Guide to the Papers of Raphael Straus (1887-1947)

AR 628 / MF 1005

Processed by LBI Staff and Laetitia Lenel

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305



© 2008 Leo Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Dianne Ritchey Oummia in November 2008. Description is in English.
December 2009. Microfilm inventory added. December 03, 2012  Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Straus, Raphael, 1887-1947
Title: Raphael Straus Collection
Abstract: This collection contains the papers of the historian Raphael Straus. Mainly consisting of research material, the collection holds typescripts and manuscripts, a galley, articles, reviews, and, above all, archival notes and research notes. In addition, there is also the correspondence of Raphael Straus.
Languages: The collection is in German, English, Hebrew, and French.
Quantity: 3.75 linear feet.
Identification: AR 628
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note

Raphael Straus was born in 1887 in Karlsruhe. Straus studied history in Freiburg, Berlin and Heidelberg and gained his doctorate in 1910 with a thesis entitled Die Juden im Königreich Sizilien unter Normannen und Staufern [The Jews in the Kingdom of Sicily Under the Normans and Staufers]. In 1913 Straus took over the Holbein publishing house, which he resold in the late 1920s. As a research associate of the Bayrischer Landesverband der israelitischen Kultusgemeinden [Bavarian Regional Association of Jewish Communities], Straus received the opportunity to again devote himself to research after 1927. In 1932 his book Die Judengemeinde Regensburg im ausgehenden Mittelalter [The Jewish Community of Regensburg at the Conclusion of the Middle Ages] was published, which became one of the most important works of Straus. From 1929 to 1932 he edited the periodical Zeitschrift für die Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland [Magazine for the History of the Jews in Germany].

Raphael Straus left Germany in 1933 to live in Palestine. With the aid of several scholarships Straus continued his research in Jerusalem, although the struggle for support, scholarships and publication drained a lot of his energy. The manuscripts Urkunden und Aktenstücke zur Geschichte der Juden in Regensburg, 1453-1738 [Documents and Records on the History of the Jews in Regenburg, 1453-1738] and Die Juden in Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft [The Jews in Economy and Society] were not published in Germany until the 1960s.

His correspondence reveals his wish to move to the United Stated which he could not fulfill until 1945. Raphael Straus died in New York in 1947.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection documents the scientific work and life of the historian Raphael Straus. It contains selected correspondence, manuscripts and typescripts, archival and research notes, reviews and original documents.

The correspondence, which is held in Series I, tells about the difficulties Straus faced in Palestine in the 1930s and 1940s. Not finding work, the correspondence provides information on Straus's constant struggle for financial support and professional recognition. Being often disappointed, early letters reveal his plans to move to the United States, which he did not do until 1945 – two years before his death. His partially unfinished research projects represent the greater part of the collection. Straus worked on Judaism, the history of Judaism, its status in Europe and the relation of Christianity and Judaism (II.1). He specialized in the history and economic situation of Jews in Bavaria in the Middle Ages (II.2).

Straus's research contains a his critical look on the lives and works of different Jewish thinkers. Scrutinizing their time, social recognition and adoption, Straus provided a valuable insight into Jewish life and thinking, in his Biographical Writings (II.3). He explored structures and contexts. Conducted by this principle, his research also investigated the main features and defining topics of modern Jewish history (II.4).

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This collection is comprised of two series:

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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.

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.

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

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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


The collection is on five reels of microfilm (MF 1005):

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Raphael Straus Collection; AR 628; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing Information

This collection was processed in August 2000. In 2008 it was reprocessed to reflect the addition of addenda and to group similar materials together and give them new numeration, although much of the older processing order remained the same. In addition, series descriptions were added, as well as a collection-level scope and content note.

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Container List


Series I: Correspondence, 1927-1946

This series is in German, English, and Hebrew.
0.25 linear foot.


Scope and Content:

This series contains the correspondence of Raphael Straus. It is divided into two folders. While folder 1 consists of archival requests and correspondence (1927-1930), folder 2 includes private and professional correspondence (1932-1946), mainly closely intermingled. A great part of the letters held in folder 2 tells about Straus's struggle to fulfill his professional plans and move to the United States.

11Archival correspondence1927-1930
12Private and professional correspondence1932-1946
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Series II: Research, 1926-1946

This series is in German, English, Hebrew, and French.
3.5 linear feet.

Divided into five subseries:

Scope and Content:

The series holds manuscripts and research material for Straus's professional writings, divided into five subseries which represent his main areas of interest: Judaism; Jews in medieval Bavaria; biographies; modern Jewish history; and bibliographies.

Subseries 1: Judaism, 1930s-1940s

This subseries is in German, English, and French.
0.5 linear foot.


Scope and Content:

Subseries 1 holds notes, articles and citations mainly about Judaism, its position in comparison to other religions (especially Christianity) and its status in Europe. These notes might constitute a part of the research to the still unpublished "Apokatastasis - eine friedvolle Betrachtung ueber Judentum und Christentum" [Apocatastasis - a Peaceful Contemplation of Judaism and Christianity] (written in the early 1940s). While folder 1 includes citations and articles about Judaism in comparison to other religions, folder 2 consists of notes and articles concerning the role of Jews in Europe. Folder 3 contains notes on the history of Judaism in general.

