Guide to the Papers of Hermann Marcus Selzer
(1909-2007) 1909-2000

AR 25045 / MF 799

Processed by Arthur Rath

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305

Email: http://www.lbi.org/ask

URL: http://www.lbi.org

© 2002 Leo Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Machine-readable finding aid created by Christian Otto in Inmagic DB/TextWorks, January 2002. Electronic finding aid converted to EAD 1.0 by Dianne Ritchey Oummia, January 2002. Description is in English.
December 2004: Converted to ead 2002. Revised as HMSelzer02.xml. Removed deprecated elements and attributes, updated repository codes, added language codes, changed doctype declaration, etc. July 2005: Minor addition to the description of the collection and correction of the encoding. December 2007: Biographical information updated. May 2008: Microfilm inventory added. March 2010: Removed "Oversized Materials" series. Edited Container List. 2010-06-09:  Encoding of linking to digital objects from finding aid was changed from <extref> to <dao> through dao_conv.xsl. File name changed to HermannMarcusSelzer.xml.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Selzer, Hermann Marcus (1909-2007)
Title: Hermann Marcus Selzer Collection
Dates: 1909-2005
Abstract: This collection documents the life of Hermann Marcus Selzer. Much of the material deals with that part of his life which was spent as a physician in Lahore, Pakistan and Germany, although there is also material regarding his time in Israel. It contains documents, correspondence, typewritten manuscripts, and photographs.
Languages: This collection is in English, German, Hebrew , Arabic, and Hindi.
Quantity: 9.25 feet (19 boxes; 5 oversized folders)
Accession number: AR 25045 / MF 799
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note

Hermann Marcus Selzer was born in Stryj (then Poland; now Stryi, Ukraine), in 1909 as the second of four children of Moshe Selzer and Deborah (née Spiegel). His father, an orthodox Jew, struggled to support the growing family. In 1914, the family moved to Oberhausen, an industrial town in the Ruhr valley. After finishing high school, Hermann enrolled at the medical school of the university of Cologne. In 1931, upon completion of his preparatory courses, he transferred to the medical academy in Duesseldorf to begin his clinical training. Shortly before his final exams in 1933, he was arrested and incarcerated by the Nazis. Upon his release, Hermann Selzer left for Italy where he met Kate, a former girlfriend, and married her in 1934. Both completed their internships in Rome. As the situation of foreign Jews in Italy began to deteriorate, the couple decided to immigrate to India, then still under British rule.

After brief stays in Palestine and Bombay, Kate and Hermann Selzer settled in Lahore, Pakistan, at that time an underdeveloped, small town, where their first child Hazel, also known as "Pipsi", was born. They opened a medical practice and soon established contacts among the English-speaking and high ranking civil servants. However in December 1940, the family was taken to an internment camp in Southern India as "enemy aliens" until June 1946, when they were able to return to Lahore. Their practice once again prospered thanks to their connections with leaders in politics, government, and the nobility. In addition, Hermann Selzer was an active Freemason and he was appointed the District Grand Master of the Pakistan Masonic lodge.

In 1971, Hermann Selzer decided to retire in Israel and the family left Lahore. For the next ten years, he worked part-time in various clinics of the student health service. Kate, his wife, suffered from Alzheimer's disease and died in 1986. Hermann Selzer died on November 25, 2007, in Jerusalem.

In the course of his life, Hermann Marcus Selzer has been a citizen of Poland, Germany, Pakistan and Israel, and, for five years, a person without citizenship. Although Yiddish and German were his native languages, he became more or less fluent in Italian, English, Urdu and Hebrew.

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Scope and Content

The collection consists of personal items and documents, correspondence, and manuscripts, produced and acquired in the course of Hermann M. Selzer’s life. In addition, the collection also contains a small amount of photographs.

The bulk of the materials consist of typewritten fictional and non-fictional manuscripts written by Hermann Selzer. Most of these manuscripts focus on life in Pakistan, but others deal with his reflections on his life, on religion, on the Arab-Israeli conflicts, and various other topics.

