Guide to the Robert Ira Lewy Family Digital Collection, 1810-2013 

DM 211

Processed by LBI Staff.

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305



© 2009 Leo Back Institute, New York. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Finding aid encoded in EAD 2002 by LBI Staff 2013-02-28. Finding aid written in English.
August 2013: Added images to folder 9. February 2014: Added images to folders 4a and 11e. September 2014: Added images to folders 1b and 11e. Descriptions of both folders were modified to reflect new images. July 2015: Descriptive information added to Folders 13 and 16. Image added to Folder 6. November 2015: Descriptive information and images added to Folder 1a. August 2016: Folder 18 added. November 2016: Descriptive information added to Folder 6 and Folder 18. November 2017: Descriptive information and image added to Folder 8 January 2018: Descriptive information and image added to Folder 8

Creator:Lewy, Robert Ira, M.D.
Creator:Friedman, Robert I., 1950-
Creator:Zdzislaw, Kosicki
Title:Robert Ira Lewy Family Digital Collection
Abstract:Photographs documenting the lives of the Lewy family. Esfira and Martin Lewy, and their son Robert Ira Lewy are most represented. Also included are vital documents and genealogical papers, and some personal papers.
Languages:This collection is in English, German and some Polish.
Quantity:28 folders.
Identification:DM 211
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute Archives
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Biographical Note

Martin Lewy (1900, Hohensalza – 1982, Brooklyn NY) was born in Hohensalza, Posen (today Inowrocław, Poland). He studied medicine at universities in Breslau and in Berlin, receiving his diploma in 1925. He was married to Esfira Lewy, née Levy (1906, Lodz Poland – 1990, Houston TX). Martin and Esfira Lewy were parents to Robert Ira Lewy, who compiled the documents in this collection.

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Scope and Content Note

Photographs documenting the lives of the Lewy Family. In addition there are some vital documents and genealogical papers. Also there are some greeting cards and some school papers. All of the material was donated in the digital format.

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

The 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

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

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

Related Material

For additional information on Israel Lewy, see:

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Robert Ira Lewy Collection; DM 211; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing Information

Processed by Emily Andresini. The scope and content fields and folder titles were derived from descriptive information provided by the donor, Robert Ira Lewy. The original folder structure was maintained, but the order of the photographs within each folder was reconfigured according to presumed chronology, based on the descriptive information provided by the donor. Specific dates for each image were not always provided. The file names of these images are mostly the personal names of those pictured, and were also provided by the donor. These file names have been preserved and are accessible in the bookmarks column of each PDF folder.

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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 digital material.


Series I: Lewy Family Photographs and Documents, 1810-2013

17 Folders

Material processed accoriding to file names and descriptive information provided by the donor, Robert Ira Lewy. All scope and content notes and folder titles and descriptions were provided by the donor as well.

Scope and Content:

Folders 1a-1e contain photographs of Esfira Levy and her family. Some vital documents belonging to Esfira are also included. Photographs of her father Samuel, her sister Raisa, and their mother Frida Malka Levy, née Volpe, are also included.

Folders 11a.1-11e contain photographs pertaining to Robert Ira Lewy, son of Martin and Esfira. Folder 11a.2 contains a short video of Robert as a child titled, A Boy Grows in Brooklyn. Robert became an oncologist, father and world traveler.

11aScenes from Kaunasundated

Esfira Levy and her family in Lithuania. Robert Ira Lewy's maternal grandmother's passport from Lithuania and an ID card of her daughter with a false name she used while hiding. Also included are documents Raissa Levinas had to submit proving from different sources her Jewish identity, her residence in France before, during and after the war, for purposes of reparation. In addition, a letter from Lugano proving the cemetery location of Frida's husband, is included.

