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Guide to the Papers of Joseph Bornstein (1899-1952),

AR 4082

Processed by Stanislav Pejša

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, NY 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305



© October 2004 Leo Baeck Institute at the Center for Jewish History. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Machine-readable finding aid was created by Stanislav Pejša in September 2004 as an EAD 2002 document. Description is in English.

Descriptive summary

Creator: Bornstein, Joseph (1899-1952)
Title: Joseph Bornstein Collection
Dates: 1917-1952
Abstract: Joseph Bornstein was one of the most accomplished journalists of Weimar Germany. His criticism of the political and social conditions in Germany in general, and of the practices of German justices in particular, made him a strong opponent of the right wing and populist parties long before the Nazis took power in Germany in 1933. Immediately after takeover, Joseph Bornstein left Germany and settled in France where he worked for various German exile newspapers. After the war broke out, he left France and managed to emigrate to the United States where he worked for the Office of War Information. After the Second World War he became a literary agent and writer of non-fiction books. The material in the Joseph Bornstein collection contains material from the post-war period of his life until his death in 1952. It consists of manuscripts, research notes, and professional and personal correspondence. An important part of this collection is material related to Joseph Roth that contains some of his notes, his poems, and correspondence with some of his friends and publishing houses.
Languages: The collection is in German, English, French, Italian, and Russian.
Quantity: 1.4 linear feet
Identification: AR 4082
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical note

Joseph Bornstein

Joseph Bornstein was born on October 18, 1899 in Kraków, Poland, at that time part of the Habsburg monarchy. His father was a Russian citizen. After his death the family moved to Berlin in 1905. Joseph Bornstein attended the Sophien-Gymnasium and later the universities in Berlin and in Vienna. After the First World War, Joseph Bornstein became stateless and in 1925 was granted German citizenship that was revoked after 1933. Around the year 1920 Joseph Bornstein joined the circle of young socialist enthusiasts gravitating around Paul Levi (1883-1930), a cofounder of the German Communist Party (KPD) who re-joined the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) after disagreement with their Communist leadership in 1922. In this intellectual milieu Joseph Bornstein met Leopold Schwarzschild (1891-1950), Stefan Großmann (1875-1935), and Valeriu Marcu (1899-1942).

Joseph Bornstein started his collaboration with Leopold Schwarzschild and Stefan Großmann's intellectual journal the Tagebuch in 1923 where he worked on cases of political and social injustice in interwar Germany. After editor-in-chief Carl von Ossietzky left the Tagebuch for the Weltbühne in 1927, Joseph Bornstein became an executive editor, since Leopold Schwarzschild formally kept the position of editor-in-chief. He led the newspaper until 1931 when he resigned from this post, but remained closely associated with the Tagebuch. Joseph Bornstein's reports and investigative work were highly prized and he was extolled as a Wunderkind of German journalism in an obituary in the Aufbau. He covered a story of the investigation and trial of the murders of German Communist leaders, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht Karl, the story of Sacco and Vanzetti, and others. Joseph Bornstein was a member of the Deutsche Liga für Menschenrechte (German League for Human Rights).

In 1933, Joseph Bornstein left Germany via Switzerland and settled in Paris, France where he continued his collaboration with Leopold Schwarzschild in Das Neue Tagebuch. Joseph Bornstein remained at the paper until 1938 and wrote under the pen name of Erich Andermann. Besides Das Neue Tagebuch, he also contributed to other periodicals of the German exile community in France, such as Montag Morgen and Pariser Tageszeitung. From January 1939 to February 1940 he was editor-in-chief of the Pariser Tageszeitung. It is likely that it was during this period that he met Joseph Roth, who also emigrated to Paris in 1933, and contributed to a number of German exile publications, including Das Neue Tagebuch and Die Pariser Tageszeitung.

After the war broke out Joseph Bornstein volunteered in the French army, but was interned in the camp Marolles, near Blois. In February 1940 he was mobilized in the French army, and was attached to the British Expeditionary Force in the 712th labour company. Joseph Bornstein was sent to Africa with this unit and later demobilized in September 1940. Shortly thereafter he was issued an emergency visitor visa by the consul of the United States in Algiers, Algeria. He arrived in the United States in March 1941 and settled in New York, N.Y..

In January 1942, Joseph Bornstein joined the US Office of War Information where he was Senior Script Editor at the German section of the International Press and Radio Program Division of the Overseas Branch. He also contributed to the broadcast of the Voice of America.

