Guide to the Hellmann and Kromwell Families Collection, 1778-1982 

AR 6436

Processed by LBI Staff and Timothy Ryan Mendenhall

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305



© 2010 Leo Back Institute, New York. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Finding aid encoded in EAD 2002 by Timothy Ryan Mendenhall on 2010-07-30. Finding aid written in English.
December 09, 2011  Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Creator:Hellmann, Johanna, 1899-1982 ; Hellmann, Sophie, 1894-1979
Title:Hellmann and Kromwell Families Collection
Abstract:The Hellmann-Kromwell Family Collection includes a variety of documents of genealogical interest, including wedding, birth, and death announcements and family trees, with a particular emphasis on Dr. Johanna Hellmann's life and work. Some correspondence from the physicist Lise Meitner and the education reformer Helene Lange is also present.
Languages:This collection is in German, Swedish, and English.
Quantity:0.5 linear feet : 12 folders
Identification:AR 6436
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute Archives
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Biographical Note

Johanna Hellmann was born in Nuremberg in 1899. From 1912 until 1925 she completed medical training first in Berlin with Hans Virchow and later in Kiel in order to specialize as a surgeon. Remaining in Kiel during World War I, she assisted in the care of soldiers sent from the front. In 1916 she adopted a child, Irmgard Ahrendt, whose mother had died while pregnant and whose father was recuperating from a war injury. In 1921, the father began legal proceedings to have his daughter returned to his custody, and he eventually won. From 1929-1938 she worked as surgeon, urologist, and radiologist at the Charité clinic in Berlin, through which she oversaw the restructuring of a Salvation Army maternity ward to include a full surgical division. In 1938 she was forced by the Nazi government out of her position as head doctor and emigrated to Stockholm. During the time period from 1938-1947 she faced bureaucratic difficulties in obtaining regular work as a surgeon in Sweden. Also during this period she adopted a patient's daughter; this adoption became official, however, only in 1966. From 1947 onwards she was permitted to operate a private practice as an abdominal surgeon at the Red Cross Hospital in Stockholm, and she also authored papers with former mentor and German colleague Dr. Willy Anschütz on radiation treatment of breast cancer. She died in 1982 in Stockholm. Folder 6 contains a detailed curriculum vitae and autobiographical essay.

Sophie Hellmann was born in 1894 in Nuremberg. Her father was the merchant David Hellmann, her mother was Fanny née Kromwell. She served as a nurse in World War I and worked as a secretary in Belgium until 1918. She returned to Germany and worked in Berlin and Munich, where she became the private assistant to the economist Hanns Dorn, a position she held until his death in 1934. Since it was difficult for her to find employment, she emigrated to Denmark in 1935, where she was hired as Niels Bohr's private secreatry. In 1943, she fled to Sweden and worked as a secreatry and translator for J. Runnstrom. She returned to Demark and her work for Niels Bohr in 1945. After his death, she continued to work as translator and editor for scientific publications until her retirement at age 70. She died in 1979.

The Kromwell family of Gunzenhausen, Middle Franconia, is related to Sophie and Johanna Hellmann through their mother Fanny Hellmann née Kromwell.

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Scope and Content Note

The Hellmann-Kromwell Family Collection includes a variety of documents of genealogical interest, including wedding, birth, and death announcements and family trees. Additional materials include personal papers of several members of both the Kromwell and Hellmann family, with a particular emphasis on Dr. Johanna Hellmann's life and work. Other family papers include a few real estate contracts dating to the first half of the 19th century, several vital records documents (birth certificates, etc.) from the 19th and 20th centuries, and auction catalogs for the sale of Carl Kromwell's art collection. Included in J. Hellmann's correspondence are letters from the noted physicist Dr. Lise Meitner and from Helene Lange, the German women's rights advocate and educational reformer. A number of photos document both the Hellmann-Kromwell family life, as well as the milieu of the medical and nursing professions in Germany during the first half of the twentieth century.

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

The collection is 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

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

Separated Materials

Some photographs have been removed to the LBI Photograph Collection.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Hellmann and Kromwell Families Collection; AR 6436; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Other Finding Aid

An earlier inventory is available 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.


Container list

12Family history, family tree, photocopies of birth death and wedding announcementsundated, 1778-1938
13Deeds of real estate sales1826,1843, 1845
14Family documents and personal papers1853-1947
15Inventory catalog and auction catalog for sale of Carl M. Kromwell collection of paintingsundated, 1906
16Personal papers and correspondence -- Johanna Hellmann1912-1982
17Personal papers, documents, and curricula vitae -- Sophie Hellmann1914-1982
18Correspondence -- Carl and Eduard Kromwell1896-1906
19Correspondence -- Johanna Hellmann1902-1948
110Photographs -- portraits1874, circa 1905
111Family photographscirca 1880-1972
112Photographs -- Johanna Hellmann's professional life1907-1950
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