Guide to the Papers of E. Hans Freund (1905-1994)

AR 25358

Processed by Dianne Ritchey Oummia

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 Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Dianne Ritchey Oummia in June 2009. Description is in English.
2010-12-16  encoding of linking to digital objects from finding aid was changed from <extref> to <dao> through dao_conv.xsl

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Freund, Ernest Hans, 1905-1994
Title: E. Hans Freund Collection
Dates:bulk 1924-1934
Abstract: This collection holds the papers of the philosophy professor E. Hans Freund. Notable subjects include the development of his professional life, the Freund family, and his experiences in Nazi Germany. The collection consists of correspondence, official documents, memoirs, manuscripts, official documents, and photographs.
Languages: The collection is in German and English.
Quantity: 0.5 linear foot
Identification: AR 25358
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note

E. Hans Freund was born on June 10, 1905 in Berlin as Hans Ernst Sigfrid Freund, the son of the businessman Ernst Freund and Margarete Freund née Philippi. In 1923 he graduated from the Arndt Gymnasium in Berlin-Dahlem. His university studies were conducted in Berlin, Marburg, and Freiburg im Breisgau, where he took courses in philosophy, mathematics, and physics. In 1933 his doctoral dissertation, Ontologische Untersuchungen zum Cantor'schen Mengenbegriff [Ontological Research into Cantorian Set Theory], was published; his academic advisor was the well-known philosopher Martin Heidegger.

Following the events of Kristallnacht in November 1938, Freund was incarcerated in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp for one month. He immigrated to the United States via Cuba, and arrived in Miami, Florida in December 1940. From 1941-1943 he taught at the Pendle Hill School in Pennsylvania. From 1943-1945 he served in the U.S. Army, where he achieved the rank of sergeant. Upon his naturalization, his name officially became Ernest Hans Freund. Following his discharge from the military he returned to teaching at the Pendle Hill School briefly. In 1946 he became an assistant professor of philosophy at Pennsylvania State University; he remained with this institution until the late 1950s.

He died in 1994 in Mount Holly, New Jersey.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection provides documentation on the professional work and selected events of E. Hans Freund's life. The collection contains correspondence, unpublished typescripts, papers from official agencies, and notes. E. Hans Freund is often addressed as "Hans Freund" in correspondence and on some official papers; his American citizenship and military papers list him as Ernest Hans Freund.

Many papers in this collection pertain to Freund's professional career. Series I contains some papers that document his university studies among its official papers; these show his registration as a student of philosophy at universities in Berlin and Freiburg. In addition, Series I holds correspondence with other colleagues as well as with professors while he wrote his dissertation, most notably including letters to Martin Heidegger regarding his dissertation topic. Series II includes a copy of this dissertation. Evidence of his time in the military will be found in Series III. Series II additionally includes an essay written by Freund for new immigrants on the history of the United States.

Another subject of this collection is the Freund family; material on family members is located in several areas of the collection. Series I includes some correspondence from other family members to Hans Freund, including several from his mother; these primarily update him on family news. Among the papers of Series II are texts of plays and songs used by family members; some play scripts list family members as cast participants. Series III also holds items pertaining to family members. Chief among these is a photo album; although most of the photographs are unidentified they may depict family members. In addition, there is documentation on the last will and estate of Ernst and Margarete Freund.

Documentation of Hans Freund's experiences in Nazi Germany and his immigration are also present in this collection. Most prominent among such papers are his memoirs of his time in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp following his arrest on Kristallnacht. These memoirs are available in both German and English, and are located in Series II: Writings. Official papers that document his immigration to Cuba, and eventually the United States, are located in Series I and Series III.

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The collection is arranged in three 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.

Collection is microfilmed - MF 1029.

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

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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

Custodial History

[information about the chain of ownership of the materials being described, before reaching the archive]

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Collection is available on 1 reel of microfilm (MF 1029).

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); E. Hans Freund Collection; AR 25358; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing Information

Similar material was grouped together to form series during processing of the collection. Other work entailed the removal of extra photocopies of some typescripts and letters.

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Container List

Follow the links to access the digitized materials.


Series I: Correspondence, 1924-1945

This series is in German and English.
0.2 linear foot.

Divided into correspondence of individuals and chronologically arranged or general correspondence. Alphabetical and chronological.

Scope and Content:

Series I holds the correspondence of E. Hans Freund. This series appears to be comprised of equal parts personal and professional correspondence. A few folders of correspondence with specific individuals are apparent in the original order of the unprocessed collection; these have been retained in separate folders during processing of the collection. Most of the correspondence in this collection is handwritten, and the majority of it is letters sent to Hans Freund.

