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Arnold Lissance family papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2014.275.1

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    Arnold Lissance family papers

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    Typescript copy and translations of the memoirs of Moses Lissiansky (1872-1943), describing his life in pre-revolutionary and revolutionary Russia, originally written in Austria in the 1930s, as well as translations and summaries of correspondence that his son, Arnold Lissance, had received from his family in Austria after his own immigration to the United States in the 1930s. Also contains documents produced at the Nuremberg Trials and collected by Lissance during his time working as a translator at the trials, including materials related to the Ministries Trial (Case XI), as well as mimeographed texts of the war time diaries of General Franz Halder, which Lissance translated and edited, and extensive correspondence between Lissance and Halder, dating chiefly from 1949 until shortly before Halder's death in 1972.

    The Arnold Lissance family papers consists of correspondence related to the immigration of Lissance and his family from Austria to the United States, the incomplete memoir of Lissance’s father, Moses Lissiansky, recounting his life in pre-Revolutionary Russia, and documents collected by Lissance about the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, presumably while Lissance was on duty there with the United States Army, and related to his official duties. In addition, a later accretion to this collection includes material created and collected by Lissance while he supervised the translation and editing of the wartime diaries of General Franz Halder, including his correspondence with Halder and his family from 1949 to 1973.

    The “Correspondence” series consist of two series of notes originally filed in two separate binders: typewritten notes, with handwritten edits, and more extensive handwritten notes, from which the typewritten notes were excerpted. Both contain summaries of correspondence, apparently received by Lissance from his family in Vienna, dating from 1930 onward. Following the time after which Lissance’s family successfully immigrated, the notes simply described family events up to the point of the death of Moses Lissiansky in New York in 1943. These appear to have been compiled with a memoir in mind, but the original letters upon which these notes were based are not extant. The handwritten and typewritten notes covering the same years are filed together in this series. The summaries of the correspondence show that the letters often refer to events in the family’s life, as well as events in Austria at the time of these writings, including the effects of the economic depression of the early 1930s, which led Moses Lissiansky to liquidate his shoe-manufacturing business, the political instability that led to the assassination of Chancellor Dollfuss in 1934, the annexation of Austria by Germany in 1938 and the imposition of Nazi policies, and attempts of the Lissiansky family to emigrate, which they were ultimately able to do.

    The memoir of Moses Lissiansky, begun in 1935, consists of a more recent typescript copy, with notes indicating that he broke off writing this memoir in 1937, by which time he had covered the years from his birth until the Russian Revolution. In the memoir, he describes his family and childhood, his shoe-manufacturing business in Odessa and Kiev, his marriage in 1901, and the decision he and his wife made to move to Vienna in 1906, along with descriptions of the more general economic, political and social conditions in Russia during these periods, including anti-Semitism, the effect of the Russo-Japanese war on their business, and other events. The second increment to this collection of Lissance papers included the a portion of the initial manuscript draft of this memoir, upon which the typescript copies were based. This draft does not contain the text that is present in the first 78 pages of the typescript copy, but appears to contain all of the remaining text.

    The material from the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg includes several typescript chapters of “Die deutsche oberste Führung im Zweiten Weltkriege,” by German military historian Helmuth Greiner, who had been appointed in 1939 to keep the official daily diary of the German army’s supreme command (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht), a post he held until 1943. Captured by the Allies at the end of the war and held until 1946, this typescript fragment of Greiner’s work may have been written in captivity and prepared as evidence for the trials in Nuremberg, judging by the “Restricted” classification status of it. In the Lissance papers, only the introduction and four chapters exist, which describe the invasion of Poland, the invasion of Norway and other west European countries, the attack on the Balkans, and the planning for the invasion of the Soviet Union. Greiner, after his release, subsequently published Die oberste Wehrmachtführung, 1939-1943 (Wiesbaden: Limes Verlag, 1951), which this text may have been a precursor to.

    The remaining documents from the Nuremberg trials were prepared by the Office of the Chief Counsel of War Crimes, and consist of documents compiled or written by staff, with the purpose of being used as background information or evidence in the trials of various Nazi officials and German military leaders.

    A later increment of papers related to Lissance’s activities as the lead editor of the wartime diaries of General Franz Halder, including stenographic copies that were produced under Lissance’s supervision, as well as English translations with added footnotes, is also included in this collection. These transcripts were produced while Lissance was employed by the U.S. Army in Germany during the late 1940s, and were subsequently distributed through the Department of Defense, and subsequently published in this form in a version edited by Trevor Dupuy in 1976 (a German version was published between 1962-1964, and subsequent English versions have been as well). When the project was finished, however, Lissance and Halder remained in contact, during the period when Halder served as a historical advisor to the U. S. Army Historical Division, as well as in the years after that. This collection contains a group of correspondence dating from 1949 up to Halder’s death in 1972, in which the two men conveyed stories about their families and other personal news, but also in which Halder reflected on contemporary political events, including the emerging Cold War and the role of the Soviet Union in the post-war order. Also included are death announcements for Halder (1972) and for his wife, Gertrud, the following year.
    inclusive:  1894-1973
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Clifford Young
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Paul Cawein
    Collection Creator
    Arnold Lissance
    Arnold Lissance (1908-1994) was a native of Vienna, who immigrated to the United States in 1930, settling in New York. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, and following the war, served as a translator at the Nuremberg Trials, most notably acting as a translator for Franz Halder, chief of the Germany Army general staff, whose wartime diaries Lissance later translated and edited. Following his service in the army, Lissance settled in Washington, DC, working for the State Department from 1949 until his retirement in 1973.

    Physical Details

    English German
    5 boxes
    System of Arrangement
    The collection is arranged by type of material as follows: I. Correspondence, Lissiansky family, summaries, 1930-1943; II. Moses Lissiansky memoir 1897-1918, III. Helmuth Greiner typescript 1941, IV. Office of the Chief Counsel of War Crimes 1940-1948, V. Franz Halder diaries and correspondence 1939-1973.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Material(s) in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Clifford Young, gift, 2014; and Paul Cawein, gift, 2015.
    Funding Note
    The accessibility of this collection was made possible by the generous donors to our crowdfunded Save Their Stories campaign.
    Primary Number
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-25 09:51:01
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