Correspondence is mainly family related, although there are also letters which deal with his medical practice, as well as letters to and from authorities in Germany and Israel.

This collection contains material in German, English, Hebrew, Hindi, and Arabic.

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Arrangement

This collection is arranged in five series:

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Readers may access the collection by visiting the Lillian Goldman Reading Room at the Center for Jewish History. We recommend reserving the collection in advance; please visit the LBI Online Catalog and click on the "Request" button.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:
Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY, 10011
email: lbaeck@lbi.cjh.org

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Microfilm

The collection is on thirteen reels of microfilm (MF 799):

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Papers of Hermann Marcus Selzer; AR 25045; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Container List

 

Series I: Documents, 1931-1983

Scope and Content:

This series consists of personal documents for Hermann and Kate Selzer. It includes birth certificates (translations and copies), passports, visas, school and university records of Kate and Hermann Selzer (Universities of Cologne and Berlin, Medical Academy of Duesseldorf); Awards of the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesverdienstkreuz) and the Salvation Army; various documents recording Hermann Selzer’s occupations, especially his membership and grades in masonry lodges, but also German insurance forms, documents on bank deposits, his wife’s cookbook. Also includes documents and correspondence of Hermann Selzer with German authorities, concerning his efforts to regain the German citizenship.

Box Folder Title Date
1a 0 Inventory
1a 1 Personal Documents Hermann, Kaethe Selzer; birth certificate, passports, marriage certificate
1a 2 Passports Hermann Selzer
1a 3 Passports Kaethe Selzer
1a 4 Naturalization documents, birth certificates, university studies 1931-1983
Box Folder Title Date
OS 78 Birth certificates [removed from 1a/5 to Oversized]
Box Folder Title Date
1a 6 School certificate, university courses, marriage registrations
Box Folder Title Date
OS 78 Diplomas [removed from 1a/7 to Oversized]
OS 78 Visas [removed from 1a/8 to Oversized]
OS 78 Freemasonry certificate [removed from 1a/9 to Oversized]
Box Folder Title Date
1a 10 Health and insurance
1a 11 Cookbook, recipes collected by Kate Selzer
1a 12 Miscellaneous documents (driver's license; employment record)
Box Folder Title Date
OS 78 Awards Hermann Selzer [removed from 1a/13 to Oversized]
Box Folder Title Date
1b 1 Scientific Publications Hermann Selzer (some duplicates) 1933-1937
1b 2 Honor thesis in medicine 1934-1935
1b 3 Kate Selzer-Neumann, Doctoral Dissertation (M.D.)
1b 4 Michael Selzer (son), legal battle about tenure, book award
1b 5 Golden Jubilee Certificate for Herman Selzer from the Freemason Emerald Isle Lodge No. XIX and related correspondence [missing] 2005
    Photocopy  
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Series II: Correspondence, 1941-1981

Scope and Content:

Correspondence contains both letters to and from family members, mainly in the U.S. (1941 – 1981), letters from patients at the Lahore surgery (1952-70), and letters to and from different authorities in Germany and Israel.

Box Folder Title Date
2 1 Samuel Wallach (cousin) U.S.A. 1941-1944
2 2 Samuel Wallach (cousin) U.S.A. 1945-1946
2 3 Samuel Wallach (cousin) U.S.A. 1947-1981
2 4 letters to Michael Selzer (son); from Michael Selzer 1971-1977
2 5 letters of complaint
2 6 letters from Hazel (Pipsi) Kahan (daughter) to parents
2 7 letters from patients in Lahore 1952-1961
2 8 letters from patients in Lahore 1961-1970
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Series III: Manuscripts, 1944-2000

Scope and Content:

This series contains typewritten manuscripts of essays (the most of them being nonfictional, but also fictional), containing reflections about Lahore/Pakistan where Hermann Selzer spent his professional life from 1937 to 1971, reflections on his life course, ranging from his childhood and young adult years in Europe trough his professional life in Pakistan to his settlement and retirement in Israel; on religion (mainly Jewry, but also Christianity and Indian religions), on freemasonry, on the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Israeli society, on Swiss banks; on his family and friends in Israel, the U.S. and elsewhere. They include a detailed and coherent account on his life course, his parents and grandparents.

