Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Hirsch family memoirs

Document | Accession Number: 2020.20.1

The collection contains two unpublished memoirs of Elisabeth Archenhold [donors' maternal great aunt] and Max Hirsch [donors' maternal great grandfather] that capture their families’ experiences before, during, and after the Holocaust in Germany.
The memoir written by Max Hirsch in 1939 was translated from German by Arthur Hirsch, Max’s son, and later Geoffrey Fuchs. It chronicles the history of his father’s leather tanning business, includes a timeline of family events, and relays Hirsch’s time as a prisoner in Dachau. He describes the history of Lederwerke Sigmund Hirsch, which was founded in 1868 originally as a small workshop in Weinheim, Germany by Sigmund Hirsch (1845-1908). It grew to become one of the leading German tanneries. After Sigmund died in 1908, the business was succeeded by his sons, Max and Julius (1874-1955). Julius and Max’s sons, Fritz and Arthur, respectively, were slated to become the prospective successor and future tanner. The memoir recounts historic moments as they related to and affected the business, including the Revolutionary Workers Organization strike in November 1932, the boycott of all Jewish businesses in Germany, and the implementation of the Nuremberg Laws. There is also a summary of the Hirsch family members’ various immigration to other countries such as Holland, Switzerland, and the U.S. shortly following the business’s sale to Walther Freudenberg when Max and Julius’s assets were seized by Deutsche Bank in Mannheim.
A photocopy of Elisabeth Archenhold’s typewritten memoir, comprised of 88 pages, includes an appendix and was split into parts. It appears to have been relayed conversationally in 1999 when she was in her early 90s. The memoir captures Elisabeth’s family history as well as her family’s connection with the Hirsch family. It also speaks to her time spent living in England from 1930 until 1939. There is also information about her father receiving restitution and her family members’ various immigration to other countries out of Germany.

approximately 1939
approximately 1999
2 folders
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum collection, gift of Jacob, Roger and Thomas Fillion
Record last modified: 2023-02-24 14:39:48
This page: