Brandeis Library Acquires Caroline Goldbach Israeli Stamp Collection

Goldbach familyIn honor of Israel’s Independence Day, observed this year from the evening of April 14 through April 15, the Brandeis Library's Special Collections is delighted to announce the donation of the Caroline Goldbach Israeli Stamp Collection.

The collection highlights how “ordinary” lives can reflect much broader historical narratives. Caroline Goldbach, nee Meyers (1922-2020), lived her entire life in Indianapolis, Ind. There, she met Fritz Goldbach, who had fled Nazi Germany in December 1938, six weeks after Kristallnacht. Fritz’s two sisters, Ilse Chorin and Martha Speyer, escaped to Israel. Over the years, Ilse and Martha, along with other family friends, sent stamps from Israel to Caroline, forming a material link among the dispersed siblings. The collection was donated to Special Collections by Caroline Goldbach's two daughters, Anne Goldbach and Lisa Goldbach Geisse.

Stamp depicting signing of peace treatyThe collection’s genesis story thus reflects the seismic shift in the 20th Century of the world’s Jewish population from its pre-war center in Europe to North America and Israel, and one example of a quotidian means by which ordinary citizens coped with these traumatic transformations. At the same time, the collection’s commemorative stamps highlight specific historical moments, including previous Independence Days and the 1979 signing of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty.

Stamps also highlight additional aspects of Israeli society, culture, and scientific achievements. And one celebrates Kibbutz Tirat Zvi, whose 1938 founders included a large number of recent immigrants from Germany, and home to Ilse Goldbach Chorin and her family. The Goldbach Collection beautifully complements another collection of framed Israeli stamps held by Special Collections.

Illustration by E.M.LilienDuring the past year, Brandeis Library has also been honored with the generous donation by Hannah Sivak of Arizona, of the 1903 edition of collected works of the Zionist illustrator E.M.Lilien (1874-1925), with an introduction by renowned Austrian Jewish writer Stefan Zweig. The book includes, among other treasures, Lilien’s plate commemorating the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basel (1901).

For more information on these collections and other collections, email or Judaica Librarian Rachel Greenblatt at For more on Brandeis’s distinctive collections, visit the Brandeis University Archives and Special Collections website.