Guide to the Papers of Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss

AR 1020

Processed by Kate Jadwin

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 Emily Andresini in February 2012. Description is in English.
July 25, 2013  Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Blumenthal-Weiss, Ilse, 1988-1987
Title: Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss Collection
Dates:bulk 1942-1978
Abstract: This collection documents select periods throughout the life and career of German poet Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss. Containing material related to her personal and professional life, the bulk of this collection is made up of correspondence. Also included are poetry drafts, lectures, a manuscript, press clippings, and ephemera.
Languages: The collection is in German, English, and Hebrew.
Quantity: 0.25 linear feet.
Identification: AR 1020
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note
Portrait of Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss (1899-1987)

Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss (1899-1987)

Born in Berlin on October 14, 1899, Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss was by training and profession an orthopedic specialist. She wrote poetry from an early age, an interest that was to lead to the publication of her first volume of verse, Gesicht und Maske, in 1929 and to a correspondence with Rainer Maria Rilke, which was published in Briefe aus Muzot in 1935.

Blumenthal-Weiss was subjected to the horrors of the concentration camp having lost her son to Mauthausen and her husband to Auschwitz. Survivors of Westerbork and Theresienstadt, Blumenthal-Weiss and her surviving daughter immigrated to the United States in 1947. Three volumes of her verse were published in the Federal Republic of Germany: Das Schlüsselwunder: Gedichte in 1954, Mahnmal in 1960, and Ohnesarg: Gedichte Und Ein Dokumentarischer Bericht in 1984. Often writing about the Holocaust and the pain of loss, Blumenthal-Weiss’s poetic legacy has made a significant contribution to women’s studies and exile literature. She died in 1987 in Connecticut after many active years as a highly respected scholar and poet in the German intellectual community of New York City.

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Scope and Content Note

Ranging from 1946 to 1982, the materials in the Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss collection includes correspondence, clippings, photographs, posters, programs, drafts of essays and writings, typed lectures, and a hand-edited manuscript

The bulk of the collection consists of typed, photocopied and hand-written correspondence with a variety of correspondents. The writings series includes: hand-written and typed poems in German with marginalia; typed presentations and lectures, both in German and English; a hand-edited German manuscript about Paul Celan. While the topics within the correspondence and writings cover a broad range, the most prominent discuss issues of coping with life after the Holocaust, poetry, literature, criticism, day-to-day existence, as well as speaking engagements, appearances and lectures involving Blumenthal-Weiss. There are also press clippings and typed articles, three black and white photographs, as well as posters and programs related to Blumenthal-Weiss and her work.

The following names are mentioned in this collection: Arendt, Hannah, 1906-1975; Baeck, Leo, 1873-1956; Brod, Max, 1884-1968; Buber, Martin, 1878-1965; Celan, Paul; Hesse, Hermann, 1877-1962; Huder, Walther (Hasenclever), 1890-1940; Kolmar, Gertrud, 1894-1943?; Lasker-Schueler, Else, 1869-1945; Picard, Jacob, 1883-1967; Rilke, Rainer Maria, 1875-1926; Sachs, Nelly; Susman, Margarete, 1874-1966; Weltsch, Robert.

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The collection is divided into three series in the following manner:

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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

Select correspondence with Robert Weltsch is closed. Correspondence with Margarethe Susman requires permission. For more information, contact: Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011 email:

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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 Max Kreutzberger Collection, AR 7183; Franz Kobler Collection, AR 7184; Johanna Meyer-Lövinson, AR 299; Max Grünewald Collection, AR 7204; Robert Weltsch Collection, AR 7185; at the Leo Baeck Institute Archives contain materials pertaining to Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss.

More materials will be found with the Kurt Richard Grossman Papers, Hoover Institution Archives; Harry Zohn Papers, Houghton Library, Harvard University; Rilke, Rainer Maria Papers, Houghton Library, Harvard University, and with the Autograph File, B. Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Various published materials by Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss are held by the Leo Baeck Institute Library.

