Manes, Philipp (1875-1944): Personal papers

Scope and Content

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.

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.


Chronological by material type.

Conditions Governing Access


Acquisition Information

Deposited by Eva Manes.

Other Finding Aids

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

Archivist's Note

Entry compiled by Howard Falksohn.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Custodial 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.


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