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Wiener Library

Manes, Philipp (1875-1944): Personal papers


Reference code(s): GB 1556 WL 1346

Held at: Wiener Library

Title: Manes, Philipp (1875-1944): Personal papers

Date(s): 1887-1944

Level of description: collection

Extent: 16 boxes

Name of creator(s): Manes | Philipp | 1875-1944 | fur trader


Administrative/Biographical history:

Philipp Manes was born in Neuwied in the Rhineland on Aug 1875. His family had lived in Neuwied for a long time, but his parents and he moved to Berlin via Luxembourg, when he was a boy of eleven. Manes became a fur trader. Until 1942 he lived in a small apartment in the centre of Berlin with his wife and his family. His four children all managed to leave Germany before the war broke out. In 1942, he was forced to work for a few months as a labourer in a Berlin factory. In July 1942 he was sent to Theresienstadt together with his wife Gertrud. In October 1944 they were both sent 'east' with the last transport and they both died in Auschwitz.

During his years in the ghetto of Theresienstadt he was in charge of the Orientation Service, a unit of elderly men originally set up to help prisoners who had lost their way in the maze of the camp, to ensure their safe return to their assigned quarters. Over time the service expanded and added various other service functions to its duties.

It was in his capacity as head of the Orientation Service, that Manes created the lecture series, at one time also called Leisure Time Bureau, in fact the most amazing cultural feast. This united what must have been the educated elite of the camp in over 500 events. Topics of lectures covered most academic disciplines, from religion and history to the arts and sciences. Play readings often by professional actors and singers, especially the productions of Nathan the Wise, had their audiences spellbound. Variety evenings were staged to celebrate the New Year and special events. The names of lecturers and participants read like a Who's Who of the camp. They include Leo Baeck (who spoke at the 500th event), Victor and Fritz Janowitz, and many others.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Phillipp Manes comprising the 'Theresienstadt Chronicles', a diary of life in Theresienstadt concentration camp by Manes, 1942-1944; war diaries written by Manes for the benefit of his children, 1939-1942; autobiographical and family history writings; family correspondence; poems and prose and material relating to the German fur industry.


Language/scripts of material: German

System of arrangement:

Chronological by material type.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies can be made for personal use. Permission must be sought for publication.

Finding aids:

Description exists to this archive on the Wiener Library's online catalogue



Archival history:

This manuscript collection has survived and was sent to one of Manes' oldest friends as he had directed. It has now been deposited at the Wiener Library by his daughter Eva.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited by Eva Manes.


Publication note:

Als ob's ein leben waer: Tatsachenbericht Theresienstadt, 1942-1944, Manes; Philipp, Leist, Klaus; Barkow, Ben, Ullstein, Berlin, 2005.


Archivist's note: Entry compiled by Howard Falksohn.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: February 2008

Concentration camps | War crimes | Humanitarian law
Family records | Personal papers | Primary documents | Documents | Information sources
Fur | Animal products | Agricultural products
Jews | Religious groups
Poetry | Literary forms and genres | Literature
Third Reich | Nazism | Totalitarianism | Political doctrines

Personal names
Manes | Philipp | 1875-1944 | fur trader

Corporate names
Theresienstadt concentration camp x Terezin

Berlin | Germany | Western Europe | Europe
Czech Republic | Eastern Europe