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Separated Material

Photographs removed to Photograph Collection. [AV Collection (Tapes)]: "Zeitgeschichte in Lebensgeschichten. Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss im Gespraech mit Bernd H. Stappert." Sueddeutscher Rundfunk, Suedwestfunk, Saarlaendischer Rundfunk, Aug 27, 1982, 5pm “Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss: Begegnungen mit Else Lasker, Nelly Sachs, Leo Baeck, Martin Buber,” a privately printed text of a 1976 Blumenthal-Weiss lecture was removed from the collection to the library. Originally folded, large posters were unfolded and moved to an oversized storage box for preservation purposes.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss Collection; AR 1020; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing Information

Originally grouped together, clippings, photographs, posters and programs, correspondence and writings were divided into distinct subject files. Writings were further divided into the following subject files: drafts, lectures, and manuscript (Paul Celan). Correspondence was arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Select photographs have been photocopied.

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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: Correspondence, 1935-1989

This series is in German and English.
0.25 linear feet.

Alphabetical by correspondent, within which each folder is arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content:

This series contains hand-written letters from Brod and Buber, photographs of Hesse as well as correspondence between Blumenthal-Weiss and Hesse discussing poetry, writing, day to day living and coping with life after the Holocaust. Personal and professional correspondences with Walter Huber discussing poetry, life, conferences, events and lectures are found within this series. There are original correspondences between Blumenthal-Weiss and Picard, photocopies of published correspondence with Rilke, and photocopies of correspondence with Sachs. Also included are select personal correspondences with Robert Weltsch regarding surviving Holocaust and life after the fact. The correspondence between Blumenthal-Weiss and Margarethe Susman is restricted and requires permission to access. Select correspondence between Blumenthal-Weiss and Robert Weltsch is closed.

11Brod, Max1963
12Buber, Martin1957
13Hesse, Hermann1946-1977, undated
14Huder, Walter1972-1984
16Picard, Jacob1958-1964
17Rilke, Rainer Maria1935
18Sachs, Nelly1965-1981
19Susman, Margarethe (Restricted)1947-1976, undated
110Weltsch, Robert1947-1981
111Weltsch, Robert (Closed)1966-1989
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Series II: Writings,  1959-1971

This series is in German and English.
0.25 linear feet.

Alphabetical by subject

Scope and Content:

This series contains drafts of two poems in German, one hand-written and the other typed with hand-written edits, in addition to a typed presentation in English from Blumenthal-Weiss’s modern German poetry reading at Washington and Lee University. Klara Caro’s summary (in German) of a speech given by Blumenthal-Weiss regarding Jewish women, specifically Golda Meir, Margarethe Susman and Rivka Guber is available in this series. The typed 1965 German lecture, “Erlebte Vergangenheit,” discussing German-Jewish history in regards to the activities and goals of the Leo Baeck Institute Archives can be found in this series; additionally there is a report written in German about the “Erlebte Vergangenheit” lecture tour throughout Germany. Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss: Begegnungen mit Else Lasker, Nelly Sachs, Leo Baeck, Martin Buber, a privately printed text of a 1976 Blumenthal-Weiss lecture was removed from the collection to the library. Also included are two copies (one in English, one in German) of a typed 1971 manuscript by Blumenthal-Weiss about the life and work of Paul Celan, both of which are hand-edited.

112Drafts1961, 1965
113Lectures1959, 1965, 1970
114Manuscript: Paul Celan1971
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Series III: Press and Photographs,  1945-1984

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

Alphabetical by subject

Scope and Content:

The clippings folder contains original and photocopied materials from newspapers and magazines featuring or mentioning Blumenthal-Weiss. There are three black and white photographs featuring Blumenthal-Weiss with inscriptions of the verso. The programs are related to Blumenthal-Weiss’s work, appearances or lectures. Posters were unfolded, flattened and moved to oversized storage as a preservation solution preventing further creasing and damage.

115Clippings1945, 1984, undated
116Photographs1963, 1968
117Programs and Promotion1968-1977
Box TitleDate
OSL 46 Posters1962-1973
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