13Thoughts about Judaism (citations)1930s-1940s
14Jews and Judaism in Europe1930s-1940s
15Notes on the History of Judaism1941-1943

Subseries 2: Jews in Medieval Bavaria, 1926-1946

This subseries is in German, English, and Hebrew.
1.5 linear feet.


Scope and Content:

Subseries 2 holds research notes, archival notes, a manuscript and a galley on the history and economic situation of Jews in medieval Bavaria. In box 3, Straus scrutinized the situation of Jews in medieval Bavaria in general, but also illuminated local differences in the status of Jews in Bavaria. Box 3 contains notes, archival papers and documents that are locally and temporally specialized.

Box 4 includes the manuscript Judengemeinde Regensburg and Augsburg, which was published in 1932 and constitutes one of his most important writings, and the galley of Urkunden und Aktenstuecke zur Geschichte der Juden in Regensburg, 1453-1738, which was published in 1960.

A) Research Notes - General

16History of Jews in Medieval Bavaria1930s
17Economic role of Jews in Medieval Bavaria1930s

B) Research and Archival Notes - Localized

19Die Judengassen
111Bayern, Gemeinden1930s
112Muenchen (1275-1440)1930s
113Muenchen (1442-1552)1930s
114Gemeinden Bayern-Pfalz (1447-1927)1929-1932
115Jews from Pappenheim (1541-1805)1926-1933

C) Manuscript and Galley - Regensburg and Augsburg

21Judengemeinde Regensburg and Augsburg1932
22Urkunden u. Aktenstuecke zur Geschichte der Juden in Regensburg, 1453-17381938

Subseries 3: Biographical Notes and Manuscripts, 1930-1945

This subseries is in German and English.
0.5 linear foot.


Scope and Content:

This subseries is comprised of writings which esteem the time, life and work of selected Jews. Folder 1 contains notes, correspondence and the manuscript on "Sekel Lob Wormser, the Ba'al-Shem of Michelstadt", which was published in Historica Judaica in 1943/1944.

Folder 2 includes notes on Jakob Frank Obadiah di Bertinero and a manuscript: . Straus translated and rearranged the Hebrew letters of Obadiah di Bertinoro, which date back to 1488/1489.

Folder 3 holds a manuscript on Moses Montefiore, while folder 4 includes an original document, which might present a letter dating back to 1620 (Latin?).

23Sekel Lob Wormser1930-1943
24Jakob Frank Obadiah di Bertinero1941
25Moses Montefiore (1784-1885)1930s
26Original Document1620

Subseries 4: Modern Jewish History, 1930-1945

This subseries is in German, English, and Hebrew.
0.5 linear foot.


Scope and Content:

Subseries 4 contains research of Raphael Straus that focuses on modern Jewish history. Subjects included in this series take account of Jews and the economy, Jews in North Africa, and the colonization of Palestine.

Folder 1 holds research notes and the manuscript "Juden in der europaeischen Kriegswirtschaft. Eine geschichtliche Betrachtung" [Jews in the European War Economy. A Historical Examination] . While the earliest research notes date back to 1927, the manuscript was probably finished in 1942. Straus explored the financial circumstances of Jews to confute popular prejudices. Folder 1 also contains notes on the economist Werner Sombart (1863-1941) and his book Die Juden und das Wirtschaftsleben [Jews and Economic Life].

Folder 2 contains Anglo-Hungarian War Bonds of the years 1914 to 1917.

Folder 3 contains research notes and the manuscript "Jews in North Africa" (1940-1946).

Folders 4 and 5 hold materials on the colonization of Palestine (in the early 1940s); folder 5 includes the manuscript on Palestine colonization within the context of colonial history: "Die Palaestinakolonisation im Lichte der Kolonialgeschichte" [The Palestine Colonization in View of Colonial History] (1943/1944). Notes on Zionism can be found in folder 6 (1938-1943), while folder 7 contains notes and a treatise on "The Zionist idea within the general spiritual development".

27Juden in der europaeischen Kriegswirtschaft1927-1942
OS 127Anglo-Hungarian War Bonds1914-1917
28Jews in North Africa1940-1946
210Palestine Colonization and Colonial History1943
212The Zionist idea within the general Spiritual development1940s

Subseries V: Bibliographic References, 1912-1946

This series is in German and Hebrew.
0.5 linear foot.
Scope and Content:

This subseries includes information about sources to which Straus referred to in his writing. By listing the literature he used for his work on Jewish history, he also intended to provide an - of course incomplete - bibliography of the "Judenfrage", encompassing literature from the 17th century to the 1930s (folder 1). Folder 2 holds bibliographical references from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, while notes of Straus on his bibliographical sources in general can be found in folder 3.

213Bibliography of Jewish History19112-1946
214Bibliographical References - Hebrew University1930s-1946
215Bibliographical Sources1930s-1946
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