Guide to the Papers of Siegfried Altmann (1887-1963)

AR 1788

Processed by Meike Bingemann

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305



© 2012 Leo Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Dianne Ritchey in April 2012. Description is in English.
November 26, 2012  Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Altmann, Siegfried, 1887-1963
Title: Siegfried Altmann Collection
Dates:bulk 1940s
Abstract: The Siegfried Altmann Collection contains primarily his correspondence with various luminaries and other personalities, the International Red Cross, as well as materials pertaining to the Jewish Institute for the Blind in Hohe Warte, Vienna. Documents consist of a guestbook, a manuscript, articles, an obituary, autographs, and correspondence.
Languages: The collection is in German and English.
Quantity: 0.5 linear ft.
Identification: AR 1788
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note

Siegfried Altmann was born on July 12th, 1887 in Nikolsburg, Austria-Hungary (now Mikulov, Czech Republic). He studied social work and became the director of the Jewish Institute for the Blind Hohe Warte in Vienna.

Altmann left Vienna in 1939 and immigrated to the United States. He started working as business director of the Austrian Institute in New York until he became director of the entire institute in 1958. Siegfried Altmann died on September 14th, 1963 in New York City.

The Israelitisches Blinden-Institut was founded upon an initiative of Ludwig August Frankl; Jonas Freiherr von Königswarter donated the building, which was inducted on December 1, 1872, with Rabbi Adolf Jellinek and Cantor Salomon Sulzer being present. The institute took care of blind children and young adults, providing them with vocational training.

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Scope and Content Note

The Siegfried Altmann Collection holds material on Siegfried Altmann himself, the Jewish Institute for the Blind in Vienna, "Israelitisches Blinden-Institute Hohe Warte Wien", and his correspondence with various celebrities and institutions. It consists of a guestbook, a manuscript, correspondence, autographs, articles, and an obituary. Particularly prominent in this collection is material on Siegfried Altmann's lifetime achievement and his communication with famous authors and artists as well as with rabbis.

Series I contains information about Siegfried Altmann. There are a few articles about him, an obituary, and correspondence with the International Red Cross.

In Series II one will find autographs from authors and artists as well as a collection of correspondence with famous personalities, among them Richard Beer-Hoffmann and Bruno Walter.

The last series consists of the guestbook of the Jewish Institute for the Blind Hohe Warte in Vienna.

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The collection is arranged in three 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 "Reserve" 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

Separated Material

A Torah Scroll and a Megilla of Rabbi Hirsch Perez Chajes as well as a Torah Pointer of Ludwig August Frankl have been moved to the LBI Art and Object Collection.

The photo album of the Jewish Institute for the Blind has been moved to the Photo Collection.

A memoir by Siegfried Altmann is catalogued separately in the LBI memoir collection, ME 11 and MF 71/4.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Siegfried Altmann Collection; AR 1788; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing Information

This collection has been restructured and changed from the old inventory. The Varia Series has been put in a series called Siegfried Altmann. Also the Autograph Series has been renamed into Autographs and Correspondence (Series II), and the folders have been rearranged. The Guestbook Series is now Series III.

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Other Finding Aid

An item-level inventory from 1966 is available. It lists a few famous personalities who signed the guestbook and all the names of the correspondents in Series II.

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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: Siegfried Altmann, 1938-1963

This series is in German and English.
0.1 linear ft.


Scope and Content:

Series I holds articles about Siegfried Altmann and correspondence.

The articles mostly praise his work and success at the Blind-Institute and his lifetime achievement as an "outstanding Zionist refugee from Austria" (The New Palestine, 1941).

Folder 2 consists of correspondence with the International Red Cross regarding the Nazi concentration camps and the lack of intervention.

12Red Cross Correspondence1944-1945
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Series II: Autographs and Correspondence, 1900-1961

This series is in German and English.
0.3 linear ft.


Scope and Content:

Series II mostly consists of correspondence and a small amount of autographs.

The autographs include signatures from the writers Erich Kaestner and Peter Altenberg.

The next folders all contain letters and postcards addressed to Siegfried Altmann mostly sending greetings and gratitude, asking for support, or discussing a performance. Topics include Zionism and literary and cultural matters. In the "Beer-Hofmann" folder one will also find an autograph, two poems and a manuscript called "Die Einleitung zur Hochzeit des Todes von Ariel Bension" (The introduction to the wedding of the death of Ariel Bension) written by Richard Beer-Hofmann; Folder 8 additionally contains a biographical note on Friedrich Torberg.

Other correspondents include: Broch, Hermann, writer, 1886-1951; Chajes, Hirsch Perez, rabbi, 1876-1927; Feuchtwang, David: rabbi, 1864-1936; Freud, Anna; Gurlitt, Ludwig, 1855-1931; Hayek, Max, writer; Karlweis, Oscar, actor; Kastein, Josef, writer, 1890-1946; Kraus, Karl, writer, 1874-1936; Lehmann, Lotte, singer, 1874-1936; Liliencron, Detlev Baron v., writer, 1844-1909; Loewi, Otto, pharmacologist, 1873-1961; Mamroth, S., editor; Schnabel, Arthur, pianist, 1882-1951; Schnitzler, Henry; Serkin, Rudolf, pianist, born 1903; Sonnenfeld, Kurt; Straus, Oscar, Composer, 1870-1954; Trebitsch, Siegfried, writer 1869-1956; Walter, Bruno, conductor, 1876-1962; Ziegler, Ignaz, rabbi, born 1861.

14Beer-Hofmann, Richard1920-1944
15Hayek, Max1912-1915
16Other Correspondence1900-1957
17Torberg, Friedrich1948-1950
18Walter, Bruno1946-1961
19Ziegler, Ignaz; Rabbi1907
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Series III: Jewish Institute for the Blind, 1872-1939

This series is in German.
0.1 linear ft.
Scope and Content:

The last series contains the guestbook of the Jewish Institute for the Blind Hohe Warte in Vienna. About 3000 names are entered into the book, from the opening of the Institute in 1872 to 1939. It documents signatures of well-known rabbis, of leading political personalities such as Elisabeth the empress of Austria, of famous physicians, among them Sigmund Freud, and of social workers and authors.

Rabbis: Moritz Guedemann, Vienna; Leopold Loew, Szegedin; David Feuchtwang, Vienna; Esra Munk, Berlin; Adolf Altmann, Trier; Hirsch Perez Chajes, Vienna; Joseph Silvermann, New York.

Political celebrities: Ignaz Kuranda; Ignaz v. Hofmannsthal, president of Jewish community Vienna; the later emperor of Japan; Pedro II, emperor of Brazil. Others include: Leopold Kompert; Ludwig August Frankl; Paul Ehrlich; Lina Morgenstern; Karl Emil Fanzos; Adolf Wilbrandt; Henriette Goldschmidt.

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