After the war he worked together with the widow of the poet Bruno Frank, Liesl (Elisabeth) Frank, in an agency that represented foreign authors on the American book market. Among their clients were two Nobel price winners - the German writer Hermann Hesse and the Italian novelist Alberto Moravia.

Joseph Bornstein married Jacqueline Lindner probably in 1944.

Joseph Bornstein continued his writing, including an analysis of the Nazi propaganda in Europe Action against the enemy's mind (1942), and after the war, The Politics of Murder in 1950. In the latter book he scrutinized political violence, murders, and assassinations in inter-war Europe and the Soviet Union. Great attention was paid to the case of the death of Leon Trotsky and Stalin's political practices. Joseph Bornstein worked on several other non-fiction projects that he left unfinished.

Joseph Bornstein died in New York on June 23, 1952. His wife Jacqueline Lindner committed suicide in October 1952.

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Scope and content note

This collection relates to the life and work of the German journalist and publicist, Joseph Bornstein, and the Austrian writer and journalist, Joseph Roth. While the material on Joseph Bornstein covers his life after his arrival in the United States until his death in 1952, Joseph Roth's documents go back to 1926 and then to the 1930s until Joseph Roth's death in 1939. The collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, several personal items, some newspaper clippings, and a few photographs.

The personal items of Joseph Bornstein relate to his immigration process and contain several affidavits filed on his behalf.

The correspondence of Joseph Bornstein consists mostly of letters from his friends in exile who tried to reestablish the severed contact after the Second World War. The series also contains Joseph Bornstein's letters to his wife.

The collection contains parts of manuscripts of Joseph Bornstein's book, Politics of Murder, and preparatory research notes for other non-fiction projects. The correspondence related to the publication of his works can also be found here.

Another substantial portion of this collection is related to Joseph Bornstein's work at a literary agency together with Liesl (Elisabeth) Frank. Their agency represented foreign authors, among them Hermann Hesse and Alberto Moravia, in the American literary market. This series consists of business correspondence with various publishing houses, literary agents, and also some manuscripts, possibly of the German publicist Valeriu Marcu.

Series V: Joseph Roth consists of material related to the work of Joseph Roth. It is not clear how and when this material appeared in Joseph Bornstein's possession, but it came together with his papers and supplements the Joseph Roth Collection also housed at the Leo Baeck Institute Archives. The series contains some personal documents of Joseph Roth, his hand-written notes, a collection of his poems, and his correspondence, both personal and business.

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The collection is arranged in five topical series.

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Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

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

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Related material

The Leo Baeck Archives possesses papers of several personalities with whom Joseph Bornstein collaborated, among others:
Hermann Kesten Collection (AR 968)
Joseph Roth Collection (AR1764)
Leopold Schwarzschild Collection (AR 7043)

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Separated material

No material was separated from the collection. Previously, the material related to Joseph Roth was made into a separate collection Joseph Roth-Joseph Bornstein, but these documents were returned to the Joseph Bornstein Collection in 2004.

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Preferred citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Joseph Bornstein Collection; AR 4082; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing note

The collection was inventoried and arranged by Ilse Turnheim in 1975, who compiled a preliminary inventory list. At that time a decision was made to keep the materials related to the writer Joseph Roth separate from the rest of Joseph Bornstein's material. This portion was named Joseph Roth - Joseph Bornstein Collection, AR 4152. During revision of the arrangement of the collection both collections were rejoined and the Joseph Roth material constitutes a series within the Joseph Bornstein Collection. The collection was rearranged according to contemporary standards of the archival description, the German titles of folders were translated, and where applicable the names were checked against the name authority file of the Library of Congress.

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Other finding aids

The previous inventory lists are filed in the first box of the collection.

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Container list


Series I: Personal, undated, 1941-1943.

This series is in German, English, and one document in French.
2 folders

Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Scope and Content:

This series contains a few items belonging to Joseph Bornstein; besides his portrait and several negatives, one can also find here documentation required for immigration into the United States. Besides forms there are also affidavits submitted on behalf of Joseph Bornstein and his correspondence with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service. Two of the affidavits were submitted by Joseph Bornstein's brother and sister who were granted citizenship in the United States earlier. The folder also contains a short biographical sketch of Joseph Bornstein.

Box Folder Title Date
1 1 Emigration 1941-1943
1 2 Photos undated
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Series II: Correspondence, 1941-1952.

This series is in German, English, and French.
0.1 linear feet; 17 folders

Arranged alphabetically by name.

