Guide to the Papers of the Jaffé Family of Posen

AR 4037

Processed by Dianne Ritchey and Eva Englander

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 Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Dianne Ritchey in October 2010. Description is in English.
November 28, 2011  Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Jaffé, Johanna Eva
Title: Jaffe Family, Posen Collection
Dates:bulk 1970-1986
Abstract: This collection documents the genealogy of the Jaffe family that originated in Posen (now Poznań, Poland), as researched by Johanna Jaffé. It includes a large amount of genealogical correspondence, family trees, some photographs and a few clippings.
Languages: The collection is in English and German.
Quantity: 1.25 linear feet.
Identification: AR 4037
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note

Jaffe Family

The Jaffe (sometimes spelled Jaffé) family derived from the Posen (now Poznań) and Miloslaw regions of present-day Poland. Included among its members was Rabbi Mordecai Jaffe, known for his works Levush Malkhut or the Levushim, which interpreted the Jewish laws. Another noteworthy member of the family was the historian Philipp Jaffé.

Johanna Eva Jaffé

Johanna ("Hanni") Eva Jaffé was born in Posen (now Poznań, Poland). She grew up in a well-to-do family; her father owned the family wood wholesale business, and her mother Alice came from a bankers' family from Warsaw. Soon after Johanna's birth, her father relocated his business to Berlin. She had a younger sister, Hilde, with whom she was very close.

In 1919 Johanna Jaffé completed her schooling at Berlin's Auguste Victoria Schule, continuing on to study medicine at the universities of Berlin and Freiburg, before she had to break off her education due to illness. Eventually she pursued a secretarial course and then assisted at her father's firm. In 1924 Johanna Jaffé went to the suburb of Dachau near Munich to attend a home economics course given at "Die große Moosschwaige," the home of the Swedish artist Carl Olaf Petersen and his wife Elly and a meeting place of many authors and artists. Elly Petersen taught the course, and the Petersens became close friends of Johanna's. Following the course Johanna Jaffé began working at the Israelitische Jugendhilfe in Munich, later becoming principal of the institution. From 1928-1930 she traveled to several cities in Europe while studying modern foreign languages, but during semester breaks always returned to Dachau, where she assisted Elly Petersen in writing her "yellow books" on topics such as gardening and homemaking. Finally Johanna Jaffé broke off her studies and made Dachau her home. There the Petersens became her employers, where she assisted them in their literary work.

After Kristallnacht in November 1938 Johanna Jaffé turned her attention to emigrating from Germany. In April 1939 she went to England as a domestic servant. Ultimately she settled near Cheltenham, in the Cotswolds region. During the Holocaust she lost both her mother Alice Jaffé, who was deported to Theresienstadt, and her sister Hilde. Hilde Tittel committed suicide after facing deportation and the loss of her young son Klaus following the death of her non-Jewish husband in an accident. In 1948 Johanna Jaffé succeeded in bringing her orphaned nephew to England, where he stayed until 1960; Johanna Jaffé supported them by opening a teashop.

In 1983 Johanna Jaffé visited Berlin on the invitation of the city's mayor. Although Elly Petersen asked her to return to Dachau, she never did. In her later years she spent much of her time in genealogical research, documenting the descent of various branches of the Jaffé/ Jaffe family from Mordecai Jaffe of Posen as well as tracing the spread of the family, with family members in Germany, England, the United States and Israel.

Much of the information in this biographical note derived from material in the bookBefore Sunrise by Hans Holzhaider, translated by Johanna Jaffé.

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Scope and Content Note

The Jaffe Family of Posen Collection focuses entirely on the genealogical research of the family conducted by Johanna Jaffé. It includes extensive research correspondence with family members, family trees, and a small amount of documentation accumulated during the research, including a few copies of photographs and some newspaper clippings.

The bulk of this collection consists of Johanna Jaffé's correspondence with her family members regarding her investigation of the family history, located in Series I. Her letters frequently request names, dates and other biographical details of family members as well as seeking reminiscences of older individuals no longer alive and requesting addresses of other family members. Some family news is also exchanged in the letters, but the focus lies with the genealogical research.

Series II holds the final results of Johanna Jaffé's work, her family trees. These trees are extremely lengthy and provide basic biographical data. In addition to life dates, they list areas where family members resided and occasionally more detailed notes.

