Skip to main content

Lowenstein Family Papers and Art

Identifier: B333


Ernst Heinrich Loewenstein [Henry Lowenstein] was born in Berlin, Germany in 1925 to a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother. To escape Nazi brutality, he was sent on the Kindertransport to England in 1939. His parents, Dr. Max and Maria Loewenstein, and his half-sister, Karin Steinberg, remained in Berlin during World War II. Shortly after the war the family emigrated to the United States to avoid persecution. Materials in this collection include legal documents and correspondence, personal letters from family and friends, photographs, Maria and Henry Lowenstein's oral histories, as well as an exhibit booklet containing a brief family history in Germany. The collection also contains sketches and acryllic paintings done by Maria Lowenstein, a few of them sketched in German. And there are watercolors of set designs done by Henry Lowenstein for the Bonfils Theater. The collection is arranged chronologically into seven folders and documents the Loewenstein Family's struggle to survive in Berlin during the Holocaust.


  • 1848-2014
  • Majority of material found within 1939-1948


Digital Repository

Lowenstein Family Papers and Art

Biographical / Historical

Henry Lowenstein was born Ernst Heinrich Loewenstein on July 4, 1925 in Berlin, Germany to Dr. Max Moses Loewenstein and Marie [Maria] Lilli Margarete Bätge Loewenstein. Max Loewenstein, called ''Vatchen'' by his children, was Jewish; however, Maria ''Mautzy'' was not. Growing up in pre-World War II Germany, Henry attended a Jewish school and was a member of a Jewish boy scout group where he learned to survive the Nazi terror.

Max Loewenstein was born in Lessen, West Prussia on May 17, 1885. He moved to Germany to study medicine and worked as a ships doctor before becoming an army doctor during World War I. After the war he settled in Berlin where he specialized in dermatology and venereal disease. In Berlin he met, married, and built a life with Maria Steinberg.

Maria Bätge was born in Tallinn, Estonia on April 9, 1894. Maria studied art in St. Petersburg, Russia where she married her first husband Erich Steinberg in 1914. Their daughter, Karin, was born in 1915 in Helsinki, Finland. The family escaped the Russian Revolution in 1917 by moving to Germany. After Erich's death in 1920, Maria moved to Berlin to work as an artist and designer.

In 1939, Heinrich Loewenstein [Henry Lowenstein] was relocated from Berlin on the Kindertransport to safety in England where he remained for the duration of World War II.

Throughout the war, the rest of the Loewenstein family, including Heinrich Loewenstein's [Henry Lowenstein] non-Jewish half-sister Karin Steinberg, remained in Berlin. The family suffered because they lived in a Jewish household, yet Maria was able to save Max from being transported to concentration camps on several occasions. Many of the Loewenstein's friends and family members died in concentration camps or ghettos.

After the war, Karin Steinberg obtained a position as an assistant to Otto Grotewohl, leader of the Socialist Democrats in Germany. In this capacity, she was part of a secret meeting in early 1946 between Grotewohl and Wilhem Pieck, leader of the German Communists. Steinberg learned of their plans against the Western Powers and passed the information to an American contact. In order to protect the Loewenstein family, the United States government facilitated the family's immigration to the United States in 1946.

In 1947, Heinrich Loewenstein [Henry Lowenstein] joined his family in the United States after emigrating from England. It was after the family's immigration to the United States that they changed their name to Lowenstein. Henry Lowenstein served in the Air Force, then attended Yale University Drama School in 1953. After graduation he was recruited by Helen Bonfils to design and produce shows for the Bonfils Theatre in Denver, Colorado later called the Lowenstein Theatre. He also produced plays for the Denver Civic Theatre until his retirement in 1995.

The Loewenstein family, Henry Lowenstein's paternal ancestors, lived in Lessen, West Prussia. Levin Loewenstein, his great-grandfather, was granted Prussian citizenship in 1848 and with citizenship was able to choose a last name. Prior to Levin Loewenstein's citizenship, the family, like all Jews in Eastern Europe, was denied a last name. Levin's son Emil was a grain merchant married to Ernestine. Upon Emil's death in 1908, Ernestine continued to operate the business until the area was ceded to Poland in 1918. Ernestine, called ''Omchen'' by her family, then moved to Berlin, Germany to be near her sons, Max and Georg Loewenstein. Ernestine died a natural death in 1940 before her son and daughter-in-law, Georg and Alice Loewenstein, were deported to the Lodz Ghetto.

The Bätge family, Henry Lowenstein's maternal ancestors, lived in Tallinn, Estonia. Ernst Carl Friedrich Bätge, his great-grandfather, was a merchant and served as mayor of Tallinn 1864-1875. Ernst disinherited his son Dr. Arthur Ernst Bätge when Arthur decided to become a medical doctor rather than join the family's merchant business. Arthur was married to Therese Sophie Agathe Berg the daughter of a merchant. Their daughter was Marie Lilli Margarete Bätge Steinberg Loewenstein.

Henry Lowenstein's cousin, Ingrid Lind, was raised by the Loewensteins after her mother died and her Danish father deserted his children. In 1939, Ingrid went to Denmark as she had duel citizenship and a Danish passport. From there she went to Sweden, then across Russia to the Middle East where she joined the British Army. Ingrid was in England at the end of the war.


26.75 Linear Feet (15 containers)

Scope and Contents

Materials in this collection were gathered and preserved by Henry Lowenstein's mother Maria Loewenstein. Materials include legal documents and correspondence from the Nazi government of Germany, identification papers issued by the Nazi government, ration books, personal correspondence including letters from family sent through the Red Cross and friends in the Theresienstadt Concntration Camp and Lodz (Lodj) Ghetto, photographs, legal documents and utility receipts used by Maria Loewenstein to prove she was not a Jew, admission and discharge papers from the Wittenauer Sanatorium, Socialist Democratic Party membership cards, and Henry Lowenstein's videographed oral history and an exhibit book containing a brief written history of his family. The collection also contains artwork created by Marie and Henry Lowenstein. The collection ranges from 1848 to 2013.


The collection is arranged chronologically into nine series:; 1. Pre-War and Kindertransport, 1848-1939; 2. The War Years: Berlin, 1940-1945; 3. Lodz Ghetto, 1941; 4. Correspondence: England and Theresienstadt, 1944; 5. Post War Berlin and Social Democratic Party, 1945-1946; 6. Emigration, 1946-1947; 7. Lowenstein Family Holocaust Exhibit Booklet and oral history, 1848-1948; 8. Marie Lowenstein, ; and 9. Henry Lowenstein, .

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Henry E. Lowenstein, March 21, 2011 and the Estate of Henry E. Lowenstein, .

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428