Scope and Content:

This series contains correspondence that deals mostly with re-connecting with friends in exile. The friends informed Joseph Bornstein about their whereabouts during the Second World War and their after-war life and asked about their mutual friends, most frequently about Alfred Polgar, Valeriu Marcu, Thomas Mann, and Leopold Schwarzschild. It also includes eighteen letters Joseph Bornstein wrote to Jacqueline Lindner, later his wife, from his trip to Santa Monica, California.

Box Folder Title Date
1 3 Bussy, Jane Simone (Nice, France) 1949
1 4 Ciprut, Philippe (Paris, France) 1944
1 5 Frank, Liesl (Elisabeth) undated
1 6 Grave-Körber, Lili and Erich (?) (New York, N.Y.) 1942
1 7 Jacheles, Rolf and Heidi (Canada) 1951
1 8 Kesten, Hermann (Munich, Germany) 1949
1 9 Kluckhohn, Clyde (Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.) 1951
1 10 Levy, Oscar (Oxford, England) 1942-1945
1 11 Lindner, Jacqueline 1941, 1950
1 12 Lindner, Jacqueline – Other letters 1940, 1944
1 13 Polgar, Alfred , (Aigen, Austria; Munich, Germany, Ehrwald, Austria; Zürich, Switzerland) 1949-1952
1 14 Retzlaw, Karl (Frankfurt am Main, Germany) 1951
1 15 Rosenthal, Maud (Oxford, England) 1942-1949
1 16 Schwarzschild, Leopold (New York, N.Y.) 1949
1 17 Spann, Charles (New York, N.Y.) 1944
1 18 Stern, James (Amenia, N.Y., New York, N.Y.) 1949-1951
1 19 Unidentified undated, 1950-1951
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Series III: Writings, undated, 1945-1952.

This series is in English, German, and Italian.
0.3 linear feet; 22 folders

Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Scope and Content:

The majority of material pertains to Joseph Bornstein's book Politics of Murder. It contains several chapters and research material, as well as correspondence with publishers regarding this book. Other contracts and correspondence give away some of the intentions and plans of Joseph Bornstein that remained unfinished due to his early death. He continued to pursue his interest in investigating various cases of political violence before and after the Second World War. There are some research notes and correspondence regarding a project on the "Final Solution" and preparatory work on "Hidden Gold," a story about ten tons of gold that disappeared from the Reichsbank safe. The series also contains a short text about the Russian writer Boris Pil´niak (1894-1937), "The Story of the Unextinguished Moon." This text gives a fictional account based of the true story of Boris Pil´niak, whose novel on criminal doctors in the Soviet Union during Stalin's rule. Some parts of Joseph Bornstein's work were prepared for separate publication in magazines.

1) Politics of Murder 

Box Folder Title Date
1 20 Bibliographical notes undated
1 21 Book reviews 1951
1 22 Chi assassinato Trozki [Who assassinated Trotsky] - Poster undated
1 23 Contract 1949
1 24 Correspondence - Reactions 1948-1952
1 25 Correspondence - Reader's Digest 1948-1951
1 26 Correspondence - Research 1949
1 27 Correspondence - William Sloane Associates 1949-1952
1 28 Manuscript - Lenin's Death undated
1 29 Manuscript - Politics of Murder undated

2) Other works 

Box Folder Title Date
1 30 Biography of a Day - Contract 1951
1 31 Final Solution - Notes undated
1 32 Final Solution - Outline
1 33 Hidden Gold - Correspondence 1952
1 34 Hidden Gold - Notes 1952?
1 35 Hidden Gold - Outline 1952?
1 36 Research material - Adamic, Louis 1951
1 37 Research material - Federici, Federico - Book reviews 1946
1 38 Research material - Queen Nitocris undated
1 39 Research material - Tresca, Carlo 1945, 1950
1 40 Research material - Wall Street Explosion, 1920 undated
1 41 "The Story of the Unextinguished Moon" undated
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Series IV: Professional, 1926, 1945-1952.

This subseries is in German, English, French, and Italian.
0.5 linear feet; 35 folders

Arranged by topic.

Scope and Content:

This series contains letters that relate to Joseph Bornstein's work at the literary agency with Liesl (Elisabeth) Frank. This agency represented foreign authors, among them Hermann Hesse and Alberto Moravia, in the American literary market, and tried to place American authors with European publishers, as well. The manuscripts and some correspondence also suggest that Joseph Bornstein tried to offer political works of Valeriu Marcu to American publishers. Most of the correspondence is addressed to Liesl Frank.

