Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Karl Kraus Collection
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The Kraus Collection consists primarily of materials written about Karl Kraus, with few items by him. In total only three items can be attributed definitively to Kraus, and one unsigned letter from 1910 may be by Kraus.
Instead, the value of the collection is as a gauge for Kraus' cultural impact in Europe during his life and well after. Gabriel Rosenrauch, an avid Kraus fan and the individual responsible for compiling this collection, took care to preserve newspaper articles concerning Kraus from 1914-1962. This includes a large collection of articles and obituaries from 1936, which were clipped from newspapers printed in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany, a copy of a British newspaper that includes a review of a book written about Kraus, and articles written in Hebrew and Yiddish.
Not only did Rosenrauch save newspaper clippings, he saved flyers advertising plays and lectures by Kraus and pamphlets that include articles written about Kraus, many by Werner Kraft, a well-known German scholar of Kraus, author, and librarian. In addition, Rosenrauch collected two French-language items from La Société des Etudes Germanique (the Society of Germanic Studies). Rosenrauch also came into possession of a large collection of photographs of Kraus, depicting his life from adolescence to old age, up to and including his apartment in Vienna and gravesite. Among the photographs is a view of an unidentified synagogue, which may be where Kraus' funeral service was held.
Also of importance are a set of extensive indexes compiled by Rosenrauch of articles in Die Fackel. While the script is difficult to read, it is clear that Rosenrauch took considerable care to document and catalog the subjects of the articles written by Kraus and other contributors to the journal. The care epitomized in these indexes extends throughout the collection. Several articles and essays are present as typed copies, presumably prepared by Rosenrauch, in particular the work by Hermann Hesse and several of the pieces by Werner Kraft.
Finally, since this collection was created by Rosenrauch, it includes his some of his personal correspondence. These letters are mostly exchanged with Helene Kann, a Kraus archivist, whom he helped to escape from Vienna and then from Europe after the Anschluss of Austria in 1938. These letters do not necessarily provide insight into Kraus, but they do provide interesting details about the collector as he maneuvered around Europe during World War II, ultimately ending up in Israel until his death in the 1960s.