Box Folder Title Date
3 1 Essays (5): The Swiss and I; A bargain, etc.
3 2 Essays (2): Thoughts and memories they recall; Were I a Palestinian
3 3 Essays (1): The Masonic secret
3 4 Essays (17): Happiness and unhappiness
3 5 Essays (1): The evil effects of drugs
3 6 Essays (5): I have been told
3 7 Essays (2): The Purim Festival
Box Folder Title Date
4 1 Essays (3): The accident and what followed, etc.
4 2 Essays (1): Short essay about the cultured, social and intellectual background of the 17th century in England
4 3 Satisfying my urge of reminiscing 1996
Box Folder Title Date
5 1 Essays and stories (4): A story from broigerland etc.
5 2 Essays and stories (3): Limitless, borderless ruminations etc.
5 3 Essays and stories (4): The story of Rosa etc.
5 4 Essays and stories: Man and his guilt; Jew and his destiny
5 5 Essays and stories: Sin and guilt; teshuva; Redemption in Jewish view 1984
5 6 Essays and stories: I built myself a house on stilts (Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other religions 1999
5 7 Essays and stories: Letters to Miranda (granddaughter): Adventures in the Old City; Dangerous situations in my life
Box Folder Title Date
6 1 The Sprinzak papers, pt.1 (p.1-99) 1988/1990
6 2 The Sprinzak papers, pt. 2 (p.100-198)
6 3 The Sprinzak papers, pt. 3 (p.199-297)
6 4 The Sprinzak papers, pt. 1 (duplicate)
6 5 The Sprinzak papers, pt. 2 (duplicate)
6 6 The Sprinzak papers, pt. 3 (duplicate)
6 7 The Story of a Prince: Introduction pt. 1 (p. 1-91)
6 8 The Story of a Prince, pt. 2 (p.92-200), chapter 1-11 Travelling abroad
6 9 The Story of a Prince, pt. 3 (p.201-301), chapter 12-21 Travelling abroad
6 10 The Story of a Princept. 4 (p 302-386), chapter 22-25 Travelling abroad; Epilogue
Box Folder Title Date
7 1 A man's fate, pt. 1 (chapter 1-6; p. 1-96) 1993/1994
7 2 A man's fate, pt. 2 (chapter 7-18; p. 97-197)
7 3 A man's fate, pt. 3 (chapter 19-29; p. 198-294)
7 4 A man's fate, pt. 4 (chapter 30-39 and epilogue p. 295-398)
7 5 A story, a tale, a narrative about God, your world ..., pt. 1 (p.1-99) 1984-1986
7 6 A story, a tale, a narrative about God, your world ..., pt. 2 (p. 100-199)
7 7 A story, a tale, a narrative about God, your world ..., pt. 3 (p. 200-289)
7 8 Essays
Box Folder Title Date
8 1 An optimist ponders about his people's survival, pt. 1 (pp.7-99)
8 2 An optimist ponders about his people's survival, pt. 2 (pp.100-205) ch. 1-6
8 3 An optimist ponders about his people's survival, pt. 3 (pp.206-309) ch. 7-13
8 4 An optimist ponders about his people's survival, pt. 4 (pp.310-400) ch.14-18
8 5 An optimist ponders about his people's survival, pt. 5 (pp.401-517) ch. 19-23
8 6 An optimist ponders about his people's survival, pt. 6 (pp.518-577) ch. 24 concl.
8 7 Stories I have been told to tell: Indian princes...
8 8 About diplomats and their deeds
8 9 Tales I have been told to tell: Memories, much ado about bribery
Box Folder Title Date
9 1 Essays and stories
9 2 Allow me once more to take the word (Politics and religion in Israel) 2000
9 3 The story of Sarah and Chaim
9 4 Blown hither and thither, a Jewish tale pt.1 (p.1-127) 1944
9 5 Blown hither and thither, a Jewish tale, pt.2 (p.128-229)
9 6 Blown hither and thither, a Jewish tale, pt.3 (p.230-358)