Subseries 1: Hesse, Hermann,  undated, 1946-1948.

This subseries is in German and English.
0.2 linear feet; 16 folders

Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Scope and Content:

The material in this series relates to the activities of the literary agency to find a publisher for some of the works of Hermann Hesse. It contain letters to Walter Meier, who handled the foreign rights for Hermann Hesse's works while Hermann Hesse was hospitalized, including the offer for option, beginning of the collaboration, and conditions under which Joseph Bornstein and Liesl Frank ought to represent Hermann Hesse. Some of Hermann Hesse's works were already represented by other agencies in the United States and the United Kingdom. Correspondence with the lawyers of Hermann Hesse and with other agencies, namely the European-American Literary Agency and Rochefort Productions, which further clarified the terms of representation regarding the works of Hermann Hesse. Contracts and reviews of Hermann Hesse's books published in the United States, as well as shorter pieces by Hermann Hesse can also be found in this subseries. There are also some letters that document the interest of Paramount Pictures to adapt Steppenwolf into a movie, but they dropped the idea in the end.

Box Folder Title Date
1 42 Biography of Hermann Hesse undated
1 43 Book reviews 1946-1948
1 44 Contracts
1 45 Correspondence - General November 1946-December 1947
1 46 Correspondence - Anthologies and textbooks 1947-1948
1 47 Correspondence - Demian 1947-1948
1 48 Correspondence - Demian - Introduction by Thomas Mann 1946-1947
1 49 Correspondence - European-American Literary Agency (Chicago, Ill.) August 1946- April 1947
1 50 Correspondence - Foreign rights - Meier, Walter 1946-1947
1 51 Correspondence - Foreign rights - Hesse, Ninon 1947-1948
1 52 Correspondence - Fretz and Wasmuth Verlag (Zürich, Switzerland)
1 53 Correspondence - Glasperlenspiel 1947-1948
1 54 Correspondence - Rochefort Productions (London, England) November 1946-March 1947
1 55 Correspondence - Steppenwolf 1946-1947
1 56 List of Hermann Hesse's works undated
1 57 Short texts by Hermann Hesse 1947

Subseries 2: Moravia, Alberto,  1945-1952.

This subseries is in German, English, French, and Italian.
0.2 linear feet; 10 folders
Scope and Content:

The bulk of this subseries is the correspondence with publishers placing Alberto Moravia's books or answering questions regarding the rights. The subseries contains contracts, clarification of conditions and rights, as well as some publicity and book reviews of Alberto Moravia's books. Among the books that Liesl (Elisabeth) Frank and Joseph Bornstein represented in the United States were La Romana (Woman of Rome); Mascerata (The Fancy Dress); La Disubbidienza (Disobedience), and Agostino.

Box Folder Title Date
1 58 Book reviews and publicity 1945-1951
1 59 Contracts 1947-1951
1 60 Correspondence 1946
1 61 Correspondence 1947
1 62 Correspondence 1948
1 63 Correspondence 1949
1 64 Correspondence 1950
1 65 Correspondence 1951
1 66 Correspondence 1952
1 67 List of publications undated

Subseries 3: Other,  undated.

This subseries is in German and English.
0.1 linear feet; 9 folders

Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Scope and Content:

This subseries consists of correspondence with publishers regarding other authors, among them writings of Valeriu Marcu, Gideon Scharlach, and Gerhard Haug in the United States. Several manuscripts are anonymous, but three of them were attributed to Valeriu Marcu.

A) Correspondence

Box Folder Title Date
1 68 American Book Company 1948
1 69 Beno Schwabe Verlag (Basel, Switzerland) 1947
1 70 Scharlach, Gideon 1946-1947
1 71 Sie und Er (Zürich, Switzerland) 1947

B) Manuscripts

Box Folder Title Date
1 72 Marcu, Valeriu (?): Glanz und Elend des Sozialismus undated
1 73 Marcu, Valeriu (?): Orient und Okzident undated
1 74 Marcu, Valeriu (?): What's War undated
1 75 ?: Letzte Schlacht undated
1 76 ?: Satan in Massachusetts undated
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Series V: Joseph Roth, 1917-1939.

The series is predominantly in German. Documents are also in French and Russian.
0.5 linear feet

Arranged by topic.

Scope and Content:

This series consists of material related to Joseph Roth. It contains a few of his personal documents, some handwritten notes, and a collection of his poems. The biggest part of this collection is Joseph Roth's correspondence, both personal and business. A clear division, however, could not be made, since Joseph Roth discussed business issues with his friends and many of his friends worked as editors or literary agents. There are over four hundred letters in this series spanning the years 1926-1939, with the exception of the family correspondence that reaches back till 1917. In these letters Joseph Roth discussed a broad scale of topics from politics and religion to the Jewish question.

