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MC 379

Kretzmer, Lilli Cohen. Papers of Lilli Cohen Kretzmer, ca.1945-1981: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: MC 379
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Lilli Cohen Kretzmer
Title: Papers of Lilli Cohen Kretzmer, ca.1945-1981
Date(s): 1945-1981
Quantity: .21 linear feet (1/2 file box) plus 1 reel of microfilm (M-119)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Memoir, postcards, photographs, clippings, etc., of Lilli Cohen Kretzmer, lawyer and refugee advocate.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 87-M4, 87-M85, 88-M1
These papers of Lilli (Cohen) Kretzmer were given to the Schlesinger Library by Lilli Cohen Kretzmer in January and May 1987. Volume 1 was microfilmed by General Microfilm in January 1988.

Processing Information:

Processed: June 1987
By: Elizabeth Balcom

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. Volume 1 is also available on microfilm (M-119).

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Lilli Cohen Kretzmer as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Lilli Cohen Kretzmer Papers, ca.1945-1981; item description, dates. MC 379, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Lilli Cohen Kretzmer was born in Germany, in Moenchen-Gladbach, Lower Rhineland, and studied law at the University of Bonn. She married Dr. Eugen Kretzmer, a dermatologist; they had two children: a daughter Lore, and a son Ernest.
The Kretzmers and Lilli Cohen Kretzmer's mother left Germany in 1939, staying for a short time on the Isle of Man while waiting for papers allowing them to enter the United States. In 1940 they settled in Worcester, Massachusetts, where Eugen Kretzmer died in 1955.
In 1948 Lilli Cohen Kretzmer became Director of the Immigration and Naturalization Office of the Worcester Section of the National Council of Jewish Women; she also chaired the newly-created Resettlement Department, which worked with the Jewish Family Service to help Jewish refugees who came to the United States after World War II. In the early 1950s, as a representative of the United Restitution Organization, she helped refugees from Germany fill out the necessary forms and file claims for restitution. In 1966 the President of the Federal Republic of Germany awarded Kretzmer the Officer's Cross of the German Order of Merit in recognition of her work in aiding refugees.
With her earlier legal training and her experience in working with refugees, Kretzmer was able to pass the necessary examination so that in 1949 the Board of Immigration Appeals of the United States Department of Justice licensed her to appear in court to handle cases in this field.


"The Years Which the Locust Hath Eaten" is a bound typescript, with a brief handwritten addendum. The narrative covers approximately the period from 1936 to 1945, and describes the events and thoughts leading to the Kretzmer family's decision to leave Nazi Germany and seek refuge in the United States. The volume includes two postcards and 13 photographs, most of buildings and landscapes in places that the Kretzmers visited or in which they stayed. Also included is a folder of clippings about Kretzmer.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Jews--United States
Jewish refugees
Jewish women--Biography
World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, Jewish
Worcester (Mass.)--Biography
National Council of Jewish Women
United Restitution Organization