patz's yizkor meditation, which formed a regular part of the service beginning in 1996. In a few instances there is a separate handout entitled "Program Notes," which contains information about musical performances, with biographical notes on the participants. The materials for each service are not necessarily complete; the folder descriptions specify which items are present for any given year.

The correspondence found in Subseries 2 typically includes copies of invitation letters to dignitaries, such as ambassadors, along with any responses received; and correspondence concerning the planning of the program, and/or corrections to the memorial booklet.

Subseries 1: Annual memorial service programs, 1984-2010

In English, with some Hebrew.
Box 1, Folders 1-19. .25 linear feet.
Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

BoxFolderTitleDate
1 1 Memorial service — Program 1984, 1987, 1990
  

Program fliers.

 
1 2 Memorial service — Program 1992-1993
  

Includes a flier for the program on March 2, 1992, and two different undated memorial booklets, a blue one and a green one. The content of the booklets seems to differ only in the list of program participants on p. 17: the blue booklet, which lists Joseph Abeles as treasurer (as does the flier for 1992), is probably from 1992; and the green booklet, in which a listing for treasurer is omitted, is probably from 1993. (The latter booklet is the same one used by Norman Patz to indicate changes for the 1994 booklet; see next folder.) The booklet covers are illustrated with a graphic design by Hugo Steiner-Prag.

 
1 3 Memorial service — Program 1994 March 8
  

Program flier and draft memorial booklet, with handwritten changes by Norman Patz, marked by him with the date March 8, 1994.

 
1 4 Memorial service — Program 1995 March 21
  

Program flier, handout ("Program notes"), and memorial booklet.

 
1 5 Memorial service — Program 1996 March 11
  

Program flier; handout ("Program notes"); memorial booklet, with flier/insert "Remembering March 8, 1944/Adar 14, 5704," containing an address delivered at the 1995 service by founder and past president Kurt Wehle; and a second copy of the booklet, with handwritten notes on the front cover.

 
1 6 Memorial service — Program 1997-1998
  

Yizkor meditation by Norman Patz (flier), dated March 4, 1997; and program flier dated March 8, 1998.

 
1 7 Memorial service — Program 1999 March 14
  

Program flier, yizkor meditation by Norman Patz, and memorial booklet.

 
1 8 Memorial service — Program 2000 March 12
  

Program flier, with SHCJ letter to the editor on verso, dated February 17, 2000, concerning Prague medieval Jewish cemetery controversy; and text from the memorial booklet under the title "In memory of the six million and all those who gave their lives to sanctify God's name."

 
1 9 Memorial service — Program 2001 March 11
  

Program flier and handout ("Program notes"); and text from the memorial booklet, including an introduction headed "Book of Memory," and the list of names, under the heading "These we remember."

 
1 10 Memorial service — Program 2002 March 19
  

Program flier; yizkor meditation by Norman Patz, with handwritten Hebrew phrases and initialed by him; and memorial booklet.

 
1 11 Memorial service — Program 2003 March 2
  

Yizkor meditation by Norman Patz (flier) and memorial booklet.

 
1 12 Memorial service — Program 2004 March 14
  

Yizkor meditation by Norman Patz (flier) and memorial booklet.

 
1 13 Memorial service — Program 2005 March 6
  

Program flier, yizkor meditation by Norman Patz, and memorial booklet.

 
1 14 Memorial service — Program 2006 March 19
  

Yizkor meditation by Norman Patz, and memorial booklet, with "supplemental page" on flier.

 
1 15 Memorial service — Program 2007 March 11
  

Program flier, yizkor meditation by Norman Patz (4 pages), and memorial booklet.

 
1 16 Memorial service — Program 2008 March 9
  

Memorial booklet.

 
1 17 Memorial service — Program 2009 March 1
  

Memorial booklet.

 
1 18 Memorial service — Program 2010 February 21
  

Program flier and memorial booklet.

 
1 19 Memorial service — Program undated (after 1995)
  

Undated memorial booklet, with program notes on last page indicating that content was edited and revised by Naomi Patz for the 1995 service; could possibly be the booklet used in 1997 and/or 1998 (years for which no dated booklet was found in the collection).

