Nathan Schwalb papers/Hechalutz Office Geneva

Language of Description
Alt. Identifiers
  • 2007.138
  • RG-68.087M
1 Jan 1921 - 31 Dec 1989, 1 Jan 1939 - 31 Dec 1945
Level of Description
  • German
  • Hebrew
  • English
EHRI Partner

Extent and Medium

210,781 digital images, PNG

43 microfilm reels, 16 mm

15 CD-ROMs, 4 3/4 in.



Biographical History

Nathan Schwalb (April 1,1908-March 24, 2004) was born on April 1, 1908 in Stanisławów, Poland (currently Ivano-Frankovsk, Ukraine). His father was a language and religion professor at the local Jewish academic high school and his mother was a private tutor. Nathan became a member of several Jewish organizations, including Makkabi Hazair, Gordonia, and Hechalutz. In 1929 he immigrated to Palestine and became a member of Kibbutz Hulda, becoming a leading member in 1935. Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, Nathan was sent to particiate in the Zionist Congress in Geneva in 1939. Nathan planned to return to Palestine, but while the congress was taking place, the Germans and Soviets agreed to the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact (Treaty of Non-aggression) and participants of the congress feared a war would soon begin. Consequently, Nathan and others decided to stay in Switzerland in order to organize relief efforts. Nathan established a new headquarters of the Hechalutz in Geneva and worked as a representative of the World Hechalutz movement, serving as a contact person and a financial welfare source. He corresponded with hundreds of people in the occupied countries and was active in many areas including the sending of parcels via the Red Cross, mainly to Poland, and transferring funds via messengers. He also worked in cooperation with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Swiss Red Cross, communicating with Saly Mayer from the Joint Distribution Committee and Dr. Abraham Silberschein from the Relief Committee for the Warstricken Jewish Population (RELICO). Additionally, he established contact with influential Swiss politicians, police personnel, and clergymen in order to assist refugees in Switzerland. His father and siblings were killed in 1941 in Stanisławów. After the war, Nathan returned to Palestine and served as a delegate of the Histadrut union and again became a leading member of Kibbuz Hulda where he lived until his death in 2004.

Archival History

Makhon le-ḥeḳer tenuʻat ha-ʻavodah ʻa. sh. Pinḥas Lavon


Source of acquisition is The Lavon Institute for Labour Research, Israel (RG III-37A). According to The Lavon Institute, Mr. Schwalb kept these records for many years in his private apartment in Tel Aviv before they were transferred to The Lavon Institute under a court order) The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum International Archives Project purchased and transferred the collection to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives in June 2007.

Scope and Content

The collection contains correspondence, reports and photographas related to the situation and fate of Jews in Europe during the Second World War and the rescue activities of the Hechalutz movement. Mainly includes correspondence with Hechalutz members in the Nazi-occupied territories and the JOINT; reports about the situation of Jews in various countries; reports about the concentration camps Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, and Westerbork; and miscellaneous internal records pertaining to the activities of the Hechalutz headquarters in Geneva.

System of Arrangement

Reels # 19 and 23 were intentionally left blank

Conditions Governing Reproduction

Copyright Holder: Makhon le-ḥeḳer tenuʻat ha-ʻavodah ʻa. sh. Pinḥas Lavon


Corporate Bodies



This description is derived directly from structured data provided to EHRI by a partner institution. This collection holding institution considers this description as an accurate reflection of the archival holdings to which it refers at the moment of data transfer.