Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 1-25-2022


Karl Kalmar (September 17, 1871 (Vienna, Austria) – December 26, 1942 (Theresienstadt)) and Margarethe Kalmar (Pollak) (December 5, 1881 (Vienna, Austria) – After May 16, 1944 (KZ Auschwitz)). They had two sons Paul Kalmar (May 31, 1908 (Vienna, Austria) – August 3, 1977 (Scotland, UK)) and George Otto Kalmar (November 16, 1913 (Vienna, Austria) – November 12, 1994 (Copake, NY)).

George Kalmar studied painting at the Kunstgewerbschule (now University of Applied Arts) in Vienna. He married Vera Rosa Kalmar (Raschkes) (August 24, 1914 (Vienna, Austria) – August 24, 1988 (Acton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts)), a fellow artist, on July 10, 1938. They were married hastily just after Hitler attacked Austria. Their intention was to immigrate to the United States, but this required a financial affidavit from an American citizen pledging to provide financial support if it was required (so that these immigrants would not be a burden to the US government). Acquiring such an affidavit generally took time so their intermediate plan was to escape to Holland while awaiting the affidavit. The morning after their wedding, they left for The Netherlands. They spent one year in Holland awaiting the affidavit. George worked at a lace factory during that time. They finally left for the United States on the last boat that left Holland. As it pulled out of the dock, Hitler attacked Holland, and no more ships were allowed out.

They came to America via Ellis Island on May 16, 1940 and settled in New York City. Vera designed greeting cards for many years for a major firm, and George was art director of a pharmaceutical advertising company, while continuing to paint and exhibit. Upon the invitation of Carlo Pietzner, a fellow former student at the University, the Kalmars joined the new Camphill Village at Copake, N.Y. in 1962, where he worked in various capacities but especially as "painter-in-residence." During the 1970s and beyond he held one-man exhibitions in Massachusetts, and Salzburg, Austria, and participated in group shows in New York City. George Otto Kalmar died at the age of 80 on November 12, 1994 in Copake, Columbia County, New York. George and Vera Kalmar had one daughter, Madeline ‘Mady” (Kalmar) Harvey (March 15, 1950 (New York City) - March 31, 2020 (Lincoln, MA)).

The diaries are objects of beauty as well as intriguing historical documents that fit within the modernist artistic milieu of interwar Vienna. Written in German in an elegant hand and illustrated with photographs of the artist, his family, and friends as well as his drawings, they form a unique collection. The diaries have the potential to serve as a valuable resource for students, either at the graduate or undergraduate level, eager to research primary source materials.

Scope and Content

This collection is comprised of 39 diaries belonging to members of the Kalmar family of Vienna, Austria. The first 26 (1913 – 1932) were written by Margarethe Kalmar (Pollak) (Decr 5, 1881 (Vienna, Austria) – After May 16, 1944 (KZ Auschwitz)). The remaing 16 (1941 – 1993) were written by George Otto Kalmar (Nov 16, 1913 (Vienna, Austria) – Nov 12, 1994 (Copake, NY)). Collection also contains correspondences, scrapbooks and photographs of the Kalmar families.