 

Subseries 2: Annual memorial service correspondence and clippings, 1992-2005

In English, with a few German-language clippings.
Box 1, Folders 20-28. .125 linear feet.
Arrangement:

Correspondence is arranged chronologically, followed by a single folder of clippings at the end of the subseries.

BoxFolderTitleDate
1 20 Memorial service 1992, 1995, 1996 — Correspondence 1992-1996
  

Includes only one item from each year: a letter of regret from Czech ambassador Rita Klimova, 1992; a draft blurb for the event, 1995; and an invitational flier, 1996.

 
1 21 Memorial service 1999 — Correspondence 1992, 1999
  

Includes a press release, music and lyrics related to the performance at the service of six Slovak Jewish folks songs, with words as remembered by Relly Kolar and Rosa Kann, and music reconstructed by Kathy Kann (Rosa's daughter) and Nancy Valentine.

 
1 22 Memorial service 2000 — Correspondence 2000
  

 
1 23 Memorial service 2001 — Correspondence 2000-2001
  

Includes two letters from Norman Patz to Hadassah Lieberman, inviting her as a speaker, and a letter from Lieberman, dated March 11, 2001, regretting that she cannot attend but sending words of greetings for the service.

 
1 24 Memorial service 2002 — Correspondence 2001-2002
  

 
1 25 Memorial service 2003 — Correspondence 2003-2004
  

 
1 26 Memorial service 2004 — Correspondence 2003-2004
  

 
1 27 Memorial service 2005 — Correspondence 2005
  

 
1 28 Memorial services — Clippings (announcements) 1997-2005
  

Includes announcements of the annual memorial services in Aufbau, the Forward, and Jewish Week.

 
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Series II: Writings/speeches, obituaries, interviews, 1962, 1988-2009

In English, except for one item in Czech, with some German.
Box 1, Folders 29-39. .125 linear feet.
Arrangement:

Arranged alphabetically by name of author.

Scope and Content:

This series comprises writings, speeches, obituaries and interviews pertaining to the Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews (SHCJ) and its leaders or members. Some of the texts relate to the annual memorial services documented in Series I, namely, addresses delivered by Norman Lamm, in 1962; Lewis Weiner, in 1988; Amira Kohn-Trattner, in 2004; and Martin Jelínek, in 2009. The essay by Aurelia Kolar and Ruth Davis (Folder 34) concerns the Slovak songs performed at the service in 1999, and may have been a handout; and several items under "Obituaries and tributes" (Folder 39) are texts of addresses given at memorial services, related to Fred Hahn (2004) and Lewis Weiner (1995, 2004). Also of note are transcripts of two interviews, one with Lewis Weiner, and the other with photographer Biedrich Grunzweig (Folder 38).

BoxFolderTitleDate
1 29 Epstein, Helen. "Notes towards an ethnography of the Czech Jews of New York City in the 1950s" 2010
  

Address delivered at the Czech Embassy, Washington, DC, on April 14.

 
1 30 Jelínek, Martin. "Dear friends" (address at SHCJ memorial service) 2009
  

Address delivered by Jelínek, or on his behalf, evidently at the 2009 service. Representing the photo archive of the Jewish Museum in Prague, he describes the museum's new online "unKnown" project that aims to identify unknown persons depicted in photos held by the archive.

 
1 31 Kohn-Trattner, Amira. "A Jewish daughter of Prague" undated (after 1997)
  

Autobiographical. The printout is slightly faulty, with some words toward the left-hand margin faded out on many of the pages, though mostly still decipherable.

 
1 32 Kohn-Trattner, Amira. "Returning to Prague" 1999
  

Written on the occasion of a visit to Prague to attend the International Hidden Child Conference in 1999, on behalf of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

 
1 33 Kohn-Trattner, Amira. "Search and rescue" (address at SHCJ memorial service) 2004
  

Two versions, one conveyed to the SHCJ by fax and a second that may have been a handout distributed at the service, on March 14. Conveys family history in the context of a recent trip to Prague to retrieve paintings of a cousin, Stefan Alexander Reiner.

 
1 34 Kolar, Aurelia (Relly), and Davis, Ruth. "The story of the songs" 1999
  

Text written by Kolar and edited by Davis, giving the background of six Slovak Jewish folk songs that were performed at the SHCJ memorial service in 1999, along with a related article, "How a Slovak village saved a Jewish family," containing an interview with Kolar, who tells of her experiences in Myjava, Slovakia (the article appeared in Voices the newsletter of the Czech and Slovak Jewish Communities Sound Archive, October 1989). This material was probably distributed as a handout at the service.