Subseries 1: Personal,  undated, 1926-1939.

This subseries is in German, French, and one document in Russian.
8 folders

Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Scope and Content:

This subseries contains several personal items belonging to Joseph Roth and his wife Friederike (Friedl) Roth. Along with some of his membership cards, there are also various hotel receipts in this series, a business card of Friederike Roth, and copies of pictures from Siberia.

Box Folder Title Date
1 77 Accreditation letter for Joseph Roth as a reporter of the Frankfurter Zeitung in the Soviet Union 1926
1 78 Business card - Friederike (Friedl) Roth undated
1 79 Images from Siberia - Photocopies undated
1 80 List of Joseph Roth's works undated
1 81 Medical prescription 1936
1 82 Receipts - Hotels 1937, 1939
1 83 Schutzverband deutscher Schriftsteller [Guild of the German Writers] - Membership card
1 84 Taxes - Rosenmeyer - Correspondence 1926

Subseries 2: Handwritten notes,  undated, 1927, 1937.

This subseries is in German and a document in Russian.
7 folders
Scope and Content:

This subseries contains circa one hundred and thirty loose pages (usually notebook pages) with various notes, observations, reminders, and addresses, often related to Joseph Roth's trips. There are notes from various German cities, some French, and a large number of notebook pages from his trip to Russia. Several pages contain research notes.

Box Folder Title Date
1 85 Diary - Loose pages August 1927
1 86 Diary - Loose pages October-November 1927?
1 87 Furor teutonicus - Article undated
1 88 Travel notes - Germany undated
1 89 Travel notes - France - Grenoble 1927
1 90 Travel Notes - Russia 1927
1 91 Various - Loose pages undated, 1937

Subseries 3: Poems,  undated, 1917?.

This subseries is in German.
1 folder

The poems in the folder are separated into four portions and are in order alphabetically.

Scope and Content:

This subseries consists of seventy-eight poems written by Joseph Roth, divided into four portions and within which they are arranged alphabetically. There is no reason for this division given nor is one discernible. Some of them were written during Joseph Roth's military service. The poems were in a dossier that was labeled Własność Pauli Grüber 1917 and Eigentum von Paula Grüber 1939 [Property of Paula Grüber].

Box Folder Title Date
1 92 Poems 1917?

Subseries 4: Correspondence,  1917-1939.

This subseries is in German and English.
0.4 linear feet; 11 folders

Arranged alphabetical by the last name of the addressee.

Scope and Content:

This subseries contains both business and personal correspondence. The personal letters were often reactions and comments of readers on Joseph Roth's articles. There are usually not more then one or two letters from one correspondent. A majority of the letters comment on the articles published in the German-language exile publications, such as Das Neue Tagebuch. One can find here several letters and cards from members of Joseph Roth's family, including his step-parents, his uncle Norbert Grübel and his cousin Paula Grübel. Other individuals whose letters can be found here include Isaac Babel, Lion Feuchtwanger, Victor Gollancz, Egon Erwin Kisch, Thomas Mann, Carl von Ossietzky, Max Picard, Alfred Polgar, Max Reinhardt, and others.

The business correspondence holds letters with various literary agents, editors of various European publishing houses and pertains to the rights to Joseph Roth's books, royalties, contracts, and various negotiations. Most of the correspondents are represented by a single letter or by only a few letters, except the publishing houses Allert de Lange N.V. (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), Oprecht Verlag (Zürich, Switzerland), Em. Querido's Uitgeverij (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), Uitgeverij De Gemeenschap (Bilthoven, the Netherlands). Their correspondence with Joseph Roth contains ten letters.

A) Personal

Box Folder Title Date
2 1 Correspondence A-B undated, 1927-1938
2 2 Correspondence C-G undated, 1917-1939
2 3 Correspondence H-L undated, 1926-1939
2 4 Correspondence M-R undated, 1926-1939
2 5 Correspondence S-Z undated, 1927-1939
2 6 Unidentified undated, 1927-1937

B) Professional

Box Folder Title Date
2 7 Correspondence A-F 1926-1939
2 8 Correspondence G-J 1926-1938
2 9 Correspondence K-N 1927-1939
2 10 Correspondence O-R 1927-1938
2 11 Correspondence S-Z 1927-1938
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