Scope and arrangement
The Kohlbach-Bickel Papers span the years 1860 to 1952, and consist of correspondence, professional and official documents, family photographs, original artwork, printed publications, and other miscellaneous papers.
The collection is organized into five series. A fair amount of the papers, in particular Emil's postcards to his parents from the front during World War I, and several family documents, are in Hungarian. The majority of Helen and Bertalan Kohlbach's correspondence with their children is in German. Bertalan Kohlbach's professional materials are predominantly in Hungarian, with German and a small amount of Hebrew present.
Ella and Erich's letters to Bertalan and Helen represent the largest series in the collection. In these letters, they discuss personal and family matters, sometimes including comments on the economic situation in Germany in the 1920s, in particular the hyperinflation. There is little discussion of the political situation which would eventually force their removal to Switzerland. The majority of correspondence in the collection is largely personal in nature.
Although the bulk of materials pertain to the Kohlbach and Bickel family members, there are some documents belonging to members of the Katscher family, relatives of Helen Kohlbach nee Katscher. The postcards arranged in Helen and Bertalan Kohlbach Postcards Received subseries contain communications from Helen's half-brother, the writer Leopold Katscher. There are also various documents from 1938 that certify the Jewish ancestry and material wealth of Moritz Katscher and his twin daughters, Elsa and Klara, both of whom would die during the war.
The Kohlbach-Bickel family papers are arranged in five series:
- 1896-19445 boxes
- 1866-19521 box
Family documents held in this series consist primarily of educational documents, but also include a small amount of identification papers, children's schoolwork, calling and membership cards, financial materials--some of which belong to close relations of the Kohlbach's, and an account in German of Helen Kohlbach's 1943 escape from Hungary to safety in Switzerland.
There are educational certificates and diplomas for Bertalan, Helen and Ella, including Bertalan's diploma and wax seal for his doctorate. The identification papers consist of several passports and citizenship papers for Ella and Helen, containing photographs in several instances.
The Kohlbach financial materials consist of bank statements, a financial ledger, and ration cards. There is also an account from 1938 of the assets belonging to Helen's brother Moritz Katscher, and his twin daughters Elsa and Klara, both of whom died at the hands of the Nazis.
Materials are in Hungarian and German.
- 1872-1943, n.d.0.5 boxes
Bertalan Kohlbach's professional materials consist of his writing and notes, paired with a list of his literary publications from 1890-1895. The writings produced by Kohlbach himself are primarily sermon texts, biblical analyses, and notes, and exist in both manuscript and printed form. Many coincide with his time as a rabbi in Temesvár. There are some printed sermons from other nineteenth-century rabbis, in addition to excerpts from letters and sermons written by the same.
The list of Kohlbach's literary work contains approximately 40 articles and includes article title, journal or newspaper title--of which one example is the Temesvárer Zeitung--and two separate dates, of which one appears to be date of submission, and the second date of publication.
Materials are in Hungarian, German, and Hebrew.
- 1900-19403 folders
Printed matter in the collection consists of pamphlets, newspaper clippings, and souvenir picture books and articles.
The pamphlets are generally materials of likely professional interest to Bertalan Kohlbach, and include a few items written by Kohlbach's brother-in-law Leopold Katscher. The file of newspaper clippings contain materials similar in focus to the pamphlets, in addition to articles and letters submitted by Kohlbach himself. Several of these articles were attributed to Berthold Kohlbach.
Highlights among the souvenir picture books are an undated book of photographs of the city of Dresden previous to World War II; and a book of photos of the Paris World's Fair of 1900.
In German, Hungarian, and French.
- ca. 1860-19403.5 boxes
The sizable number of photographs in this collection are arranged by subject, and include images of immediate family and their houses, other relatives, friends, several years of Bertalan Kohlbach's school classes, WWI troops and trenches, family vacations, and European cities such as Sarajevo and Budapest. There are a significant number of cabinet cards and cartes-de-visites, in addition to small and larger format printed photographs.
Among the photographs of immediate family are images of Bertalan and Helen Kohlbach spanning their adult lives, a large number of their daughter Ella and her husband and three children, and photos of Emil--in particular his photos taken on the front during WWI, which show troops and trenches.
Photographs of relatives include members from the Katscher, Oblath and Schwimmer families, among others, with a large number of images of Leopold and Bertha Katscher. There are also a fair amount of photos of Rosika and Franciska Schwimmer.
The original artwork present in the collection is represented by a small amount of drawings by Ella Kohlbach and László Kácser (sic).