11bYears in Vienna, passport and marriage to Martin Lewy. Frieda Levi(née Volpe) in Paris.1933, 1940, 1957

These are the only written documents from her when she moved with her daughters Esfira and Raisa from Kaunus (1a) to Paris and sadly written on her way from Vel D' Ive to Drancy to Auschwitz by Envoi 46 on 2/43. A transliteration and English translation of the postcard are included. David, Frieda Levi's grandson, thinks the reason the signature and text of the postcard are different is because Drancy letters had to be in French and Frieda Levi probably only spoke Lithuanian.

11cNew home in Brooklyn, old German friends, naturalizationundated
11dAttendance at marriage of Simone Levinas, Georges Hansel, travels1950, 1957, 1986, undated
11eNew job as grandmother to Adam and Amyundated

After Martin died in 1982, Esfira moved to Houston 10 years later to be with her grandchildren. Esfira Lewy emigrated to the US in 1933 with Martin but returned to Europe in 1939 at great risk to arrange the evacuation of Martin's family, Henrietta, Eva, Bella and Isert. Alex had already arrived to Martin's home on Brooklyn in 1936.

12aIsidor Lewy's family in Hohensalza, Prussia1934, 1936, 1937, 1939, 1940

Pictured within this folder is the family of Isidor Lewy, Martin Lewy's father of Hohensalza, Prussia. Isidor's father, Nochem Yitzig Lewy, was born in 1810, married Jette Cohn in 1835, and died on January 25, 1884. Jette Cohn, daughter of Itzig and Belle Cohn, was born in 1810, and died on February 19, 1880. Isidor's wife, Henrietta Nawratski, and his sisters Johanna, Bella, Lydia are represented, as well as two siblings who died in childhood, Erna and Naochum. Whereabouts of Isador and Yitzhak’s graves are unknown, but Jewish headstones in Hohensalza were ground up for paving stones by Nazis.

Photos from Martin Lewy's medical school years in Breslau and Berlin, and his medical license in New York State are included. Martin's sister Bella married Isert Roesel and had three children, Alex, Manfred and Eva. Martin brought Bella, Isert, their three children, and his mother Henrietta to the United States in 1939.

Nochem and his family lived at house no 102, Marktplatz, according to the censuses of 1852 and 1864. In addition to Isidor and Israel Lewy, Nochem had a daughter Jeanette, born November 18, 1835 who married Goldstein Wolf on May 5, 1860. Their children Fritzchen and Labiszyn were born October 29, 1860.

12bGeschichte der Juden in Inowrazlaw
13Bella Lewy and her family in New York1937, 1939, undated

Pictured within this folder is the family of Bella Lewy, aunt of Robert Ira Lewy. Bella is pictured with her husband Isert Roesel, who came to the United States in 1939. Their two sons, Alex and Manfred, and their daughter Eva are also pictured. The location is listed as New York, after immigrating.

14aMartin Lewy, earlier years

This folder contains photographs of Martin with his sister Johanna, coursework for MD from Friedrich Wilhelm Institute, Breslau and Berlin, and his medical diploma.

14bMartin Lewy, later years1938, 1934, 1940, undated

Martin Lewy's medical licensure, naturalization are included here. Esfira migrated to Vienna, then Berlin, then married Dr. Martin Lewy and moved to Brooklyn, New York. Her sister moved to Paris. Martin's role as husband, father, grandfather and father-in-law are also represented.

15Lydia Lewy and her husband Kurt Aufrect1969, undated

Pictured within this folder are Lydia Lewy and her husband Kurt Aufrect. Nahariya is listed as their residence. Also pictured are the three sisters in Hohensalza, and Martin Lewy. A photo of her marriage, and of her birth certificate from the Polish Archives are also included. Her later life with Kurt in Israel is also documented. She had no children.

16Raisa Levy and her familyundated

Pictured within this folder are Raisa Levy, her husband and philosopher, Emmanuel Levinas, and their two children, Simone and Michael in Paris. Raisa is pictured as a young mother, a flapper and at the wedding of her daughter, Simone. Simone is a pediatrician, and Michael is a pianist and composer. Esfira Levy is also pictured with young Michael and Raisa's husband Emmanuel. Simone and Raisa were hidden by Emmanuel's friend philosopher Maurice Blanchot in a convent during the occupation. Michael Levinas was elected to the music chair of the Academie Francaise and his son Elie-Emmanuel Levinas, is a concert pianist, violinist, conductor and soloist in attendance at the Ecole Normal Superier in Paris, included is a photograph of him taken during a performance.

