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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 379

Papers of Lilli Cohen Kretzmer, ca.1945-1981


Memoir, postcards, photographs, clippings, etc., of Lilli Cohen Kretzmer, lawyer and refugee advocate.


  • Creation: 1945-1981

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

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.


.21 linear feet (1/2 file box) plus 1 reel of microfilm (M-119)

"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.


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.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

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

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
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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