Guide to the Papers of Joseph Löwenherz (1884-1960),

AR 25055 / MF 546

Processed by Renate Evers

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305



© 2002 Leo Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Machine-readable finding aid was created by Renate Evers as Inmagic DB/TextWorks. November 2001. Electronic finding aid was converted to EAD 1.0 by Tanya Elder. May 2002. Description is in English.
September 2004. Converted to ead 2002. Revised as JLoewenherz02.xml by Dianne Ritchey Oummia. Removed deprecated elements and attributes, updated repository codes, added language codes, changed doctype declaration, etc. March 2005. Access points added by Dianne Ritchey Oummia. January 2006. Entities removed from EAD finding aid. December 2008. Microfilm call number added. External links added. March 27, 2012  Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Löwenherz, Joseph (1884-1960)
Title: Joseph Loewenherz Collection
Abstract: The collection documents Joseph Löwenherz's activities as the head of Jewish community in Vienna, Austria and his interactions with the and in Vienna. It contains copies of the memos and other reports Joseph Löwenherz had to submit to the and the , which were used as evidence in Adolf Eichmann's trial. Also included are documents and correspondence related to the Eichmann trial as well as correspondence between Löwenherz and his son written between 1939 and 1941 during his travels to several European cities, where he attended meetings concerning the mass repatriation of Jewish citizens out of Europe.
Languages: This collection is in German.
Quantity: 0.25 linear feet
Identification: AR 25055
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note

Joseph Löwenherz was born in 1884 as the son of a noted Jewish family in Galicia. During his years of study at the university of Lemberg (then Galicia; now L'viv, Ukraine) he belonged to the Zionist student fraternity and was later active in Zionist organizations in Galicia. He was a delegate to the 10th through the 15th Zionist Congresses. After the First World War he worked as a lawyer in Vienna. From 1924 to 1937 he served as the vice president of the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde (Jewish community) in Vienna. In 1937 Joseph Löwenherz was elected director general and first secretary of the Kultusgemeinde. In this position, he had to interact with both to the Zentralstelle für Jüdische Auswanderung (Central Office for Jewish Emigration) and the Gestapo Hauptamt (Gestapo Headquarters) in Vienna.

With official German authorization, Joseph Löwenherz visited Lisbon (apparently in 1940 or 1941) to meet with representatives of the World Jewish Congress, including Dr. Parlas, secretary to Chaim Weizmann, and financial affairs director Tropper. Joseph Löwenherz tried to negotiate an agreement for mass emigration of Jews from German-controlled Europe.

In May 1945, Joseph Löwenherz was arrested by the Red Army on charges of collaboration with the National Socialist Party and deported to Czechoslovakia where he was kept for 3 months. Joseph Löwenherz presented himself to an honor court in London in 1946, which cleared him of all charges of collaboration. He immigrated with his wife Sofie (née Schoenfeld) to the United States via Switzerland and Great Britain in 1945. He died in 1960.

Joseph Löwenherz's son Siegmund changed his last name to Levarie, the literal Hebrew translation of Löwenherz. He became a music teacher and historian.

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Scope and Content Note

The collection documents Joseph Löwenherz's activities as the head of the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien and his interactions with the Zentralstelle für Jüdische Auswanderung and the Gestapo Hauptamt in Vienna.

The collection is divided into four series, the first two series dealing specifically with the carbon copies of memos (Aktennotizen) of meetings between the Zentralstelle, the Gestapo, and the Kultusgemeinde. Joseph Löwenherz submitted the original memos to Adolf Eichmann's office and kept carbon copies for the Kultusgemeinde. These copies helped to convict Adolf Eichmann when he was brought to trial in Israel in 1961.

Series I contains the carbon copies of the memos while Series II contains an activity report by Joseph Löwenherz elaborating on meetings held from September 1939-August 1940.

Series III contains correspondence between Joseph Löwenherz and his son Siegmund. The correspondence was written between 1939 and 1941 when Joseph Löwenherz attended meetings in several European cities concerning the mass repatriation of Jewish citizens out of Europe. Also included are post-war items including correspondence and documents relating to the Adolf Eichmann trial of 1961, including a draft set of answers from Joseph Löwenherz concerning Adolf Eichmann.

Series IV consists of correspondence written from Sofie Löwenherz to her son Siegmund and other relatives from 1939 to 1941 and a letter from May 1945 to her husband, who was arrested by the Red Army that month.

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The collection is arranged into four series:

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

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

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

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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


Collection is microfilmed (MF 546).

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Joseph Loewenherz Collection; AR 25055; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Container List


Series I: Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien: Memos (Aktennotizen), 1938-1945

Scope and Content:

Series I contains the carbon copies of the memos documenting the meetings between Joseph Löwenherz and the Zentralstelle für Jüdische Auswanderung. The original memos were sent to Adolf Eichmann's office while carbon copies of the memos were kept by the Kultusgemeinde. Some of the memoranda were used as evidence against Adolf Eichmann during his trial in 1961.

11Memos (Aktennotizen)1938
12Memos (Aktennotizen)1939
13Memos (Aktennotizen)1940
14Memos (Aktennotizen)1941-1945
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Series II: Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien: Other Documents, 1939-1940

Scope and Content:

Series II consists of a report by Joseph Löwenherz based on the memoranda (Aktennotizen) kept between September 1939 and August 1940. In this synopsis, Joseph Löwenherz provides a detailed portrait of his interactions and contacts with the Zentralstelle. It covers the time Adolf Eichmann was in Vienna up to the outbreak of the war.

15Brochure: Activity during twelve months of war1939 Sept. 1-1940 Aug. 31
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Series III: Joseph Löwenherz, 1939-1960

Scope and Content:

Series III contains correspondence from Joseph Löwenherz to his son Siegmund at the University of Chicago (Department of Music). Joseph Löwenherz tried to obtain help for the repatriation of European Jews from international organizations and wrote these letters during his time in Paris, Lisbon and Budapest while meeting with members of the World Jewish Congress. The series also includes personal correspondence, drafts, reports and clippings, many of them related to Adolf Eichmann's trail in 1961, such as a draft of answers prepared by Joseph Löwenherz for the trial pior to his death in 1960.

Of special interest is a carbon copy of a report written by Franz Rudolf Bienenfeld for the International Military Tribunal (IMT) at Nuremberg. It is based on correspondence found within this collection and was written to determine Joseph Löwenherz's activities of during the war.

16Personal Correspondence1939-1941
17Personal correspondence and documents[1942-1947]
18Articles about Joseph Löwenherz and obituary[1960]
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Series IV: Sofie Löwenherz, 1939-1945

Scope and Content:

This series consists of Sofie Löwenherz's correspondence. It includes letters she wrote to her family in the United States between 1939 and 1941, including her son Siegmund. There are also letters Sophie Löwenherz wrote to her husband Joseph in May 1945.

19Personal correspondence1939-1941
110Personal correspondence1945
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