 
1 35 Lamm, Norman, "Memorial address: memorial service for Jews from Czechoslovakia" 1962
  

Photocopy of a typescript with handwritten emendations. Accompanied by program flier, for service held on March 15 at Hebrew Union College, under the auspices of the "Memorial Service Committee of Jews from Czechoslovakia."

 
1 36 Patz, Norman. "About Terezin" 1996
  

Remarks delivered at the book publication reception for In Memory's Kitchen, edited by Cara DeSilva. Includes a prayer in Hebrew.

 
1 37 Weiner, Lewis, 42nd annual memorial service address 1988
  

Photocopy of a typescript with handwritten emendations. The identification of the author as Weiner is based on his reference in the opening passage to the words of his "predecesssor as president" of SHCJ, Ludovit Sturc.

 
1 38 Interviews with Biedrich Grunzweig and Lewis Weiner 1997
  

Transcripts. The interviews concern the subjects' biographies as well as their relationship to the SHCJ. The interviewer, who is identified by the initials "DG" in one case, and called by the first name "Dana" in the other, was probably Dana Gordon, who at one point was designing a brochure for the society (see correspondence, Folder 61).

 
1 39 Obituaries and tributes 1995-2004
  

Texts of addresses given at memorial services, and clippings of printed obituaries, on the following people: Fred Hahn, Jan Rott, Kurt Wehle, Susan Wehle (daughter of Kurt Wehle), and Lewis Weiner. Includes letter of condolence to Jan Rott's wife, Ina Rott.

 
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Series III: Administrative records, 1970-2008

In English, with one item each in Czech and German.
Box 2, Folders 40-45. .125 linear feet.
Arrangement:

Arranged alphabetically by file name.

Scope and Content:

This series contains records related to the society's administrative activities and communications with the membership. Only two formal annual reports were found, for the years 1969 and 1970 (Folder 41). For later years information about the society's activities is found in the materials related to the annual meetings (Folder 40), including agendas, meeting minutes, letters of invitation to the membership, financial reports, and inventories of publications on hand; and in other letters to the membership (Folder 42). Related material is also found in correspondence files in Subseries IV.2 pertaining to individuals who held leadership positions: Anita Grosz (Folder 63), who served as treasurer beginning in fall 1994; Fred Hahn (Folder 64), vice president; Amira Kohn-Trattner (Folder 69 ), a trustee who eventually became president; and Ruth Davis (Folder 59), who briefly served as acting secretary.

Although no systematic membership records are included, Folder 43 contains various correspondence related to membership dues, new members, and resignations.

Also included in this series are files related to publications: Folder 44 pertains to the society's journal, Review of the Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews, of which six volumes were published between 1987 and 1994, under the editorship of Lewis Weiner; the correspondence mainly covers the transition following Weiner's retirement, and the planning of a seventh volume, which was apparently never published. Folder 45 pertains to the Terezín memorial book, a two-volume Czech-language work (Terezínská Pamětní Kniha), published in 1995 by the Terezín Initiative (Nadace Terezínská iniciativa), containing names of Czech Jews who died in the Holocaust, and an English-language guide to the book, published in 1996; the society acted informally as a distributor of both publications in the United States.

BoxFolderTitleDate
2 40 Annual meetings 1979, 1986, 1993-2002
  

Includes meeting invitation letters to members; meeting agendas and minutes; proxies; financial reports. Board meetings were open to the entire membership. In the documented years through 2002 meetings were generally held once a year in December; in 1994 additional meetings were held in May and October, apparently due to the organizational transition following the resignation of Lewis Weiner as president, in April 1994. Until 2002 meetings were typically held in Manhattan at the New York Board of Rabbis; in 2004 and 2005 the annual meeting was held in March, before the annual memorial service, at Congregation Habonim.

 
2 41 Annual reports for 1969 and 1970 1970, 1971
  

Two reports in the form of a four-page brochure: the first makes reference to the "year 1969" and the annual meeting held on November 29, 1969; the second, to the "1970/1971 period," and the annual meeting held on May 5, 1971.

