Skip to main content

Eric Ernst Kohlhagen Papers (SC-374)

Identifier: SC-374

Scope and Contents

The central part of the collection are two copies of Eric Kohlhagen's memoir "Born Twice," which extensively document his experiences during more than 6 years (1938-1945) of imprisonment in German concentration camps, including Auschwitz. The collection also includes several original documents from Kohlhagen's education in Germany; several pieces of correspondence (mostly photocopies) concerning the dissemination of his memoirs following his death; as well as a few original photographs and some newspaper clippings about Kohlhagen. Of particular note is an exchange of correspondence between Kohlhagen and the U.S. War Department, naming several specific individuals as war criminals; also of note are 1 letter each from Ann Landers and Phil Donahue (all photocopies).


  • Creation: 1928 - 1981


Language of Materials

The collection includes materials written in German, Latin, and English. Items are in English unless otherwise noted.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Erich Ernst Joseph Kohlhagen, a German Jew, was born on February 7, 1908, at Heidelberg, Germany. As a young man, he was a practicing dentist in Halle, Germany.

He was imprisoned in 1938 and survived more than 6 years at various concentration camps: Sachsenhausen near Berlin (1938-1941), Gross Rosen (1941-1942), Auschwitz (Monowitz/Buna) (1942-1945), and Nordhausen (1945).

In 1945, he escaped to Paris, France, where he wrote an extensive and detailed memoir. Over the years, he translated this into English and the 100+ page typewritten form that can be found in this collection.

In March 1946, Eric immigrated to the United States, reuniting with family, including his parents Julius and Emilie Kohlhagen in Dayton, Ohio. In June 1946, he married Rita Hyber (1905-2000), a social worker. Because his dentistry qualifications were not valid in Ohio, he became a dry cleaner.

Eric died November 24, 1970, at Dayton, Ohio. His wife Rita died in April 2000. They are both buried in Riverview Cemetery. They had no children.


0.21 linear feet


Eric Kohlhagen was a German Jew and dentist who survived more than 6 years in various concentration camps, including Auschwitz, before escaping and immigrating to the United States. He wrote an extensive and detailed memoir about his experiences in the camps. The collection includes copies of the memoir, correspondence, education documents, newspaper clippings, and a few photographs.


The collection is arranged in chronological order.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Eric Ernst Kohlhagen Papers were donated to Wright State University Libraries' Special Collections and Archives by Mrs. Rita Kohlhagen, Eric's widow, in May 1978, in connection with Dr. Charles Berry's Survivors of the Holocaust Oral History Project.

Related Materials

This collection was originally included as part of the Survivors of the Holocaust Oral History Project Records (MS-239) and Emmanuel Ringelblum Collection of Oral History Memoirs of the Holocaust (MS-215). However, it has been split off into its own collection as it has a distinct provenance, and Eric Kohlhagen was no longer living when the oral history project was conducted, so he was unable to take part.

Guide to the Eric Ernst Kohlhagen Papers (SC-374)
Lisa Rickey
2023 Jan 26
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA