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Wiener Library

L÷wenstein, Heinz Werner: correspondence (1935-1949)


Reference code(s): GB 1556 WL 643

Held at: Wiener Library

Title: L÷wenstein, Heinz Werner: correspondence (1935-1949)

Date(s): 1935-1949

Level of description: collection

Extent: 5 folders

Name of creator(s): L÷wenstein | Heinz Werner | fl 1935-1943 | German-Jewish emigrant in South Africa


Administrative/Biographical history:

Heinz Werner L÷wenstein emigrated to South Africa in 1935. He became a sergeant in the South African Army [1941]; saw action in North Africa, 1942; Italian prisoner of war, Oct 1942; repatriated, Apr 1943.


Scope and content/abstract:

Correspondence of Heinz Werner L÷wenstein, documenting his experiences as a German Jew who emigrated to South Africa in 1935, and the experiences of his parents who remained in Berlin, and who disappeared after having been transported to Riga, Jan 1942. 643/1-4 consists of correspondence between Heinz Werner L÷wenstein and his parents, 1935-1940. The letters provide an interesting account of the difficulties encountered by a young immigrant trying to make his way in South Africa as well as of the life led by Jewish people in pre-war Berlin. The letters make hardly any reference to the political situation and the real hardships and dangers of the parents' lives are hidden. 643/5 comprises correspondence from Heinz Werner L÷wenstein while he was a sergeant in the South African Army to his friends, Hans and Milly Hirsch, 1941-1943. There is an uninterrupted flow of letters describing life in the army in North Africa until June 1942. In October, the correspondence resumes with a post card from an Italian POW camp. This is followed by more frequent letters after his repatriation in April 1943. The letters not only give a very vivid picture of life in the army and in the POW camp, they are also testimony to the close friendship between L÷wenstein and Hans Hirsch, who had known each other in Germany since before their emigration.


Language/scripts of material: German and English

System of arrangement:

The papers have been arranged chronologically into 5 folders, 643/1-5. 643/1-4 contains the correspondence between Heinz Werner L÷wenstein and his parents and is in German. 643/5 contains correspondence from Heinz Werner L÷wenstein to Hans and Milly Hirsch and is in English.

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:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The collection comprises two separate deposits from the family L÷wenstein in 1988.



Archivist's note: Compiled by Sarah Drewery.

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: Mar 2008

Emigration | Migration
German history | European history | National history
Jews | Religious groups
Refugees | Migrants
War prisoners | War victims | International conflicts
World War Two (1939-1945) | World wars (events) | Wars (events)

Personal names
L÷wenstein | Heinz Werner | fl 1935-1943 | German-Jewish emigrant in South Africa

Corporate names

Berlin | Germany | Western Europe | Europe
South Africa | Southern Africa