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Papers of Gerhard, Anneliese and Ruth Braun, 1880-2008


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  • Creation: 1880-2008

Language of Materials

  • German

Biographical / Historical

Gerhard Braun (1893-1946) was Konrad Braun's elder brother. By profession he was a gynaecologist but he was also a gifted pianist and a composer. As a young man he served as a medical officer in the First World War and then as an American POW. In 1927 he married Anneliese Finster (1901-1996), known in the family as 'Pummel' or 'Puppe'. Her first marriage in 1918 was to Erwin Czapski. Her daughter Ruth ('Rüthli', 1926-1999) was adopted by Gerhard Braun.

Due to the Friedmann-Brauns' Jewish ancestry, the family faced discrimination and persecution under the Nazi regime. Gerhard Braun, after losing his posts in the public health system and seeing his practice limited to private patients and later to Jews only, was arrested in the course of the November pogrom in 1938 and taken to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he was detained for five and a half weeks. He was released in December 1938 on condition that he emigrated. The family came to England in early 1939, where after internment as an enemy alien, Gerhard Braun was allowed to work as a junior hospital doctor in Birmingham but his health had been broken and he died, aged 53, in 1946.

Anneliese and Ruth Braun eventually moved from Birmingham to London where, until Anneliese Braun's death in 1996, they shared a house in Golders Green. Mother and daughter were extremely close, and together they were known as 'the Pummels'. Anneliese Braun, since her youth, was an amateur writer, with some of her poems and short stories published in German newspapers before 1933. Even before coming to England in 1939, she had begun to write in English as well, and later she translated works by other writers, including Monika Mann, Ruth Tenney and Veronica Erdmann-Czapski, with whom she was friends. She had an avid interest in spiritual movements, mysticism, and in alternative science and religion, and from the 1950s, practised spiritual healing and transcendental meditation. Ruth Braun worked in secretarial roles and in libraries, and having attended Birmingham Theatre School as a young woman, she had a lifelong interest in drama and music. She died in 1999 on a visit to relatives in Chile.


Anneliese and Ruth Braun over the decades accumulated a large amount of papers, photographs and memorabilia in their house in Golders Green, London, which was in great disorder. When clearing the house after Ruth Braun's death in 1999, Christopher Braun kept all papers from before 1960 and a selection of later papers. A significant proportion of this material was subsequently lost to water damage. The remaining material was sorted into categories by Christopher Braun prior to transfer to the Bodleian Library. After further sorting, the papers are now arranged in five sequences: Correspondence; Personal papers and memorabilia; Writings; Compensation Claims, family papers and miscellaneous; Photographs.

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom