Guide to the Erich Muehsam (1878-1934) Collection
Undated, 1896-1977

AR 1806

Processed by Kevin Schlottmann

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

© 2011 Leo Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Kevin Schlottmann in June 2011. Description is in English.
September 23, 2014  Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Muehsam, Hans
Creator: Landau, Leo
Title: Erich Muehsam (1878-1934) Collection
Dates:undated, 1896-1977
Abstract: This collection documents the life of anarchist writer Erich Muehsam and his wife Kreszentia (Zenzl) Muehsam. It consists primarily of correspondence from Erich and Zenzl to family and friends, as well as some correspondence between others about them. The collection also contains a small selection of Muehsam's writings and poems, including some typescripts, a few personal items, photographs, and printed materials about Muehsam such as newspaper articles and exhibition catalogs.
Languages: This collection is in German, with a small amount of French, English, and Hebrew.
Quantity: 0.5 linear feet
Identification: AR 1806
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note
Portrait of Erich Muehsam (1878-1934)

Portrait of Erich Muehsam (1878-1934)

Erich Muehsam was born in Berlin on April 6, 1878. While his brother Hans became a physician and his sister Charlotte married Leo Landau, a lawyer, Erich chose a different path and became an anarchist author, poet, and publisher. He was imprisoned from 1917-1918 for refusing military service, and from 1919-1924 for his role in the short-lived Bavarian Soviet Republic.

Muehsam published many anarchist books, plays, and periodicals. He was also successful as a writer and performer in cabarets. An early critic of the Nazi regime, in 1934 he was arrested and sent to the Oranienburg concentration camp, where he was murdered on July 10, 1934. After the death of her husband, Kreszentia (Zenzl) Muehsam fled first to Prague and later to Moscow, on the invitation of the Internationale Rote Hilfe (International Red Aid). Imprisoned in 1938, she was eventually sent to Siberia and released in 1955. She then settled in East Berlin, where she died in 1962.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection documents the life of anarchist writer Erich Muehsam and his wife Kreszentia (Zenzl) Muehsam. It consists primarily of correspondence: from Erich to family and friends (including from prison); from Zenzl to family and friends; and between others about Erich and Zenzl. Topics include politics, society, war, and literature; Erich's writing specifically; the circumstances of his death in Oranienburg; Zenzl's emigration to Russia, with the help of Internationale Rote Hilfe (International Red Aid); and her subsequent imprisonment in Siberia.

Family correspondents include Siegfried Muehsam, Charlotte Muehsam-Landau, Leo Landau, and Hans Landau. Other correspondents include R. Cohn, Harold J. Bing, Minjam Michaelis, Erich Drucker, K. F. Ertel, Elly Kruger, Walter Kruger, Paul Kruger, Charles Hochhaeuser-Armony, Ruth Oesterreich, Helene Stassowa of the Internationale Rote Hilfe, Sophie Zinkiewicz, Mally Findling, Sepp and Maria Meier, Siegfriend Elfinger, and Lotte Rautenberg.

The collection also contains a small selection of Muehsam's writings and poems, including a typescript of his short prose piece about Ascona, Switzerland; a few personal items, including an identification card; photographs; and printed materials about Muehsam such as newspaper articles and exhibition catalogs.

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Arrangement

The collection follows the original archival arrangement, which is reflected in the accurate item-level inventory found in folder 1. Addenda were placed in appropriate intellectual locations and noted as such.

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

The first addendum, designated section IX in the original inventory found in folder 1, was marked in 1977 as restricted until the deaths of Gad Landau, Yochanan (Hans) Landau, and Eva Joel. Folders 9, 13, and 15 are thus restricted. The remainder of the collection is open to researchers.

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

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Access Points

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Related Material

LBI holds an archival collection relating to Muehsam's father Siegfried Seligmann Muehsam (AR 7112), a memoir by his sister Charlotte Landau-Muehsam (ME 381), and an essay by Lawrence Baron, Erich Muehsam’s Jewish Identity (MS 11). In addition, the LBI Library holds many of Muehsam's published books and periodicals.

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Separated Material

The pocket knife, scissors, and cigar cutter in Muehsam's possession when he was imprisoned in the Oranienberg concentration camp (where he was later murdered) were removed to the LBI Arts and Objects collection.

Most photographs were removed to the LBI Photograph collection. Some have been digitized.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Erich Muehsam Collection; AR 1806; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing Information

In June 2011, envelopes were removed, and materials were refoldered and placed in inventory order. The original inventory in folder 1 was examined and found to be accurate for the original archival collection and the first addendum. One item, II/7, is missing. Additional addenda were placed in appropriate intellectual locations and noted as such.

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Other Finding Aid

An item-level inventory (in German) for the original archival collection and the first addendum is found in folder 1.

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Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Follow the links to access the digitized materials.

 

Erich Muehsam Collection, undated, 1896-1977

BoxFolderTitleDate
11Inventory and correspondence List1976-1977
  

In German

 
12I. PersonalUndated, 1933-1964
  

Pocket knife, scissors, and cigar cutter removed to LBI AO

Includes photographs

 
13I. Personal – Addendum1896
14II. WritingsUndated, 1902-1929
  

Newspaper clippings fragile

 
15III. Correspondence, Erich Muehsam1905-1924
16III. Correspondence, Erich Muehsam – Addendum1910-1932
17III. Correspondence, Erich Muehsam – Addendum1916
  

Photocopy provided by Ernst Hamburger

 
18IV. Correspondence, Zenzl Muehsam1919-1957
BoxFolderTitleDate
19 IV. Correspondence, Zenzl Muehsam – Addendum - RESTRICTED 1930-1958
  

RESTRICTED

 
BoxFolderTitleDate
110V. Newspaper Clippings1934-1968
111VI. Letters concerning Erich Muehsam1933-1952
BoxFolderTitleDate
112 VI. Letters concerning Erich Muehsam – Addendum - RESTRICTED 1934-1952
  

RESTRICTED

 
BoxFolderTitleDate
113VII. Letters concerning Zenzl Muehsam1936-1964
BoxFolderTitleDate
114VII. Letters concerning Zenzl Muehsam – Addendum - RESTRICTED 1939-1963
  

RESTRICTED

 
BoxFolderTitleDate
115VIII. VariaUndated, 1926-1942
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