Sources for Central and Eastern European Jewish History: The Louis Lewin Collection at Yeshiva University
Keywords:Archive, archival collection, Jewish history
The Louis Lewin Collection of archival materials in the Rare Book Room of Yeshiva University comprises some 400 boxes of historical records on the Jews in Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic. Lewin (1868–1941) was a rabbi and Jewish historian in Poland between the Wars and a proponent of the Wissenschaft des Judentums, “Science of Judaism,” movement in Jewish scholarship. The documents Lewin collected are of great historical value for their description of Jewish life in Europe, the history of Judaism, and Hebrew language and literature. While some records are original documents, others were copied by hand by Lewin from non-Jewish repositories in state or municipal archives. Not only are these documents precious for their historical value, but they are unique survivors of the devastation of World War II. Most of the records of these communities in Poland and Germany were obliterated, and the communities themselves disappeared. All that now exists are the copies that Louis Lewin preserved. Most items in this unique collection have been cataloged, and the rest are being worked on. The catalog records can be found in the Yeshiva University Library OPAC and on RLIN.
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