Born in 1907 into a wealthy, liberal family in Berlin, Karin Hissink became an important ethnologist during the 1930s. She was, among other things, director of the Frobenius Institute in Frankfurt during the Second World War and maintained close ties with it for the rest of her life. She left her private and her scientific estate to the institute. She shared her interest in art with her husband, AIbert Hahn, who also accompanied her on her research trips to South America. Karin Hahn-Hissink bequeathed her art collection to the Städelscher Museums-Verein.