 
2 42 Membership letters 1995-2008
  

Topics include the society's annual memorial service, as well as other society news, and general events of interest to the membership.

 
2 43 Membership — Miscellaneous 1996-2003
  

Concerns dues, address changes, requests to be added to mailing list, resignations. Includes welcome letters to new members in 2003.

 
2 44 Review of the Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews 1986-2006
  

Includes correspondence to and from Lewis Weiner, SHCJ president and editor of the journal until 1994, with one item to Tomas Kraus in Czech and one from Helmut Teufel in German. Other correspondence is to and from Norman Patz, or Anita Grosz; one item is addressed to Fred Hahn, who assumed the editorship in 1994. Correspondents include contributors to a planned volume 7: Ari Shapiro; Anne Feder Lee and Susan Fisher Boyer; and Scott Spector.

 
2 45 Terezín memorial book (Terezínská Pamětní Kniha) 1996-2001
  

Correspondence with the Terezín Initiative (Nadace Terezínská iniciativa), which published the work, including the editors, Miroslav Karny and Toman Brod.

 
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Series IV: Correspondence, 1977-2008

In English, with occasional items in or using Czech, Slovak, German, or Hebrew.
Box 2, Folder 46 – Box 3, Folder 92. .75 linear feet.
Arrangement:

Arranged in the following subseries:

Scope and Content:

This series contains general correspondence of the Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews (SHCJ), most of it the correspondence of Rabbi Norman Patz, who served as president from 1994 to 2008. Copies of Rabbi Patz's outgoing letters comprise a significant proportion of the correspondence. Please note that correspondence related to the planning of the annual memorial services can be found in Subseries I.2; and correspondence related to administrative matters, including annual meetings, membership news, and the work on producing or distributing publications, can be found in Series III.

Subseries 1 contains correspondence files of Rabbi Patz on particular topics, including bequests to the society; flood relief to Jewish organizations in Prague, following the European floods of August 2002; the dedication of the Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk Memorial in Washington, DC, in 2002; and a donation of Emil Orlik drawings to the Jewish Museum in Prague by a congregant. Two of the files in this subseries relate to the erection of Holocaust memorials in towns in the Czech Republic, one in Dvůr Králové nad Labem and one in Stříbro. Rabbi Patz attended the dedication of the memorial in Dvůr Králové, and the story of his congregation's connection to the town was featured in the SHCJ 2008 memorial booklet (see Folder 16). The memorial in Stříbro was erected through the efforts of Rick Keat, who had a family connection to the town; Rabbi Patz learned about it from one of his congregants, Martha Bergler (née Zunterstein) and apparently wrote something about it for the 2001 memorial service booklet (the collection unfortunately does not include a copy of that year's booklet). Finally, one file concerns a controversy related to the discovery of remnants of a medieval Jewish cemetery in Prague (see Folder 52); Patz corresponded with Jewish leaders in Prague, and played a role in clarifying the facts of the matter in the American media.

Subseries 2 contains correspondence files of individuals and organizations. In the case of several individuals who held leadership positions within the society, that information is noted after their names in the folder titles. Some of the others are members of the society, including Murray and Hana Greenfield, whose correspondence reflects their activities in Prague and Kolin, Czech Republic; and Martin and Margit Zapletal, who were active as representatives of the Holocaust Survivors of Slovakia. Of the organizations, three are located in the Czech Republic, reflecting (as do some of the files in Subseries 1) the society's ongoing relationship with the contemporary Czech Jewish community: the Jewish Liberal Union (a Jewish congregation); the Jewish Museum in Prague; and the Terezín Ghetto Museum. There is also correspondence with the Central Union of Jewish Religious Communities, in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Subseries 3 contains correspondence with other individuals and organizations, grouped in collective folders, in cases when the correspondence was of a more miscellaneous nature, and/or consisted of only one or two items. A letter from member Hana Gruna (Folder 81) includes a photograph of a memorial plate that members of the synagogue in Santa Monica, California, laid in Sušice, Czech Republic, in the year 2000, in honor of Jews of Sušice who died in the Holocaust.

Finally, Subseries 4 contains miscellaneous correspondence in several categories: directory listings for the society; donations received; genealogical inquiries; acknowledgement letters from libraries for gifts of SHCJ publications; orders received for SHCJ publications; and research, or miscellaneous inquiries.

