Access and Provenance

Institutional Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Box and Folder Listing

A Finding Aid to the

New Hope Congregation (Cincinnati, Ohio) Historical Collection

Manuscript Collection No. 766

1934-1988. 5.9 Linear ft.


The New Hope Congregation, Cincinnati, Ohio Historical Collection was donated to the American Jewish Archives by Benny Kraut, Cincinnati, Ohio, over a period of several years. Benny Kraut, by the act of donating the New Hope Congregation, Cincinnati, Ohio Historical Collection to the American Jewish Archives, assigned the property rights to the American Jewish Archives. All literary rights to material authored by Benny Kraut are held by the Kraut heirs. All literary rights to materials authored by others are retained by the individuals and their heirs. Questions concerning rights should be addressed to the Executive Director of the American Jewish Archives.

The New Hope Congregation, Cincinnati, Ohio Historical Collection is open to all users. The original manuscript collection is available in the reading room of the American Jewish Archives


Benny Kraut (1947-2008) was the son of Holocaust survivors. He served as the director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Queens College for a decade (beginning in the 1990s), and was a history professor. Prior to his time at Queens, Dr. Kraut was director of Judaic Studies and a professor at the University of Cincinnati. He served in these capacities for two decades in Cincinnati.

Kraut was widely published in the fields of modern and American Jewish history and Judaism. He wrote three books, over three dozen scholarly essays and book chapters, and nearly 150 book reviews. In 1985, Dr. Kraut co-edited Jews and the Founding of the Republic with Samuel Joseph and Jonathan D. Sarna.

Benny Kraut was married to Penina, with whom he had three children: Racheli, Yehuda, and Yosefa. He died on September 19, 2008 while playing baseball.


The New Hope Congregation, Cincinnati, Ohio Historical Collection consists of notes, correspondence, meeting minutes, newsletters, programs, legal documents, biographical material, photographs, newspaper articles, transcripts of interviews, and audiocassette recordings of interviews. The collection was assembled by Dr. Benny Kraut when he researched his book German-Jewish Orthodoxy in an Immigrant Synagogue: Cincinnati’s New Hope Congregation and the Ambiguities of Ethnic Religion.

Dr. Kraut intended to accomplish two things as the result of his research. First, by writing a history of New Hope Congregation and its auxiliary functions, he proposed to examine the extent to which New Hope was both typical and unique in comparison with other newly-created German-Jewish congregations of the 1930's and 1940's. Second, Kraut wished to analyze the historical dynamics and social processes at work in producing churches and synagogues at any time, the impact of the immigrant experience on ethnicity and religion, and the role of religious institutions as vehicles of acculturation. He foresaw the significance of the New Hope case study lying both in its detail and in its measured generalizations. The result of his study would, he hoped, be an enhanced understanding of major aspects of the experiences of German-Jewish immigrants of the 1930's. Happily, all of these goals were realized with the publication of Kraut’s book in 1989.

The research material collected by Benny Kraut for his study of New Hope Congregation was accumulated during the 1980s, and was provided to him almost entirely by members of the congregation or their children. Because of the gap between the time when documents were written and the subsequent time when they were collected, there are lacunae in the board meeting minutes, in the congregation’s various iterations of its newsletter, in congregational correspondence - in fact, in all the sets of documents brought together in this collection. Records are arranged alphabetically, then chronologically within folders. There is no chronological arrangement in Series D. Original order was maintained in Series E. Where there is no language mentioned, it can be assumed records are in English.

There are five series in the collection. Please note that there are two “Interview” series; the subjects discussed in the transcripts are quite different from the subjects discussed on tape.


SERIES A. The materials in the first series are comprised mostly of Dr. Kraut’s notes, although scholarly articles and a small amount of correspondence are also present. Dr. Kraut’s proposal and project description can be found in this series.

SERIES B. The Gate Club was an organization whose membership was made up of recent German-Jewish immigrants who settled in Cincinnati during the 1930s and 1940s. Gate Club members were frequently New Hope Congregation members. The purpose of the club was to help immigrants in adjusting to their new life in the United States, while at the same time offering a friendly and familiar ambience. A significant portion of the documents in this series are in German.

SERIES C. The records in this series offer the researcher a window on the history of the congregation. In particular, one gains a sense of what was most important to this German-Jewish community in the way of religious observance. Leaders of the congregation and their contributions to it are well documented. This series also contains a good deal that is written in German.

SERIES D. While it is apparent that Dr. Kraut’s case study was not intended to be a study of the Holocaust, the historic event known as the Holocaust is what caused these German Jews to come to the United States when they did. The personal tragedies of New Hope members are related in these extensive interviews, along with often-sweet stories of happy childhoods and fond memories of good times.