Box Folder Title Date
10 1 Reflecting and Reminiscing (114 p.) 1944/1945
10 2 Our Jewish heritage; Judaism and mystery religions
10 3 Our Jewish destiny; Life is an anthem; The Congregation of Har-El
10 4 Our Jewish destiny; The ingredients; Take some evil
10 5 Our Jewish destiny
10 6 Our Jewish destiny
10 7 Our Jewish destiny
10 8 Searching for...; Waiting for... 1982
10 9 Judaism and mystery religions 1980
10 10 Man and his guilt - Jew and his destiny 1984
Box Folder Title Date
11 1 Reflections, pt. 1 (p. 1-92) 1970
11 2 Reflections, pt. 2 (p.93-140)
11 3 Reflections, pt. 3 (p.134-182)
11 4 Essays: Mohammad Anwar Saadat; Saadat's game ...
11 5 Essays: Hunger ...
11 6 Essays: The meaning of death ...
11 7 Essays: The facts of Realpolitik; Knesseth ...
11 8 Essays: Evolving Zionism; My Zionism ...
11 9 Essays: The story of the peacock and the chicks
Box Folder Title Date
12 1 Reflections (pp.1-89) 1992/1993
12 2 Reflections (pp.90-191)
12 3 Reflections (pp.192-289)
12 4 Reflections (pp.290-400)
12 5 Reflections (pp.401-490): Resume and conclusions
12 6 Reflections (pp.491-557): Resume and conclusions
12 7 Last reflections, pt.1 Reflections born of a Jewish mind ( p.1-57)
12 8 Last reflections, pt. 2 Thoughts and worries about Israel (p.58-131)
12 9 Last reflections, pt. 3 Thoughts and worries about Israel (p.132-205)
Box Folder Title Date
13 1 Remembrances, Reflections I (p. 1- 73) Early years; family
13 2 Remembrances, Reflections I (p. 74-136) His family, his wife's family
13 3 Remembrances, Reflections I (p.137-210) University studies; incarceration
13 4 Remembrances, Reflections I (p.211-291) As refugee in Italy
13 5 Remembrances, Reflections I (p.292-341) Marriage, completion of studies
13 6 Remembrances, Reflections I (p.342-379) Palestine interlude
13 7 Remembrances, Reflections I (p.380-419) Journeying through India
13 8 Remembrances, Reflections I (p.420-506) Lahore a.c. (ante campum)
13 9 Remembrances, Reflections I (p.507-599) Kashmir
13 10 Remembrances, Reflections II (p.600-675) Lahore p.c. (post campum)
13 11 Remembrances, Reflections II (p.676-750) Lahore p.c. (post campum)
13 12 Remembrances, Reflections II (p.751-768) India: partition
13 13 Remembrances, Reflections II (p.769-834) Pakistan 1947-1971
Box Folder Title Date
14 1 Rememberances and Reflections (cont.) II (p. 835- 906) Pakistan 1947-1971
14 2 Rememberances and Reflections (cont.) II (p. 907- 974) Pakistan 1947-1971
14 3 Rememberances and Reflections (cont.) II (p. 975-1049) Pakistan 1947-1971
14 4 Rememberances and Reflections (cont.) II (p.1050-1158) Pakistan 1947-1971
14 5 My Life, pt.1: Childhood, adolescence, education (p. 1-60)
14 6 My Life, pt. 2: An Italian interlude (p. 61-134)
14 7 My Life, pt. 3: Into Asia (p.135-200)
14 8 My Life, pt. 3: India/Pakistan (p.201-288)
14 9 My Life, pt. 3: Pakistan (p.289-348)
14 10 My Life, pt. 3: Pakistan (p.349-439)
14 11 My Life, pt. 3: Pakistan (p.440-543)
14 12 My Life, pt. 4: Retirement in Israel (p.544-603)
14 13 My Life, pt. 4: Retirement in Israel (p.604-680)
Box Folder Title Date
15 1 Memoirs (primarily experiences in Pakistan)
15 2 My son Michael; retrospective...
15 3 Tirelessly the memory fountain continues to flow, 1- Introduction, 2- Relationships