Correspondence with specific individuals includes both personal and professional letters. The correspondence of Simon Moser and Eduard Study in particular discuss topics relating to Freund's work in addition to general news and greetings. For example, Simon Moser mentions a conference he attended on ontology and meta-ontology, and the problems of existence and being (Seinsproblem). Eduard Study's letters include a letter from him to Hans Freund with a detailed discussion of the solution to a logic problem.

Other correspondence in this series includes letters with family members and friends giving updates on news, significant events, or trips. Several of the folders in this series include official papers among the correspondence; these include documentation from government, educational institutions, and military sources. These include a copy of his birth certificate in folder 11. Perhaps most significant in this series is the folder of documentation concerning Hans Freund's dissertation, which holds correspondence between himself and a few others. Among this folder of letters are several detailed letters sent by Freund to his advisor, the philosopher Martin Heidegger, and a few letters from Heidegger to Freund. Freund's letters discuss the inherent problems and themes in his dissertation, including discussion of ontological problems, Cantor's work, and set theory. Other significant correspondence in this series includes a 1931 letter (in folder 13) from Hans Freund to the Reichskanzler (country's chancellor) Heinrich Brüning on the unemployed, and Freund's suggestions as to how the unemployed might be supported and given a more useful role in society.

1) Individuals

11Baumgardt, David1942
12Becker, Oskar1927, 1930
13Moser, Simon1926-1937
14Study, Eduard1917, 1929

2) Chronological and General

19Correspondence – Family and Friends1924-1937
110Correspondence – Family and Friends - Photographs and Postcards1926-1938
111Correspondence Concerning Dissertation and with Martin Heidegger1927-1934
112Correspondence with Official Documents1921-1938
113Correspondence with Official Documents1931-1941
114Correspondence with Official Documents – Education, Immigration, and Military Papers1924-1932, 1941-1945
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Series II: Writings, 1933-1945

This series is in German and English.
0.2 linear foot.


Scope and Content:

Series II is comprised of the compositions of E. Hans Freund. Most of this series contains unpublished typescripts of his work. This series holds a copy of his dissertation, shorter essays and memoirs, and scripts for plays, skits, or songs apparently used by his family.

Among the papers of this series are short memoirs of the time Hans Freund spent in the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen, with both English and German versions. These memoirs describe both the events of Kristallnacht and his experiences in the weeks he spent at the camp. A short essay on the history of the United States, written in 1940, was utilized by Freund in a class he taught to immigrants. A folder of essays on topics related to philosophy include discussion on the necessity of teaching philosophy in schools, individual psychology, the work of Kant and Goethe and Socrates and Plato, the metaphysical interpretation of history, impulse philosophy, and a comparison of subjective and objective time, among many other subjects.

The concluding folder of this series holds scripts, possibly used by family members at various events or for entertainment purposes. Most of these consist of scripts for plays or skits, although there are also songs/ poems and a fairy tale. Among these is a text of Heine's poem "Die Lorelei" with the text altered to pertain to a family wedding. The scripts frequently list family members among the cast of the plays and skits.

115Dissertation – Ontologische Untersuchungen zum Cantor'schen Mengenbegriff [Ontological Research into Cantorian Set Theory]1933
116Essay – Survey of the Development of the U.S.1940
117Essays – Drafts with Official Documentsundated, 1938-1945
118Essays – Philosophyundated
119Report – Kristallnacht and Sachsenhausen – Englishundated
120Report – Kristallnacht and Sachsenhausen – Germanundated
121Scripts for Family Plays and Songsundated
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Series III: Official Papers, Photographs and Other Papers, 1929-1945

This series is in English and German.
0.1 linear foot.


Scope and Content:

Series III is composed of official documents, photographs, and some unidentified notes. The majority of papers here are documents issued by government agencies. These include papers relating to Freund's service in the U.S. military as well as those relating to his immigration. Material pertaining to the inheritance and estate of Ernst and Margarete Freund consist of an inheritance certificate, Margarete Freund's will, and related documentation. The photo album in this series holds many unidentified photographs, which presumably show family members.

122Certificate of Inheritance1929
OS 130Family Tree - Arons/ Philippiundated
123Immigration and Military Papers1939-1945
124Photo Album1920?-1929
125Research Notesundated, 2008
126Will and Related Documentation1925-1939
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