SERIES E. The audiocassettes in this series include interviews with Harold Silberman, Leo Teitz, Ruth Kaplowitz, Eugenia Susskind, Rabbi Manfred Rabenstein and others. The subject of the interviews is New Hope Congregation. One of the tapes, though not an interview, is of particular interest. It is a lecture delivered by Dr. Kraut at Hebrew Union College of Cincinnati on April 20, 1983. The title of the lecture was “Ambiguities of an Ethnic Immigrant Synagogue: New Hope Congregation.”


Box	Folder	Contents

SERIES A.  Research materials.  Various dates, 1977-1984.

1	1		Research material.  1977, 1981, 1983.
	2		Research material.  1982-1983.
	3		Research material.  1983.
	4		Research material.  1983, n.d.
	5		Research material.  1983-1984.
	6		Research material.  Various dates.
	7		Research material.  Various dates.
	8		Research material.  Various dates.
	9		Research material.  Various dates.
	10		Research material.  Various dates.

SERIES B.  Gate Club.  1941-1950.

2	1		Board Meeting Minutes.  1943-1949.
	2		Correspondence.  1941-1946.
	3		Correspondence.  1947-1950.
	4		Events.  1944-1953.
	5		German-language documents.  1941-1949.
	6		Jewish Center.  1943-1949.
	7		Jewish Community Council.  1934, 1946-1948.
	8		Membership.  1941-1948.
	9		Newspaper clippings.  Probably mid- to late-1940's.
	10		Packages for servicemen.  1943-1945.
	11		Refugee agencies.  1943-1950.

SERIES C.  New Hope Congregation.  1939-1982.

3	1		Anniversaries - 25th, 30th, 35th, 40th.  1964, 1969, 1974, 1979.
	2		Board Meeting and General Meeting Minutes.  German and English.  1939-1941.
	3		Board Meeting and General Meeting Minutes.  German and English.  1942-1944.
	4		General Meeting Minutes.  German.  1941-1962.  General Meeting Minutes.  English.  1963-1970.  Constitution.  1968.
	5		Board Meeting Minutes.  1945-1949.				
	6		Board Meeting Minutes.  1951-1959 (early years in German).
	7		Board Meeting Minutes.  1960-1966.
	8		Cemetery, Purchase of land for.  1939, 1941-1942, 1949-1950, 1952-1953.
	9		Correspondence.  1945-1947.
	10		Correspondence.  1948-1960.

4	1		Correspondence.  1960-1967.
	2		Correspondence.  1967-1968.
	3		Correspondence.  1969-1973.
	4		Customs of the Congregation.  German and English.
	5		Dedication of Synagogue.  1950.
	6		Dedication of Synagogue.  1959.
	7		Education, Adult and Youth.
	8		Events.  1965-1983, n.d.
	9		Executive Committee Correspondence.  1967-1979.  General Meeting
			Minutes.  1957-1979.
	10		Member Records, Expired.
	11		Member Records.  A-H.
	12		Member Records.  I-R
	13		Member Records.  S-Z.
	14		Membership Lists.  1944-1981.

5	1		New Hope Congregation Building, Purchase of land for.  1950, 1957-1959.
	2		New Hope Newsletters.  1945-1975.
	3		Newspaper articles.  1944-1945, various.
	4		Night letter to Pres. Johnson regarding Israel and the U.N.    N.d.
	5		Photographs.  1959-1983.
	6		Photographs.  Displaced persons.  N.d.
	7		Plays.  German.  
	8		Plays.  English.

6	1		Rabenstein, Rabbi Manfred.  1942-1982, n.d.
	2		Services, High Holy Days.  1943-1981.
	3		Sisterhood.  Constitution.  1968.  
	3		Sisterhood.  Meeting Minutes and Correspondence.  1941-1948.  
	3		Sisterhood.  Bulletin.  German and English.  1961-1969, n.d.
	4		Site Map, Proposed Building.  1956.
	5		Miscellaneous.

SERIES D.  Interview Transcripts.

7	1		?    December 6, 1978.
	2		Abraham, Ella.  August 11, 1981.					
	3		Bamberger, Else.  N.d.
	4		Bernheim, Hanna.  December 15, 1980.
	5		Bernheim, John.  January 19, 1981.
	6		Bonem, Doris.  December 11, 1980.
	7		Burger, Dorothea May (Mrs. Max).  January 30, 1981.
	8		Coppel, Ronald.  May 2, 1981.
	9		Coppel, Werner.  March 3, 1981.
	10		Deutsch, Siegfried.  March 18, 1981.
	11		DeWald, Alice.  July 20, 1981.
	12		DeWald, Oscar.  August 1, 1981.
	13		Docter, Doris.  April 1, 1982.
	14		Doctor, Bernard.  July 7, 1982.
	15		Eichelberg, Hugo.  March 1, 1982.