Subseries 1: Correspondence by topic, 1990-2008

In English, with one item each in German and Czech.
Box 2, Folders 46-53. .25 linear feet.
Arrangement:

Arranged alphabetically by file name.

BoxFolderTitleDate
2 46 Bequests 1997-2000
  

Concerns bequests to the SHCJ from the estates of Claire Gerstl and Zdenka E. Fischmann.

 
2 47 Dvůr Králové nad Labem (Czech Republic; German: Königinhof an der Elbe) Holocaust memorial dedication 2008
  

Letter to SHCJ membership and other correspondence, as well as writings, clippings, and 12 photographs (received as JPEG files, with color printouts of two items). Included are speeches given at the dedication, on February 16, by Eva Weiss Noskova and Norman Patz; remarks by Norman Patz given at Bejt Praha, Spanish Synagogue, Prague, the day before; and an essay by Patz entitled "Completing a mission," which relates the story of the connection between his congregation, Temple Sholom of West Essex, and the Czech town, beginning in 1975, when the congregation received, in trust, a Torah scroll from the town, via the Memorial Scrolls Trust, London.

 
2 48 Flood relief, Czech Republic — General correspondence 2002-2003
  

Correspondents include the Jewish Museum in Prague, the Terezín Ghetto Museum, and the Federation of Jewish Communities (Czech Republic). Also included are copies of Norman Patz's letters to Paul Winkler, New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, and Peter Rafaeli, Consulate General of the Czech Republic for Pennsylvania, which contain his report on flood damage and conditions he witnessed during his trip to Prague in February 2003. A second text, addressed only to "George," describing conditions in Prague (apparently a printout of an email, without header) is undated and the writer unidentified. Also included is the 2003 issue 2 of the Prague Museum newsletter (Zpravodaj), containing an article about the floods and listings of donors.

 
2 49 Flood relief, Czech Republic — Donor letters and acknowledgements 2002
  

The acknowledgments include copies of a form letter from the SHCJ to multiple recipients; a copy of a letter from the Czech embassy in Washington, DC; and a blank form letter of acknowledgement from the American Friends of the Czech Republic.

 
2 50 Masaryk memorial (Washington, DC) dedication 2002
  

Includes a draft version of the essay "Czech Jewish contributions to American Society," by Norman Patz, based on materials provided by Guido Kisch, with updates from Mark Talisman and Arnošt Lustig; and a copy of the program booklet, in which the essay appeared, published by the American Friends of the Czech Republic, for the dedication on September 19.

 
2 51 Emil Orlik drawings — Donation to Jewish Museum, Prague, by Anita and Marcel Bollag 1990, 1994, 2000-2004
  

The donor Anita Bollag was a native of Prague and a niece of Orlik; she was a member of Rabbi Patz's Temple Sholom congregation, and probably also of the SHCJ. The drawings in question were executed by Orlik at the peace conference in Brest-Litovsk in 1918. The donation was completed in 2003. Correspondents include Leo Pavlát and Michaela Hajkova, of the museum; and Mark Talisman, of Project Judaica, who facilitated the legal aspects of the donation. Included is a notice about the donation in Czech in the museum's newsletter, Zpravodaj. Also included is a letter, in German, from Helene Orlik (of Unterschleissheim, Germany) to Anita Bollag, dating from 1994; and a photograph, dated 1990, of a portrait by Orlik of Elisabeth Bergner.

 
2 52 Prague medieval Jewish cemetery (Vladislavova Street) 2000
  

Concerns a controversy that developed subsequent to the discovery, in 1998, of the remnants of a medieval Jewish cemetery on Vladislavova Street, in Prague's New Town neighborhood, at the site of a construction project of the Czech Insurance Company. Chief Rabbi Efraim Sidon negotiated with the company to have 300 graves transferred to a different site, a move that was interpreted by some as a desecration of the cemetery; mistaken reports that the cemetery in question was the famous Old Jewish Cemetery heightened criticism of the Czech Jewish leadership. Included is a clipping of an interview with Norman Patz published in the New Jersey Jewish News; a letter he wrote to the New York Times, which was not published; a statement of the Prague Jewish community; and a press release issued by the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in New York City. See also a related item from Anita Grosz in Folder 63.