A small amount of documentation acquired during Johanna Jaffé's research comprises Series III. This material includes some photographs and copies of photographs of various family members encountered in the previously mentioned series. In addition, there are extensive copies of personal letters of the historian Philipp Jaffé.

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The collection is arranged in three series:

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Box 1 Folder 21 may only be accessed on site at the Lillian Goldman Reading Room, as it contains extensive correspondence relating to the donation of the collection.

Access Information

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

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 "Reserve" 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

Related Material

The LBI Library contains the book Before Sunrise, by Hans Holzhaider and translated by Johanna Jaffé [DS 135 G4 D28 H612]. This book contains extensive details on the events of Johanna Jaffé's life.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Jaffe Family, Posen Collection; AR 4037; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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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.


Series I: Correspondence, 1961-1986

This series is in English and German.
0.7 linear ft.


Scope and Content:

Series I is comprised of Johanna Jaffé's genealogical research correspondence. Nearly every letter in this series addresses this subject, although some also discuss family news from members Johanna Jaffé knew well.

Johanna Jaffé's letters frequently request information from distant relatives on their family members or corrections of branches of the family tree. Some correspondence includes comments on or drafts of portions of the family tree. The correspondence frequently refers to the descent of the family from Miloslaw, Poland as well as Posen and Johanna Jaffé's research into the family's descent from Rabbi Mordecai Jaffe, famous for writing the Levushim. Many letters include her handwritten notes as to the identity of the individual or questions she needed answered.

Correspondence with the Leo Baeck Institute primarily relates to Johanna Jaffé's donation of updated family trees to the Institute. Some letters from the LBI to her relate information on researchers interested in her work, including their suggestions or corrections to the family trees.

11A - C1972-1986
  • Adler, Shelley
  • "Angeli"
  • Ascher, David
  • Barry, Joan
  • Bertram, Hilde
  • "Bobbi"
  • Brander (née Merzbacher), Dorothea
  • Breit (née Mühsam), Gerda
  • Brühl, Paul
  • Carlebach, Dr.
  • Cohn, Mirjam
12Braht, Franz1980-1982
13Margot Cordes1980-1986
14D – F1972-1984
  • David, Nicole
  • Dobbins, Beryl
  • Dunthorne (née Brander), Kirstine
  • Ellinger, F.
  • Engelman (née Herzog), Bertha
  • Etzion, Judith
  • Freudenberg, Hadassah
15Elton, Ethel and Miles1979-1986
16Freidank, Karl-Heinz1979-1980
17G - H1972-1986
  • Garbáty (née Jaffé), Marie-Louise
  • Gourary, Marianne
  • Grunthal, Adolf
  • Harris, Harold
  • Hasler, Christe
  • Herrmann, Frank and Gabriele
  • Herzog, Paul
18Goldschmidt, Ilse (Jaffe)1985-1986
  • Jacobson, Dr.
  • Jaffé, Aniela
  • [Jaffe?], Carry
  • Jaffé, Charles
  • Jaffe, Erwin
  • Jaffe, Felice (Felix)
  • Jaffe, Frederick
  • Jaffe, Gerda
  • Jaffe, Helmut
  • Jaffe, Herbert
  • Jaffe, Klaus
110J (continued)1962-1986
  • Jaffe, Lieselotte
  • Jaffé, Louisa
  • Jaffe, Marcel
  • Jaffe, Margaret
  • Jaffe, Michael
  • Jaffé, Richard
  • Jaffé, Stephen
  • Jaffé, Veronika
  • Jaffe, Werner
  • Jaffé, Wolfgang
  • Jaffray, Ernst
111Bernard F.V. Jaffé (Basel, Switzerland)1980-1981
112Bernard W. Jaffe (London, England)1980-1983
113Bernhard Jaffé (Montreal, Canada)1981-1986
114Paul Jaffé1962-1973
115Peter Jaffe1981-1986
116Jüdische Gemeinde Berlin1984-1985
  • Kitzinger, Ernst
  • Kronthal, Hilde
  • Kruskal family members
  • Lademan, Maria
  • Loewenberg, Frank M.
  • Lutterbeck, Ann
  • Lutterbeck Family Members
118Kitzinger, Richard1972-1985
119Koch, Charlotte1980-1985
120Kruskal, Herbert1975-1981
121Leo Baeck Institute1973-1986
122Loewenberg, Ernst and Margarete1980-1983
  • Martin, David and Roux
  • Martin, Ernest
  • Merzbacher, Eugen
  • Merzbacher, Siegfried
  • Monumenta Germaniae Historica
  • Muehsam family members
124Mayer, Karen (née Martin; formerly Shearer)1972-1985
125N – O1972-1986
  • Nitkiewicz (née Merzbacher), Celia
  • Oettinger, Peter
  • Oettinger, Ruth
  • [Oppenheimer?], Fanny
  • Oppenheimer, Jonathan
  • Otten, Walter
  • Ottenstein (née von der Porten), Gerda
126Oettinger, Heinz1975-1984
127P - R1972-1986
  • Pariser, E.R.
  • Peters, Vera
  • Portner, Oliver
  • Posner (née Kruskal), Rachel
  • Prager (née Oppenheimer), Eva
  • Prager, Vincent
  • Reider, Rudolf and Anna Luise
  • Reis, Thea
  • Reisner, Arnold
  • Richter, John Henry
  • Roediger, Ernst
  • Romney, H.C.
  • Rothe, Erich
128Rosenberg, Max1973-1985
129Ryweck, Rosemarie1982-1985
130S – T1972-1986
  • Saalheimer, Elizabeth
  • Savinkov, Serge
  • Schapiro, Dora
  • Schaps, Herbert
  • Schloßmann, Klaus
  • Schneider, Kathy
  • Segni, Louisa di
  • Sternfeld, Esther
  • Sturman, F. Vernon
  • Baer (née Sturman), Maria
  • Thormahlen, H.H.
  • Taschdjian (née Hirschberg), Claire
  • Tiktin (née Muehsam), Luise
  • Traumann, Beate Masuet
131Stone, Charlotte1980-1982
132Vanson, Manfred1979-1986
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Series II: Family Trees, 1869-1986

