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Rare books, periodicals and a wealth of records from the Leo Baeck Institute

Leo Baeck Institute, New York | Berlin is a library and archive in the Center for Jewish History in New York that houses a repository of source material on the history of German-speaking Jews. LBI has contributed nearly 8,000 records to Europeana, including a selection of rare books, art and illustrated books, and periodicals as well as thousands of archival collections that contain manuscripts, correspondence, and records of all kinds.

The Trial by Franz Kafka book cover
The Trial by Franz Kafka, jacket design and illustrations by George Salter, published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1937.

Book designs by George Salter
One unique collection digitized by LBI is a library of about 300 books designed by George Salter, whose innovative work for publishers during the Weimar Republic produced signature pieces for some of the important literary works of the 20th century. So great was Salter’s international reputation that when he immigrated to New York in 1934, he was immediately able to begin work for American publishers, and change the face of American book design as well.

Photo of a sample of periodicals

German-Jewish Periodicals
Among the rare periodicals digitized by Leo Baeck Institute and now searchable through Europeana are 20th century congregational bulletins from various Jewish communities in Germany, Austria, and other German-speaking areas. Other highlights include the newsletters of German-Jewish organizations such as Zionist, youth, and sports clubs and an extensive collection of periodicals published in the 1930s and 1940s by German Jews in exile from Shanghai to New York. Perhaps the most significant among these is Aufbau, the weekly German-language paper published by the Jewish refugee community in New York between 1934 and 2004.

photo of a register

Berlin Jewish Community, Register of names, births, marriages and deaths, 1751 – 1813
The Jacob Jacobson collection contains a wealth of community and civil records from Berlin’s Jewish community dating to the 18th century, which makes it very valuable to researchers and especially genealogists.

photo of a Poesie notebook

A ‘Poesie’ book from the Leo Baeck Institute archives, 1880s.
‘Poesie’ books were small notebooks in which friends and family members would write poems, dedications, and inscriptions. Often those signing the book would create small artworks. They were particularly popular items among female students. The Leo Baeck Institute has Poesie albums from the late 18th century. These books were often signed to mark certain occasions, such as graduation, moving to another city or, in the Nazi time, as a momento of friends and family staying behind when the owner was emigrating.

Editor: Lena Stanley-Clamp, European Association for Jewish Culture, London
with contributions from the AthenaPlus project; Center for Jewish-Moroccan Culture, Brussels; Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw;
JDC Archives, New York; YIVO Institute, NY; Leo Baeck Institute, NY. | Contact us | Subscribe to Judaica Europeana Newsletter
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