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Schwarz and Rosenwald families papers

Document | Accession Number: 2017.167.1

The Schwarz and Rosenwald families papers consist of correspondence, immigration and identification documents, financial records, news clippings, photographs, printed materials, and other related materials, which primarily document the experiences of the family of Richard and Bertha (née Rosenwald) Schwarz, of Hannover, Germany, who fled that country in 1936 due to anti-Semitic persecution, and were able to do so with the assistance of the family of Julius Rosenwald, the co-founder of the Sears, Roebuck and Company, who were distant American relatives of theirs. The collection includes correspondence among family members, records of the financial assistance that the Schwarz family received from their American relatives; records documenting the efforts of Richard Schwarz to bring his brother, Alfred, who had been interned as an enemy alien in Australia, to the United States; news clippings about members of the American branch of the Rosenwald family; and pre-World War II era documents, including some from the 19th century, related to the history of the Schwarz and Rosenwald families in Germany. The collection is divided into several series, including groupings of Biographical documents (with separate series for the Schwarz and Rosenwald families), Correspondence, Immigration documents, Financial records, and Photographs.

The Biographical series is divided into two subseries for the Rosenwald and the Schwarz families. The first subseries, regarding the Rosenwalds, consists largely of newspaper clippings about the American branch of the Rosenwald family, including clippings from both German and American newspapers about Julius Rosenwald, ranging from his obituary as covered by German newspapers in 1932, to centennial commemorations in the American press in 1962. Also documented in these clippings are the family of Julius’ sister, Sophie Adler, and her husband, Max, as well as the families of some of Julius’s children, including Lessing Rosenwald and Edith Rosenwald Stern. In this series are also documents pertaining to Bertha Schwarz’s birth family, including a song composed for the wedding of her parents, Bendix and Emma Rosenwald, in 1894, an announcement about the establishment of her father’s business, and a printed eulogy for Bendix Rosenwald.

The Biographical subseries that covers the Schwarz family includes material about Richards’ parents, Samuel and Bertha (née Cussel) Schwarz; his siblings, Emmy, Alfred, Gustav, and Else (or Elsie); and himself and his wife Bertha (née Rosenwald). Such materials include documents related to the education of Richard Schwarz and Bertha Rosenwald, their wedding in 1919, and extensive documents related to Richard’s career as a teacher in Germany and the United States. Included in the latter group are documents related to Richard’s forced retirement from the public schools in Hannover in 1933 due to anti-Semitic regulations, his employment in the following years at a Jewish school in the same city, and his position at the Francis W. Parker School in Chicago, which he obtained with the help of the Rosenwald family in Chicago. Also of note are the documents related to Richard’s brother, Alfred, which document his internment as an enemy alien in Australia, and his employment after release from internment there, as well as his employment in the United States. Richard’s brother Gustav is also represented in this series, with documents related to his service in the German Army during the First World War.

The Correspondence series contains letters from various members of the Rosenwald and Schwarz families, arranged by correspondent. Notable groupings of correspondence include letters sent by Richard Schwarz to Bertha Rosenwald during their engagement in 1919, correspondence between Richard and Alfred from 1938 to 1944, when Richard was trying to help Alfred immigrate to the United States, including the period of Alfred’s internment in Australia; as well as correspondence to Richard and Bertha Schwarz from members of the American branch of the Rosenwald family who had assisted them financially, in particular Sophie Adler and her daughter, Rose “Buddie” (née Adler) Sperry.

The Immigration series consists primarily of affidavits and related correspondence with various relatives who Richard Schwarz was trying to help emigrate from Germany, between 1936 and 1940. Among those people were his brother, Alfred, who Richard eventually brought to Chicago in 1944. Additional files of documents related to the immigration of Richard and Bertha Schwarz and their daughters are included in this series as well.

The Financial series contains material that documents the financial assistance that the Schwarz family received from the American branch of the Rosenwald family, at the time of their immigration to the United States in 1936, and in the succeeding decades, as well as German pensions received by Richard and Bertha Schwarz, and restitution claims that Bertha Schwarz filed for family property that was confiscated by the Nazis. The correspondence in this series, filed by name, was between the Schwarz family and representatives of the various firms that disbursed funds from the Rosenwald family trust to the Schwarz family over the years, documenting how such contributions from the Rosenwalds supplemented their salaries, pensions, and restitution payments as necessary from 1936 through 1958. Remaining documents in this series relate to efforts to receive pension and restitution payments from German authorities. Among the efforts to receive restitution, Richard Schwarz initially pursued claims to recover his late brother Alfred’s property in Germany following the latter’s death in 1946. Most of Richard’s efforts though, were focused on obtaining pension funds that had been frozen after his emigration from Germany. Due to his forced retirement as a result of anti-Semitic laws in 1933, Richard initially received pension payments from the city of Hannover, which ceased at the time of his emigration. Following the war, he resumed efforts to obtain access to these funds, first by contacting occupation authorities, and then the city of Hannover. He was successful, and following his death in 1951, these benefits transferred to Bertha. Although Richard also began exploring how to receive compensation for the family’s lost property after the war, the bulk of the restitution documents date from the mid-1950s onward, when Bertha was encouraged, by Rosenwald family representatives, to file applications for restitution from the West German government.

The Photograph series contains primarily pre-war images of members of the Schwarz and Rosenwald families in Germany, but also contains a few later photographs, including those taken at a Rosenwald family reunion in 2006.

inclusive:  1834-2006
bulk:  1920-1960
4 boxes
1 oversize box
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Susan Pearl Stollman, Ruth Pearl, and David Sperling
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 18:15:09
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