17Johanna Lewy and her family2013, undated

In this folder are photographs of Johanna Lewy as a young girl. She is also pictured with either Martin Lewy or his deceased brother Nachum as a young boy. Johanna is pictured with her husband Rabbi Stein. Together, they had two children, Ezra and Ruth. Johanna perished in Auschwitz. Ezra moved to Israel and then to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Ruth married Kurt Flamm, moved to Baltimore, Maryland, and had two sons, Lee and Ari. Ari married Hadassah and had eight childen and forty-four grandchildren. Ari and Lee are pictured as boys in Coney Island. There are also photographs of Ari and Lee as adults with their father Kurt and with children of their own.

When little Isaac Stein (also Isaak Stein) was born in Harburg in 1877, nobody might have anticipated how short and meaningful his life would be. His father Gerson Stein for many years was the well respected principal of the jewish community. He had a small income from his shop at market square, and he also had been a co-founder of the local fire brigade.

Later Isaac went to the college in nearby Noerdlingen, but as he was not very successful, his father sent him to the Benedictine patres at Saint Stephans College in Augsburg. The patres there liked him, and Isaac made great progess in his education. In 1898 he finished college and continued his studies at the University in Berlin and in 1902 obtained the title of a Doctor of Philosophy "cum laude" at the University of Rostock. His thesis on The jews in the swabian towns of the German Empire at times of King Sigmund (1410-1437) became an outstanding publication, that still can be found in libraries today. Dr. Isaac Stein went on with his studies at the Rabbinic Seminar in Berlin and in 1904 became District Rabbi of Memel. By this time he was just 27 years old. For the next ten years he was the religious master for the communities in this far eastern part of the German Empire, even at hard times finally, when World War I started and russian troops invaded Memel in 1914 and Isaac Stein with his wife and two children were forced to escape under terrible circumstances (Johanna and children Ezra and Ruth).

Dr. Issac Steins death came suddenly and unexpectedly. He died in Berlin in July 1915, after having been hospitalized because of severe kidney problems. He was buried in Harburg with great sympathy. Funeral sermons were held by Rabbis from Ansbach and Tilsit. Isaac Stein left behind a wife and two children. His grave monument has disappeared. A detailed report on Isaac Stein's funeral comes from his brother Siegfried Stein, who for a long time worked for the Harburg newspaper as an editor.

18Raisa Levy with her family1950, undated

Pictured within this folder are Raisa Levy and her husband, the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas. Raisa moved to Paris with her mother, Frida Malka Volpe, who was arrested in Vel d'Hiv, and perished in a concentration camp. Emmanuel's father was Jechiel of Kaunas, and he had two brothers who have been lost. Emmanuel is pictured with a friend, with Raisa, and also with Simone at Ecole Normale Israelite Occidental, the school he founded. ENIO was a brand of the French Zionist charity for education of teachers of Hebrew in French Africa, sited in Auteuil. A new building now occupies the site. Raisa and Esfira moved to Paris with her mother Frida, who was then arrested. Robert Lewy's maternal grandfather Samuel lived with the family including Esfira and Raisa for several years in Lugano where he was unsucessfully treated for TB and is buried. Frida and Raisa moved to Paris where she married Emmanuel Levinas. Esfira met and married Martin Lewy in Paris after he was awarded an MD in Berlin and she completed a business degree in Vienna and they emigrated to New York.

