Correspondence with Cohen, David

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 1556 3000/9/1/280
  • Dates of Creation
      01/10/1952 - 20/11/1963
  • Language of Material
      German English
  • Physical Description
      295 items

Scope and Content

Containing numerous handwritten letters by Cohen and covering professional as well as personal matters the correspondence documents the long-term and amicable association between correspondents. It centres on various Library related issues including: a restitution related enquiry on the salary of C.C. Aronsfeld at the JCIO (1954); a trip of Alfred Wiener to Belgium and The Netherlands to detect or compile eyewitness accounts for the Library’s eyewitness testimony project (1955); or a German language paper by Cohen on the history of the JCIO (1959).

Particular reference is made to archival material compiled by the Dutch Jewish Refugee Committee in the 1930s, and held by The Wiener Library. Its storage, cataloguing, and use for historical research as well as source material for restitution claims is a subject of interest for nearly a decade (1953-1961). Contained three copies of a detailed export report by Cohen on the custodial history, the content, and the arrangement of this very archive as well as a brief report by E. Schaefer from the United Restitution Organisation in London on its legal value for restitution claims (both July 1959).

The correspondence further reflects current political, social and cultural affairs related to Jewry, as they are discussed by the correspondents. This includes among others antisemitic incidents in West Germany (1959/1960) and the Netherlands (1962) as well as the controversial publications The Representative by German playwright R. Hochhuth and Eichmann in Jerusalem by H. Arendt (both 1963).

Aside letters and export reports the papers contain a draft for a newsletter article, some minor press cuttings, an obituary card, and three undated résumés of Cohen (in English and German).

Administrative / Biographical History

Prof. Dr. David Cohen (1883-1967) was a Jewish-Dutch historian and prominent Zionist leader. He was approached by Alfred Wiener in 1933 for assistance to establish the Jewish Central Information Office (JCIO) in Amsterdam and Cohen became its president. Since 1941 he was co-chairman of the Dutch Jewish Council before being deported to Theresienstadt two years later. Due to the Council’s controversial activities Cohen became a greatly controversial figure in postwar Netherlands as well as a major theme in Dutch historiography. See Schrijvers, P.,, Leiden, Historische Uitgeverij, 1999.

Access Information


Related Material

For information about the eyewitness testimony project and access to the compiled reports see the

See also the Comite voor Joodsche Vluechtlingen: Correspondence collection.