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Heinrich Fraenkel Papers

Identifier: MSS-319-BC

Scope and Content

Archive 319 contains an immense wealth of research notes, photocopies of documents, and important and rare interviews pertaining to all aspects of the period of the Third Reich. Besides book reviews of Fraenkel/Manvell works, Box 1 contains old as well as contemporary international newspaper clippings representing all aspects of political and civil life in Nazi Germany. The transcripts of interviews and conversations located in the second half of this box not only show interesting information and research findings on which a good deal of the authors' books are based on, but also a great wealth of personal experience and aspects not used in the monographs.

Various unpublished and published essays, reports and book manuscripts (Box 2) broaden the knowledge of the Nazi period also in regard to issues not dealt with in the Fraenkel/Manvell monographs.

Photocopies of documents from different German archives form the core of the archive (Box 3). The voluminous research the two authors have done is barely reflected in the inventory below and only indicates some of the material the folders contain. Even though the research notes and photocopies of the documents are in a rough order according to topics dealt with in their books, the entire contents of the 16 folders can well be related to many other topics not mentioned in the inventory nor written about in the monographs.

Box 4 contains information on the authors' book on Rudolf Hess as well as on attempts to free Rudolf Hess from Spandau prison in Berlin. The second part of the box contains miscellaneous documents and information pertaining to all aspects of Nazi and post WW II Germany. The last part contains photographs of Roger Manvell's collection, many of which can be viewed in their books, as well as others that have not been published. For further detailed information see inventory.


  • 1915-1973

Language of Materials

English German Italian and French.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR materials is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution. Many of the documents and photographs require permission to publish from the agency or archives that the piece originated from.


Heinrich Fraenkel was born on 28 September 1897 in Lissa, Poland (former German province of Posen), yet since his third year he grew up in Berlin. Fraenkel attended high school in Berlin. While vacationing in England during the summer of 1914 the European war broke out and he was interned on the Isle of Man. Though interned, he was given the chance to continue his education and to finish his baccalaureate (Abitur).

From 1919 on Fraenkel attended the universities of Berlin, Frankfurt and Wuerzburg to study law and economics. Thereafter his interests turned to film journalism and in the mid 1920s he became advertisement representative of several big Hollywood firms for central Europe giving him the opportunity for extensive travels. Later, as a free lance writer, he turned his interest primarily toward film issues. Under various pseudonyms he also wrote suspense novels. In 1932 he returned to Berlin, experienced some difficulties in 1938, but escaped Nazi persecutions. He moved first to Paris, then to London, Spain, and again to London. In that period he wrote many books and booklets for "Another Germany" (primarily published with Gollancz) and gave speeches against a post war Germany policy proposed by people like von Vansittart and Morgenthau.

In England Fraenkel was cofounder of the "Free German Movement", which he left, however, in 1944 after tensions appeared with the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). Ever since then he reduced his political involvement to literary or journalistic participation.

After 1945 Fraenkel's initial intention was to return to Germany, but instead undertook major trips as reporter for the "New Statesman." In 1950 he, decided to become a British citizen. He justified his decision in his autobiography Farewell to Germany (1959), which appeared a year later in its German translation Lebewohl Deutschland. This book attracted some criticism because of its critical view on German conditions. Other books by Fraenkel followed since 1945: A Nation Divided and A Boy Between.

Fraenkel continued to work for the New Statesman in which he maintained under the pseudonym "Assiac" a weekly chess column. He continued to give speeches primarily on historic and journalistic topics. His special interest aimed at film history for which he wrote the two volume work Immortal Film.

Fraenkel was married to a German born woman and had two sons (born 1942 and 1947).

Heinrich Fraenkel coauthored the Nazi books with Roger Manvell, a graduate and Ph.D. of London University and University lecturer on literature, drama and film. Manvell worked primarily as biographer, writer on film and television, screenwriter and broadcaster. Among other positions he held the post of Director of the British Film Academy (1947-1959), Governor and Head of the Department of Film History at London School of Film Technique. During the war, he worked for the Films Division of the Ministry of Information, and was for a while on the staff of the British Film Institute before becoming Director of the British Film Academy. Some books on film and television include: Film (1944), The Film and the Public (1955), The Animated Film (1954), New Cinema in Europe (1966), History of German Cinema (w/ H. Fraenkel, 1971).

After years of research Fraenkel and Manvell published their first book, the first English biography of Josef Goebbels which appeared on the market in February 1960 and in the German translation in November 1960. Translations into other languages soon followed. Fraenkel and Manvell tried to get behind the person of Goebbels by successfully interviewing Goebbels' sister, teachers and friends. A biography of Hermann Goering was published in 1962, followed by one of Heinrich Himmler in 1965.


5 boxes (5 cu. ft.)

Microfilm and Digital Editions

"The tendentious feature films in Germany, 1933-1945" (Box 2, Item 4) is available on microfilm and also in digital format

Related Archival Material

Porter-Harvey Family Papers Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico

Separated Material

The photographs previously held in this collection have been transferred to the Heinrich Fraenkel Photograph Collection.
Finding Aid of the Heinrich Fraenkel Papers, 1915-1973
Processed by Thomas Jaehn
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 319 BC::Heinrich Fraenkel Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss319bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131