15 4 Tirelessly the memory fountain continues to flow, 3- Religion, an excursus
15 5 Tirelessly the memory fountain continues to flow, 4- Doctors - Hospitals, 5- Neurology and psychiatry, 6- Unforgettable cases, 7- The legal fraternity and I
15 6 Tirelessly the memory fountain continues to flow, 8- Experiences with authorities, 9- About politics and politicians; 10- Something about Rotary and Freemasonry
15 7 Tirelessly the memory fountain continues to flow, 11- Come along! Walk with me through the gallery
15 8 Tirelessly the memory fountain continues to flow ,12- Afterwords about my family another excursus
15 9 Tirelessly the memory fountain continues to flow, 13- Some reflections on how I lived, 14- Concluding words, 15- And what about the future
15 10 Tirelessly the memory fountain continues to flow, 16- Table of contents
15 11 Tirelessly the memory fountain continues to flow, Photos (family and friends)
Box Folder Title Date
16 1 Freimaurische Reflektionen (reflections on Freemasonry), pt.1
16 2 Freimaurische Reflektionen (reflections on Freemasonry), pt.2
16 3 Freimaurische Reflektionen (reflections on Freemasonry), pt.3
16 4 Freimaurische Reflektionen (reflections on Freemasonry), pt.4
16 5 not used
16 6 Essays about Freemasonry (5): Die Freimaurerei u.der bewusste Jude etc.
16 7 Freemasonry (13 Essays)
16 8 Freemasonry (10 Essays)
16 9 The influence of the ambience on the compilation of the Masonic Ritual... 1983
16 10 Essays in German (3): 1) Gnosticism & Freemasonry; 2) What is Freemasonry; 3) Religion and Freemasonry
Box Folder Title Date
17 1 Maturing Years (copy); text, documents, photos. pt.I p. 1-88
17 2 Maturing Years (copy), pt.I p.89-179
17 3 Maturing Years (copy), pt II p. 180-225
17 4 Maturing Years (copy), pt.II p. 226-256
Box Folder Title Date
18 1 The story of a Prince, pt. I- Introduction (p. 2- 21), pt. II- Development, ch. 1-4 (p. 22-78)
18 2 The story of a Prince, pt. II- Development and Maturation, ch. 5-9 (p. 79-130)
18 3 The story of a Prince, pt. III- Travelling abroad, ch. 1-3 (p.131-176)
18 4 The story of a Prince, pt. IV- Along the borders of the unknown, ch. 1-6 (p. 177-248)
18 5 The story of a Prince, pt. V- The pilgrimage, ch. 1-5 (p. 249-322)
18 6 The story of a Prince, pt. V- The pilgrimage, ch. 6-12 (p. 323-401)
18 7 The story of a Prince, pt. V- The pilgrimage, ch. 13-25 (p. 402-499)
18 8 The story of a Prince, pt. V- The pilgrimage, ch. 25 (p. 500-557)
18 9 The story of a Prince, pt. VI- Mission completed, ch. 1-4 (p. 558-597), pt. VII- The next stage, ch. 1 (p. 598-627)
18 10 The story of a Prince, pt. VII- The next stage, ch. 2-3 (p. 628-726)
18 11 The story of a Prince, pt. VII- The next stage, ch. 4 (p. 727-776)
18 12 The story of a Prince, pt. VII- The next stage, ch. 5-7 (p. 777-852), pt. VIII Moshe Chaim's epilogue (p. 853-854)
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Series IV: Photos, undated

Scope and Content:

Contains photos of family members and friends.

Box Folder Title Date
18 13 Photos undated
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Series V: Miscellaneous, undated, 2007

Box Folder Title Date
18 14 Miscellaneous
18 15 Addenda: death announcement 2007
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