 
2 53 Stříbro (Czech Republic; German: Mies) Holocaust memorial 2000-2001
  

Correspondents include Rick Keat, of Seattle, Washington, who erected a monument in the town in honor of relatives who died in the Holocaust; and Jiří Fiedler, of the Jewish Museum, who responds to a request from Norman Patz with information on the history of the town's Jewish community and on present-day structures relevant to that history, in connection with a piece to be included in the 2001 memorial booklet.

 

Subseries 2: Individual correspondence files, 1977-2006

In English, with occasional items in or using Slovak, Czech, German, or Hebrew.
Box 2, Folder 54 – Box 3, Folder 79. .25 linear feet.
Arrangement:

Arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent.

BoxFolderTitleDate
2 54 Albright, Madeline K. 1997-2001
  

Includes one letter from Albright to Norman Patz, thanking him for the gift of SHCJ publications and his letter of congratulations to her on her appointment as secretary of state; and copies of 4 letters from Patz to Albright, one of which encloses the text of a meditation he wrote following a meeting with Albright in Terezín in August 1997, delivered at the Yom Kippur service of his congregation.

 
2 55 Beck, Curt F. (SHCJ trustee) 2004
  

Letter from Beck enclosing text of a talk, "Assimilation, anti-Semitism and the Holocaust," which he delivered at a Center for Judaic Studies Forum at the University of Connecticut.

 
2 56 Central Union of Jewish Religious Communities (Bratislava, Slovakia)
  

Correspondent is Fero Alexander, executive director. Also includes items from John Ponger, of Jerusalem, addressed to the Central Union (forwarded to Patz by a cousin of Ponger), concerning the preservation of the Jewish cemetery in Krajne, Slovakia. Two items from Alexander (apparently form letters or announcements) are in Slovak.

 
2 57 Czech Republic. Consulate General (New York, NY). Petr Gandalovič, Consul General 1998-2002
  

Mostly concerns cultural events at the consulate. Includes a letter from Gandalovič following his attendance at the annual memorial service in 1998; and a letter from him in 2005, after he had become mayor of Ústí nad labem, Czech Republic, including a conference program in Czech.

 
2 58 Davis, Ruth 1994-1998
  

Mostly correspondence between Davis and Anita Grosz, the SHCJ treasurer; one letter from Davis in 1994, is addressed to Norman Patz, concerning agenda items for the upcoming SHCJ annual meeting. Some items from Davis are on letterhead of the Czech and Slovak Jewish Communities Archive. Also includes one letter to Davis from Pavol Meštán, enclosing his article "Attempts at new interpretations and deliberate misinterpretations of the Jewish question in Slovakia."

 
2 59 Drayson-Knigge, Sloane 1997-2002
  

 
2 60 Goldstein, Andrew (Rabbi, United Kingdom) 2001-2005
  

 
2 61 Gordon, Dana 1997
  

Concerns the design of a brochure for the SHCJ, with draft text about the history of the society, and two prototypes.

 
2 62 Greenfield, Murray and Hana 1995-2005
  

Includes clippings and a typescript concerning Rosh Hashanah services at the Spanish Synagogue in Prague in 1995; a clipping about a student essay contest organized by Hana Greenfield at a high school in Kolín, Czech Republic, in commemoration of the Holocaust; the text of remarks of the Czech prime minister Miloš Zeman, in June 2002, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the deportation of Jews from Kolín, which Hana read aloud at the ceremony; a clipping of an article about Hana in Czech, containing biographical details; and a catalog (booklet) from an exhibition that the Greenfields helped to organize ("'To remain a human being': selected student paintings from the competition at the Terezin Memorial, Israel"), inscribed from Murray Greenfield to Norman Patz. See also file for the Czech Consulate in New York for materials on another exhibition organized by Hana Greenfield (Folder 57).

 
2 63 Grosz, Anita H. (SHCJ treasurer, or secretary/treasurer) 1995-2001
  

Some items concern financial and other matters of the SHCJ, in one instance with enclosure of draft minutes of the 1996 annual meeting. In one item Grosz forwards material sent to her by Vicky Joseph of Reform Synagogues of Great Britain, pertaining to the controversy over the Jewish cemetery on Vladislavova Street (letter of the Czech insurance company, and letter of Chief Rabbi Sidon of Prague). Also includes: announcement upon the birth of Grosz's daughter Sophie, and a later photograph of Sophie dated 2003; and an obituary for Anita's father, Hanus J. Grosz (September 2001).