8	1		Falk, Dr. John.  February 22, 1981.
	2		Feder, Marian.  February 18, 1981.
	3		Feige, Lisolette and Rudolf.  N.d.
	4		Frankel, Ernst.  June 10, 1982.
	5		Freudenthal, Susan.  February 16, ?
	6		Friedeman, Inge.  March 1981.
	7		Friedenberg, Emmy.	March 25, 1981.
	8		Geisel, Albert.  April 28, 1981.
	9		Goldberg, Inge.  March 30, 1981.
	10		Gray, Mr. And Mrs.  February 28, 1981.

9	1		Haas, Adolph.  December 10, 1980.
	2		Haas, Henry.  December, 1980.
	3		Hart, Henny.  December 22, 1980.
	4		Hattenbach, Walter.  July 24, 1982.
	5		Heiman, Paul. May 25, 1982.
	6		Hertzman, Madeline.  December, 1980.
	7		Kaelter, Else.  May 5, 1982.
	8		Kahn, Else.  April 20, 1982.
	9		Kahn, Ernest.  March 31, 1981.
	10		Kahn, John.  February 7, 1981.
	11		Kahn, Ralph.  March 24, 1982.
	12		Knapp, Judy Ann.  January 30, 1981.
	13		Koplowitz, Ruth.  December 25, 1980.
	14		Kramer, Leo.  December 12, 1980.
	15		Kropfeld, Ruth.  N.d.
	16		Kwiatek, Lottie.  January 7, ?

10	1		Lahm, Barbara.  April 23, 1981.					
	2		Leiter, Lotte.  September 23, 1981.
	3		Lichtenberg, Hilda.  January 15, 1981.
	4		Maier, Irma.  January 7, 1982.
	5		Margolis, Bea.  July 29, 1982.
	6		Megel, Ellie.  N.d.
	7		Mosse, Henry.  June 1, 1981.
	8		Mott, Jeanette.  November 18, 1980.
	9		Neiger, James.  N.d.
	10		Oppenheimer, Jules.  N.d.
	11		Peerless, Miriam.  September 16, 1981.
	12		Pressman, Marianne.  July 15, 1982.
	13		Raunheim, Lotte.  April 1, 1981.
	14		Rothfeld, Edmond.  May 17, 1981.
	15		Rothschild, Hilda.  N.d.

11	1		Schaal, Lillie.  June 19, 1981.
	2		Seelig, Mrs. Alfred.  February 12, 1981.
	3		Spiegel, Anne.  May 12, 1981.
	4		Sternweikler, Rudy.  May 14, 1981.
	5		Straus, John and Marga.  January 19, 1981.
	6		Susskind, Eugenia.  April 13, ?
	7		Swenty, Fred.  December 11, 1980.
	8		Tauber, Ruth.  May 14, ?	
	9		Tattmar, Paula.  June 26, ?
	10		Weisbacher, Kurt.  May 11, 1982.
	11		Weiser, Rocky.  April 21, 1981.
	12		Wise, Richard.  January 12, 1981.
	13		Wohl, Rosie.  January 6, 1981.
	14		Wolf, Henny.  March 24, 1981.
	15		Wolf, Herbert.  May 12, 1981.
	16		Wolf, Ursula.  February 6, 1981.
	17		Summaries of Interviews.  Handwritten.
	18		Kraut Indexes.  Handwritten.	

SERIES E.  Interviews on audiocassettes.

	C-4537	Silberman, Harold.  July 4, 1983.
	C-4538	Petuchowski, Jacob.  March 7, 1983.  First of two tapes.
	C-4539	Petuchowski, Jacob.  March 7, 1983.  Second of two tapes.
	C-4540	Koplowitz, Ruth.  February 16, 1983.
	C-4541	Koplowitz, Ruth.  March 5, 1983.  Regarding play written in 1940.
	C-4542	Susskind, Eugenia.  July 4, 1983.
	C-4543	Kahn, Ernst.  March 15, 1983.					
	C-4544	Kahn, Ernst.  June 30, 1983.
	C-4545	Rabenstein, Manfred.  March 7, 1983.
	C-4546	Susskind, Stuart.  July 8, 1983.
	C-4547	Cohen, Getzel (?).  June 14, 1983.
	C-4548	Scheibe, Edith.  July 7, 1983.
	C-4549	Tidich, Rabbi.  June 30, 1983.
	C-4550	Teitz.  N.d.
	C-4551	Teitz, Questions for Dr. Eric
	C-4552	Schottenfels, Gerry.  February 16, 1983.  First of two tapes.
	C-4553	Schottenfels, Gerry.  February 16, 1983.  Second of two tapes.
	C-4554	 ?          June 7, 1982.
	C-4555	Rabenstein, Bene.  N.d.
	C-4556	Kraut, Benny.  Lecture, Hebrew Union College.  April 20, 1983
			“Ambiguities of an Ethnic Immigrant Synagogue: New Hope Congregation.”
	C-4557	Rabenstein, Arno.  March 4, 1984.
	C-4558	Appel, Les.  July 7, 1983.
	C-4559	Rabenstein, Arno.  May 3, 1984.
	C-4560	Teitz, Ms (?).  July 3, 1983.

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