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Joseph Tenenbaum papers

Document | Not Digitized | Accession Number: 1987.081 | RG Number: RG-21

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    The collection documents the career of urologist, author, and activist Joseph Tenenbaum, originally of Sasów, Poland. Included are biographical materials, correspondence, writings, subject files, photographs, and scrapbooks that document his medical career; his writings on medical topics, Judaism, and the Holocaust; his involvement in Jewish organizations such as the World Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and the Zionist Organization of America; and his work as the founder and chairman of the Joint Boycott Council of the American Jewish Congress (1933-1941), an organization that promoted the boycott of German materials in the United States in the years leading up to World War II.

    Series 1: Biographical material contains identification papers, diplomas, papers related to Tenenbaum’s medical career, and passports. There are also documents related to his death in 1961, which are primarily obituaries and tributes.

    Series 2: Correspondence contains Tenenbaum’s professional correspondence. Topics include the medical profession and his research, his publishing career, and his involvement with various advisory boards and Jewish organizations. His correspondence with his wife, Sheila Tenenbaum, from 1946 discusses his humanitarian trip to Poland. There is also related correspondence regarding his work with the Joint Boycott Council and other organizations in his scrapbooks organized in Series 6.

    Series 3: Writings contains Tenenbaum’s published articles and essays, manuscripts, speeches, and writings by others. There is a significant amount of material related to an unpublished manuscript he was working on at the time of his death in 1961. The manuscript was about rescue operations during the Holocaust, and was tentatively titled Condemned to Die but also referred to as Ruin and Rescue. There are multiple drafts, partial drafts and fragments, and chapters of the book. The chapters are organized based on the table of contents accompanying the complete manuscript from 1961. There are also research notebooks and correspondence of Sheila Tenenbaum regarding her efforts to get the manuscript published. Writings by others include Folk und Velt, Jewish Spectator, Yad Washem Bulletin, a 1954 issue of the Russian-language newspaper "Meta"; a 02 November 1967 special issue of "The Jerusalem post"; a 06 November 1958 issue of "The day-Jewish journal" (in Hebrew); and fragments of the 28 February 1965 issue of the "New York times magazine" concerning war crimes trials.

    Series 4: Subject files contains newsletters, pamphlets, conference materials, event invitations and other materials relevant to organizations Tenenbaum was involved in. Some material was acquired by his wife Sheila after his death.

    Series 5: Photographs contains a small amount of photographs of Tenenbaum. Photographs include portraits, Tenenbaum in his World War I uniform, and organization events.

    Series 6: Scrapbooks contains scrapbooks assembled by Tenenbaum. They are organized chronologically, and include clippings, correspondence, photographs, and event flyers and invitations.
    inclusive:  1908-1990
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Jeannette Tenenbaum
    Collection Creator
    Joseph L. Tenenbaum
    Joseph Leib Tenenbaum (1887-1961) was born on 22 May 1887 in Sasów, Poland, (now Sasiv, Ukraine). He had at least one brother, Samuel. During his years as a student, he became involved in the Hashahar student youth organization. He studied at the University of Vienna, graduating in 1911; and the University of Lviv, graduating in 1914 with a degree in medicine. He served as a military doctor with the rank of captain in the Austrian Army during World War I. in 1919, he was a delegate to the Paris Peace Conference.

    Joseph immigrated to New York in 1920 and practiced medicine as an urologist. He was active in numerous Jewish organizations, and was the founder and chairman of the Joint Boycott Council of the American Jewish Congress (1933-1941), an organization that promoted the boycott of German materials in the U.S. As president of the American and World Federation of Polish Jews, Tenenbaum visited Poland after the war to bring aid to Jewish survivors. He was also an active member of several other organizations including the World Jewish Congress, the Workmen’s Circle, and the Zionist Organization of America.

    Tenenbaum was also a prolific author. He authored numerous articles, essays, speeches, and books on medical topics, Jewish issues, and the Holocaust. Some of his books include The Riddle of Sex (1929), Races, Nations, and Jews (1934), Peace for Jews (1945), In Search of a Lost People (1948) and Race and Reich (1956). He had completed a manuscript on Jewish rescue operations during the Holocaust at the time of his death in 1961, but it was never published.

    He was married to Otilia Jon (also spelled John), and they had three sons, Edward (1921-1975), Bertrand, and Robert. Joseph later married Sheila Schwartz. His son Edward served in the United States Army, and was the first American officer to enter the Buchenwald concentration camp after liberation. He co-authored the Preliminary Buchenwald Report (1945) with Egon Fleck.

    Physical Details

    English Hebrew German
    13 boxes
    8 oversize boxes
    8 oversize folders
    System of Arrangement
    The Joseph Tenenbaum papers are arranged as six series. Series 1: Biographical material, 1908-1986; Series 2: Correspondence, 1922-1962; Series 3: Writings, 1930-1990; Series 4: Subject files, 1942-1986; Series 5: Photographs, circa 1914-circa 1950s; Series 6: Scrapbooks, 1927-1961

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    The Museum is in the process of determining the possible use restrictions that may apply to material(s) in this collection.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Personal Name
    Tenenbaum, Joseph, 1887-

    Administrative Notes

    The collection was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum by Sheila Tenenbaum in 1986, with an accretion in 1992.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-24 13:44:50
    This page:

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