 
2 64 Hahn, Fred (SHCJ vice president) 1996
  

Copy of a letter from Norman Patz to Hahn outlining SHCJ matters that Hahn was going to address during an upcoming trip to Prague.

 
2 65 Honey, Michael 2003
  

Includes a copy of Honey's paper "The rehabilitation of Erich Schön/Kulka," which he presented at the 13th annual conference of the Midwest Jewish Studies Association.

 
2 66 Jewish Liberal Union (Prague, Czech Republic) 2000-2001
  

Concerns, in part, the JLU (ZLU) relations with the Federation of Jewish Communities (FZO). Correspondents include: František Fendrych, Rabbi Andrew Goldstein, Michael Heppner, Benjamin Kuras, Simona Sternová, and Rabbi Thomas Salamon. See also separate correspondence file for Goldstein.

 
BoxFolderTitleDate
3 67 Jewish Museum in Prague (Czech Republic) 1993-2006
  

Mostly correspondence with Leo Pavlát, director. One item from Norman Patz is addressed to Jiri Fiedler, in 2004. One item is a letter from curator Arno Pařík to Patz, concerning an exhibition of the art of Mark Podwal, which Patz in turn faxed to Podwal.

 
3 68 Kisch, Guido (SHCJ honorary president) 1977
  

Letter from Kisch to Norman Patz, with a copy of an article by Kisch in German about a commemorative medal concerning the Terezín (Theresienstadt) concentration camp ("Eine KZ-Gedenkmedaille"), published in Jüdische Rundschau (Basel, Switzerland), March 3, 1977.

 
3 69 Kohn-Trattner, Amira (SHCJ trustee) 2002
  

Topics include: proposed op-ed piece sent to the New York Times (not published) concerning Kafka and Czech Jewish identity; draft agreement in the name of David Szonyi, as a part-time editor of a fourth volume in the series "The Jews of Czechoslovakia" (did not come to fruition); film project of Lucas Pribyl, "Forgotten Transports," with prospectus for the film, and messages from Pribyl to Kohn-Trattner about the project.

 
3 70 Kraus, John H. 1998-2005
  

 
3 71 Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY) 2005
  

Concerns the exhibition "Prague, the Crown of Bohemia, 1347-1437."

 
3 72 Politzer, Alan A. (SHCJ vice president) 1994, 1996, 2004
  

Includes 5 photos of Václav Havel at a ceremony, evidently at the museum Beit Terezin in Givat Haim Ichud, Israel. The photos were found in an envelope from Alan Politzer addressed to Norman Patz, postmarked November 1996, along with a photocopy of a letter from Politzer to Patz dated March 2, 1994, and a second photocopied sheet containing a passage in Czech signed by Havel, with an English translation typed above, under the heading "A message from Prague - received recently" (handwritten annotation: 1990?). The single item in 2004 is from Valerie Politzer, Alan's wife, just after his death.

 
3 73 Preisler, Julian H. 1996-1997
  

 
3 74 Schulhof, Joseph 1997-2005
  

Includes a letter from son Peter Schulhof, upon Joseph Schulhof's death.

 
3 75 Terezín Ghetto Museum/Memorial (Památník Terezín; Terezín, Czech Republic) 1993-2006
  

Correspondents are Jan Munk and Vojtech Blodig. Includes copy of a letter from Norman Patz, 1997, enclosing two letters with genealogical inquiries, from Doris Kubey (Grunstein family) and Charles Roberts (Aufrichtig and Szamek/Samek families). Also includes a typescript of an adaptation/redramatization of Karel Švenk's "The Last Cyclist," written by Naomi Patz. One item, dated 1993, is addressed to Alan Politzer.

 
3 76 United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington, DC) 1998-2000
  

 
3 77 Wehle, Kurt (SHCJ founder and past president) 1995
  

One letter from Wehle.

 
3 78 Weiner, Lewis (SHCJ president) 1994
  

Concerns Weiner's resignation as president of the society, and editor of publications.

