MS 125 The Mansbach Family Papers
Family collections can take genealogy beyond the family tree. Not only can genealogists dig out familial connections, birth and death dates, but they can sometimes see objects that their ancestors touched or even created – a letter written in their great-grandfather’s hand perhaps, or their great-aunt’s wedding dress. But family collections are also useful to historians in general. Where a genealogist sees a new branch to add to the family tree a professor might see a new perspective on immigration, a deeper understanding of culture, etc. The following collection contains information about one family, but also information about immigration and the Holocaust
Papers, n.d., 1866 – c. 1975
The Jewish Museum of Maryland
ACCESS AND PROVENANCE
The Mansbach Family Papers were donated to the Jewish Museum of Maryland by Irene Mansbach Russel in 1994 as accession 1994.136 and 1994.142, in 2001 as 2001.074 and in 2003 as accession 2003.101. Robin Waldman processed the collection in 2003. Additional materials (including folders 80-85) were added in 2004 as accession 2004.47 and the finding aid was updated in April 2005 to reflect these additions.
Access to the collection is unrestricted and is available to researchers at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the Jewish Museum of Maryland before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library’s usual procedures.
Bernhard Mansbach (1900-1981), son of Hermann Mansbach and Sophie Loewenstein Mansbach, left Germany in February 1939 and arrived in England March 1939. He had a tourist visa that did not permit him to work. He lived with his brother, Leo Mansbach, and his parents, who came to England shortly after Bernhard, until October 1939 when he left England for the United States. Hermann and Sophie settled in England, and Leo came to Baltimore in 1948. A third brother, Edmund Mansbach, b. 1896, was never successful in leavingGermany. He died in a concentration camp c. 1940-1942.
Hertha Phillips Mansbach (1905-1996) was born in Oberhausen, Germany to Bernhard Phillips and Jetchen Oberdorfer Phillips, and later lived in Mulheim. Hertha left Germany in December 1939. She traveled via train to Antwerp where she boarded a Holland-Amerika ship in January 1940 and sailed via South Hampton, England to New York, arriving January 20, 1940. Hertha Phillips married Bernhard Mansbach, whom she had known in Germany, on November 3, 1940. They lived at 2120 Brookfield Avenue until February 1944, when they moved to 2613 Reisterstown Road. Shortly thereafter, in April 1944, Hertha gave birth to their only child, a daughter named Irene Mansbach.
George Mansbach, who was not related to Bernhard Mansbach in any way, was an American who lived inBaltimore. When Bernhard began writing to American citizens who bore his last name in an attempt to secure assistance in leavingGermany, George agreed to provide affidavits. Once Bernhard arrived inBaltimore, George was of further assistance, helping him to secure employment, and later helping Bernhard obtain a refund for his deceased brother Edmund’s ship fare to theUnited States. Bernhard and Hertha invited George and his wife to their wedding, but the American Mansbachs were unable to attend.
SCOPE AND CONTENT
The Mansbach Family Papers contain records that document the family’s attempts to flee Nazi Germany and establish themselves inEnglandand finally, in theUnited States. Records include correspondence, affidavits, immigration documents and identity documents. Both English and German documents are included in this collection.
Notes: See database for location of related photographs 1994.142.55, 19188.8.131.52, 19184.108.40.206. See also JMM OH #528, Irene Mansbach Interview, April 1, 2002 for further information.