19Simone Levinas and her family2011, undated

Pictured within this folder are Simone Levinas and her husband Georges Hansel. They had four children, David, Boris, Valerie, and Juliette, who immigrated back to Israel. It is noted that there are seventeen grandchildren. Simone is pictured as a young woman with her parents and her brother Micahel. She is also pictured later in life with her husband Georges. Simone's son David and two grandsons are pictured in the last photo. Simone and Georges' grandchildren are: by David Hansel - Myriam, Natanael, Elan, Hillel, and Gabriel; By Boris- Levana, Elior, and Naom; by Juliette- Emanuel, Rafaelle, Tania, Gulia, Yoram, Adina, Ethan, Arial, and Naoma; and by Valerie- Amalie, Rebecca, Esther, and Katia.

110Ezra Stein and her family1955, undated

Pictured within this folder are Ezra Stein and his two daughters, Chana Zamora, who returned to Nahariya, and Dorit Krasnow of Pittsburgh. It is noted that Chana had eight grandchildren, and Dorit had two daughters. Dorit's wedding to Ron is pictured in this folder. Ron, Ezra, Esfira and Lydia are also pictured.

111a.1Robert Ira Lewy's Childhood1943-1960

Within this folder are photographs of Robert Ira Lewy's childhood in Brooklyn and in Paris, up to college. Robert became an oncologist, a father, and a traveler.

111a.2A Boy Grows in Brooklyn1945-1955

A short video of Robert Ira Lewy as a young boy with his parents, Martin and Esfira Lewy in Italy and France.

111bRobert Ira Lewy, yound adult1961-1979

Robert Ira Lewy is pictured here in college and in medical school and during his internship.

111cRobert Ira Lewy's adulthood1980-1995

Pictured here are Robert Ira Lewy's first medical practice, and his children Amelia and Adam.

111dRobert Ira Lewy's adulthood continuted1995-2005

Pictured within this folder is Robert Ira Lewy's second medical practice and his marriage to Cherrill Farnsworth.

111eRobert Ira Lewy's later life2002-2012

Pictured within this folder are Robert Ira Lewy with his children Amelia Cohen-Levy and Adam Chandler and granddaughter Ziva Cohen-Levy on his 70th birthday. Also pictured are Robert Ira Lewy's retirement and his travels. As of 2012 Robert Ira Lewy traveled to 110 countries. Robert welcomed a first grandson, Boaz Altair Cohen, in September 2014 - his Hebrew name is Mordechai Pesach in honor of his great grandfather Martin, as his sister was named Ziva Esfira in honor of her great grandmother. In the final photo in this folder, Ziva Lewy is pictured at age 7 together with Boaz Lewy at age 5.

111fRobert Ira Lewy's diplomas1980-1995

This folder consists of Robert Ira Lewy's many diplomas.

112Alex Roesel and his family1936, 1943, undated

Pictured within this folder is Alex Roesel and his family. Alex married Ann, and had two sons. In this folder Alex is pictured as a boy, as a young man, and in his marriage to Ann. He is pictured with Amy and Esfira, and with his brother Manfred and his sister Eva. He is also pictured with his cousins Kurt, Ari and Lee Flamm, and with the Stein family. Cards he sent to Robert Ira Lewy on his birth in 1943 are also included.

113Children of Robert Ira Lewy with his first wife Nada Chandler undated

Pictured within this folder are Robert Ira Lewy and his two children, Amelia and Adam. The childhoods of Amelia (Amy) and Adam are pictured. Amelia Cohen-Levy became a poet, and Adam Chandler became a journalist. Amelia is mother to Ziva Esfira Cohen-Levy, who is great granddaughter to Irving Chandler and Dr. and Mrs. Martin Lewy. Amelia now mother of Boaz Cohen-Levy, great grandson.

114Michael Levinas and his family1954, undated

Within this folder are photographs of Michael Levinas as a child, and later as a musician. Michael is Raisa and Emmanuel's son. He is also pictured with his wife Danielle Cohen-Levinas and their son Eli-Emmanuel. In 2018 Michael Levinas was elected to the Institute de France of the Academie Francaise des Beaux Arts of France. His original operas and his virtuoso performances and recordings contributed to this. The number of "Immortals" are fixed and require the decedence of the previous occupant of the chair.