This series is in English and German.
0.3 linear ft.


Scope and Content:

Series II holds the final products of Johanna Jaffé's work, her family trees. Folder titles have retained the names she gave her family trees. Several lengthy trees are located here, including two versions of her Miloslaw Jaffe tree. Most of the trees here display the genealogy in chart format with brief biographical information, while the oversized family trees depict it in tree format.

The initial folders of this series contain the Miloslaw Jaffe trees. Included with these are introductions describing how she incorporated new evidence into the trees, and her most significant findings. The introduction to the 1985 version also mentions updates of her previous work and includes copies of photographs of some ancestors.

The Mordecai Jaffe tree included a large amount of research correspondence, which was moved to its own folder during the processing of the collection.

133Miloslaw Jaffe Tree – 1983 Version1983 May
134Miloslaw Jaffe Tree – 1985 Version1985 November
135Miloslaw Silberstein/ Jaffe Tree1869, 1964-1985
136Mordecai Jaffé Tree1980s?
137Mordecai Jaffé Tree – Correspondence1976-1986
138One Line of the Rabbi Mordecai Jaffe Pedigree – Master Copy1985 December
OS 41Oversized family trees1980s?
139Samuel Jaffé Tree – With Documentation1930-1931, 1964-1983
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Series III: Research Documentation, 1832-1985

This series is in German and English.
0.25 linear ft.


Scope and Content:

Series III contains materials gathered during Johanna Jaffé's research. Many of the documents here are photographs or copies of photographs of various family members. Other materials found here include photocopies of official records, including some birth, death, and marriage certificates as well as Samuel Jaffé's last will and testament. In addition, there are some articles on family members included in the folders titled "Other Family Members." Among the Oettinger family papers is a copy of a letter to Norbert Oettinger from his parents with instructions from them on how he should find a wife.

Of interest may be the extensive copies of letters of the historian Philipp Jaffé, a direct ancestor of Johanna Jaffé. These are personal letters to his father Elias Jaffé and his stepmother Pauline Jaffé née Berlak. In addition, this folder holds a few articles on Philipp Jaffé and his work.

21Brühl Family Members - Photographsundated
22Mordecai Jaffé Descendants – Tree with Drawings and Documentationundated, 1813-1982
23Oettinger Family Members1929-1983
24Other Family Members1878-1897, 1920-1983
25Other Family Members – Prager Family1972-1985
26Philipp Jaffé – Letters1832-1881, 1961-1982
27Photographs and Illustrations1964-1983
28Samuel Jaffé – Last Will1885
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