» Resources   » Archival Collections   » Lachmann Family Papers
The Lachmann Family Papers (1919-1979)
ACC#: 2002.008
EXTENT: 0.5 linear feet, 1 box

Biographical and Historical Note
Arno, Lilly and Leo Lachmann emigrated from Berlin, Germany, where their family had lived for generations, to Shanghai in 1939. Shanghai became a haven for Jewish refugees from Germany, Austria and Poland because it was the only place in the world one could land without a visa or official paper of any kind. The refugees managed to re-create some facets of their European lifestyle, as reflected in their cultural, religious, and social institutions and activities. With the advent of the war in the Pacific, the Japanese - under pressure from the Nazi regime - established a ghetto on Feb. 18, 1943. The conditions in the ghetto were not as bad as in Europe, and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (Joint Committee) eventually was allowed to provide financial aid.

Lachman Family Papers


Vaccination certificate for Arno Lachmann.

The Lachmanns emigrated to the United States in 1946. Most Jews had left Shanghai by the time the Maoist communist regime took over Shanghai in 1949.

Collection Overview (Scope and Content Note):
The Lachmann Family Papers are housed in one archival box and are arranged in seven series. Series have been designated for Correspondence, Emigration from Germany to Shanghai, Immigration to the United States, Other Family Papers, Currency, Newspapers and Miscellaneous.

The collection consists of documents and letters relating to Arno and Lilly Lachmann and their son, Leo. The majority of the documents concern the family’s emigration from Germany to Shanghai in 1939. The Lachmanns left Shanghai for the United States in 1947. The majority of the documents indicate how tedious and difficult the procedure was for Jewish emigration from Germany during the Nazi regime.

Other documents include birth, death and marriage licenses, as well as driver’s permits. Some items concern the family’s time spent in Shanghai.

Series Descriptions:

  • Series 1: Correspondence, both incoming and outgoing, is housed in Folder 1 and is arranged chronologically by date. These letters also include those written by the family from Shanghai in 1941, 1942, 1946 and 1947. Later correspondence, from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, concern governmental matters. One letter on L. Lachmann stationery written in 1933, contains two small black-and-white photographs of a man and a woman.
  • Series 2: Emigration from Germany to Shanghai1, 1933-1939 Documents relating to the emigration process are housed in Folders 2 and 3 and are arranged by folder number.
    Folder 2: German passports of Arno and Lilly appear first, and then certified documents are arranged chronologically by date. These documents include police registrations for the Lachmanns, and an international driver’s license issued to Arno, certified birth certificates and certificates of good conduct. All of the documents bear the Nazi seal.
    Folder 3: Documents are arranged chronologically by the following groups: inventories, Jewish affairs, financial records, shipping records, and Shanghai affairs. The detailed inventories list the personal effects as well as the household goods of the family prior to emigration. The items from the organized Jewish community in Berlin include birth registrations and those proving the family’s good standing in the Jewish community. The financial records are awaiting translation.
  • Series 3: Immigration to the United States, 1941-53
    Documents and papers relating to the years in Shanghai and the immigration to the United States are housed in Folder 4 and are arranged chronologically by date. Shanghai papers include several concerning permission to drive motor vehicles, a letter in Chinese, several papers regarding the Lachmann family and an international certificate of innoculation and vaccination. Several documents attest to the Lachmanns' situation as stateless people - an UNRRA document declaring Arno and Lilly to be displaced persons eligible for UNRRA assistance and separate affidavits for Arno and Lilly signed by the U.S. consul in Shanghai to be used in place of passports. Also included is an Alien Head Tax Receipt received when the Lachmanns entered the United States, a letter from the Joint Committee giving them permission to take two army blankets to the United States and two U.S. naturalization certificates for Arno and Lilly Lachmann.
  • Series 4: Other Family Papers, 1898-1974
    Family documents not directly related to the emigration process are housed in Folder 5 and are arranged chronologically by date. Such documents include birth, death and marriage records; family registers; police documents; and canceled U.S. passports.
  • Series 5: Currency 1910-1945
    Currency is housed in Folder 6 and is arranged by date within nationality. German currency is dated from 1910-1923, and the Chinese currency is dated 1945.
  • Series 6: Newspapers, 1979
    This series is housed in Folder 7 and arranged chronologically by date. There are two pages from the newspaper Die Wiedergutmachung und Recht des Alters (The Reparation and the Rights of the Elders) dated Nov. 23, 1979 and Dec. 14, 1979.
  • Series 7: Miscellaneous
    This series is housed in Folder 8. Items include an empty envelope and a visitors' guide and map to San Francisco dated January 1943.

Provenance: These materials came in one accession in 2002 (Acc.# 2002.008) as a gift of Leo Lachmann, who inherited these documents from his parents, who kept them for their own family history.

Restrictions and Separations: No restrictions. One item has been separated from the collection. One German map is located on the oversize shelf (OV shelf F/2).

Catalog Entries:

  • Subjects:
    Emigration – Germany
    Immigration – United States
    United Nations (UNRRA)
    American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (Joint)
  • Added Entries:
    Lachmann, Arno
    Lachmann, Lilly
    Lachmann, Leo
  • Processed by: Ellen Trachtenberg and Lisa Moellering
  • Date completed: Aug. 28, 2002

Container List:

Box/ Location    Folder    Series                                                             Dates        
1                      1           Correspondence                                               1919-1979
1                      2-3        Emigration from Germany to Shanghai               1933-1939
1                      4           Shanghai and Immigration to the United States   1941-1953
1                      5           Other family papers                                          1898-1974
1                      6           Currency                                                         1914-1945
1                      7           Newspapers                                                     1979
1                      8           Miscellaneous

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