115Eva Roesel's familyundated

Pictured within this folder are Eva Roesel and her son, David Jacoby. David Jacoby married Ellen and had one daughter, Miranda. They are pictured visiting the Stein family in Pittsburgh.

116Album of Rabbi Israel Lewy of Breslau, great uncle of Robert Lewyundated

Pictured within this folder are the Lewy family ancestors in Berlin and Breslau, among other locations (not listed). These photographs were taken from the album of Martin Lewy, and also created by Zdzislaw Watta-Kosicki, Ancestry Search in Poland.

Israel Lewy was the brother of Isidor Lewy of Hohensalza, and the son of Rabbi Nochem Yitzik Lewy, born 1810. There was also a sister, Jeanette, who had a daughter, Frisschen. Israel received his degree from the University of Jena in 1866, and migrated to Berlin where he taught at the Jewish Institute. In 1887 he was invited to join the famed Jewish Theological Seminary in Breslau, and taught Talmud to Solomon Schecter and Leo Baeck. He has many publications still in print. Israel married Earnestine Daniel and had two daughters, Martha and Bella.

Martha married Rabbi Lessor Knoller and moved to Hanover. Lessor taught at the school for Hebrew Instruction. They had a daughter Paula who married Gustav Baruch Suessman. Their children Gotthold (b. 1921), Albrecht (b 1922) and Ernst (b. 1924), possibly Nathan, and a daughter Jehidit Vandel who was the sole survivor and escaped to Israel and filed all their Yad Vashem testimonies in 1956. Ernst was murdered in Lodz in 1941, Albrecht likewise, and Gotthold (Gustav) in 1937 in Elberfeld. He was a cantor.

Bella married Rabbi Israel Finkelscherer (b. 1866) of Munich. They had two sons, Rabbi Herbert Finkelscherer (who married Flora Mayer), and Rabbi Bruno Finkelscherer. Israel died in Theresienstadt in 1942. Herbert died in Auschwitz. His work appears in The Sceptre Shall Not Depart from Judah by Milkman. Her descendant is Margareta Bergel. Both son in laws Finkelsherer of Munich and Knoller of Hanover contributed to the Festschrift Zu Israel Lewy's Siebzigstem Geburtstag a celebration of Israel's 70th birthday. Other authors included Solomon Schecter of New York.

The last image is the school founded by Israel Lewy with Abraham Geiger in Berlin in 1872, Hochschule fur Wissenschaft des Judentums, Tucholskystrasse 9, is now the Leo Baeck-Haus, and is the seat of the Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland. Closed by the Nazi government in 1942, the name was changed to Lehranstalt fur die Wissenschaft des Judetums.

Israel Lewy’s place of burial has been identified from an entry about R. Israel LEWY in R. Aron HEPPNER's book Jüdische Persönlichkeiten in und aus Breslau (Breslau 1931). It identifies his burial place as the newer (and still in use) Jewish cemetery in Breslau called Breslau-Cosel -- in Feld VII. It is on the old airport road, which is now called ul. Lotniczej (no. 51). This cemetery is under the control of the current Wroclaw Jewish community.

Bella Finkelscherer: Born 10.09.1875. Last residence before deportation: München; Transport II/10, c. 456 (26.06.1942 Munich -> Terezín); Murdered 22.03.1943 Terezín.

Dr. Israel Finkelscherer: Born 20.06.1866. Last residence before deportation: München. Transport II/10, c. 455 (26.06.1942 Munich -> Terezín); Murdered 06.10.1942 Terezín.

Israel and Bella's two sons, as well as Herbert's wife Fiona Finkelsherer, and their son Mayer, were also murdered there.

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Series II: Genealogy, undated

1 CD

Original order maintained.

117Lewy Family Genealogy1855-1955

This series consists of one CD which contains genealogical information of the Lewy family, compiled by Robert I. Friedman, genealogist.

118Genealogy of the Baltimore Flamms undated

Family trees of the descendants of Ruth Stein, Martin Lewy's neice and Kurt Flamm.

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