 
3 79 Zapletal, Martin and Margit 1981-1986, 1995-1998
  

Includes material related to the Holocaust Survivors of Slovakia, including programs related to the Zapletals' presenting a memorial album, in Washington, DC, and New York City (1984, 1986), and fliers/newsletters of the survivors association, one of which is trilingual, in English, Czech and Hebrew.

 

Subseries 3: Other correspondents, 1991-2006

In English.
Box 3, Folders 80-86. .125 linear feet.
Arrangement:

Arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent.

BoxFolderTitleDate
3 80 Other correspondents, A - B 1998-2005
  

 
3 81 Other correspondents, C - G 1998-2006
  

 
3 82 Other correspondents, H - K 1996-2006
  

Includes a copy of a letter to Václav Havel from Norman Patz on behalf of the SHCJ, in 1996, wishing him a speedy recovery.

 
3 83 Other correspondents, L - P 1995-2001
  

 
3 84 Other correspondents, R - S 1991-2005
  

Includes a letter from Sylvie Wittmann and Jan Rott addressed to Rabbi Clifford Kulwin, 1991.

 
3 85 Other correspondents, T - Z 1999-2005
  

 
3 86 Unidentified, miscellaneous, notes, envelopes 1996-2005
  

Includes several empty envelopes that were found together, all postmarked in September 2002.

 

Subseries 4: Miscellaneous correspondence by category, 1993-2006

In English.
Box 3, Folders 87-92. .125 linear feet.
Arrangement:

Arranged alphabetically by file name.

BoxFolderTitleDate
3 87 Directory listings for the SHCJ 1996-2003
  

Includes the Association of Holocaust Organizations, of which the SHCJ was a member.

 
3 88 Donations 1998-2006
  

 
3 89 Genealogical inquiries 1997-2005
  

 
3 90 Libraries — Acknowledgements of gifts of SHCJ publications 1998-2004
  

 
3 91 Orders for publications 1993-2005
  

 
3 92 Research inquiries and miscellaneous inquiries 1994-2005
  

 
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Series V: Ephemera, publications, miscellaneous, undated, 1969, 1994-2005

In English, with occasional items in Czech.
Box 3, Folders 93-97. 125 linear feet.
Arrangement:

Arranged alphabetically by file name.

Scope and Content:

This series contains various ephemera, including a membership brochure and letterhead of the SHCJ, and Czech commemorative stamps; newsletters or fliers of other organizations; and a publication of the Weiner family, containing a biographical sketch of Lewis Weiner, who was president of the society from 1976 to 1994. Also included is an unidentified typescript in Czech (Folder 97), which could possibly have been a submission for the Society's journal (see Folder 44).

BoxFolderTitleDate
3 93 Ephemera — Commemorative stamps, including Kafka stamp 1969
  

Series of six UNESCO postage stamps issued in Czechoslovakia in 1969, of cultural figures Henri Matisse, Aleš Hrdlička, Franz Kafka, Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav, G. K. Chesterton, and Vladimir Majakovskij; and a photographic enlargement of the Kafka stamp.

 
3 94 Ephemera, receipts 1994-2005
  

Includes SHCJ brochure with membership application and order form for the society's publications, circa 1994; blank SHCJ stationery; fliers, press releases for cultural events or news of interest.

 
3 95 Organizations — fliers, newsletters 1994-2000
  

Includes fliers, brochures, or newsletters for the following organizations: Bohemica Foundation; California Czechoslovak Club; Charles University, Prague; Czech and Slovak Jewish Communities Archives (journal, Phoenix); Dallas Holocaust Center; Heritage Fund of Hitachdut Yotsei Czechoslovakia, Tel Aviv; Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois; Seminary of Judaic Studies (Rabbi Arnold S. Turetsky); and the Theresienstadt Martyrs Remembrance Association.

 
3 96 Publication: The Weiners: Family Weiner & Barth and a collection of articles 1996
  

Privately published by Lewis Weiner. Includes "Biography of Lewis Weiner," by F. Weckerlein; articles on the Weiner and Barth families; and a facsimile of a program commemorating "The Millennium of Jews in Czechoslovakia," on November 17, 1968, organized by the SHCJ.

 
3 97 Unidentified typescript undated
  

In Czech, with occasional German quotations. Concerns, in part, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, and cites from the Central State Archives of Prague (SÚA), among other sources.

 
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