Helen Koch Elder: personal papers

Scope and Content

This collection contains the personal papers of Helen Koch Elder, who emigrated to the United States in the 1930s to escape Nazi persecutions. Included are photocopy of birth certificate, school certificates, curriculum vitae, certificate of Christian baptism in the United States, affidavit regarding the change of her name, photographs and press cuttings.

Administrative / Biographical History

Helen Koch Elder (née Hannah Maria Regina Koch) was born in 1917 as one of five children of physician and university professor Richard Hermann Koch (1882-1949) and his wife Maria Margarete Rosenthal (died 1973). Helen grew up in the Jewish community of Frankfurt am Main, Hesse. Her education at the Technical High School for Women ('Höhere Fachschule für Frauenberufe') was cut short due to the introduction of anti-Jewish laws in 1933. She trained as a dressmaker between 1934 and 1936. Due to the increasing difficulties to live and work under the Nazi regime the whole family emigrated between 1936 and 1938. Her parents, sister Gertrude and brother Friedrich emigrated to Essentuki in the Soviet Union, her sisters Naomi and Eva left for Palestine, and Helen went to the United States. None of the family members returned to Germany after the Second World War.

Helen converted to Christianity in 1940 and got married to Robert A Elder in 1942. She became an American citizen in 1944.


Chronological and by subject and document type

Access Information

See Wiener Library access conditions at: http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/usinglibrary/usingthelibrary.aspx

Acquisition Information

Donated by Christa Wichmann



Related Material

See also Photo Archive 2007/36. The majority of papers relating to the Koch family are held at the Leo Baeck Institute, New York.