21 February 1933
Letter sent by Benno Chajes to the Schöneberg District Court concerning Eduard Bernstein’s estate
A few months later, Eduard Bernstein’s works were among those destroyed in the book burnings throughout the country and banned from publication.
Professor Chajes, Berlin-Zehlendorf
With respect to Eduard Bernstein’s estate, I would like to report the following assets:
1. Financial assets:
a. Securities, based on prices from 21 February 1933: 4,048 reichsmarks.
b. Remaining mortgage on the property in Werder an der Havel: 2,000 reichsmarks.
The revalued mortgage on the property at Bozenerstr. 18 (sixth position) will not be taken into consideration at the foreclosure auction on the 22nd of this month.
Total amount: 6,048
2. Tangible assets:
The old furnishings were not salable and have been donated to charitable organizations. The library was already sold during the lifetime of the deceased for lifelong installment payments.
3. Estate liabilities:
As far as can be judged, the costs for funeral expenses, cleaning out the apartment, rental payments for the current lease, etc., amount to around 2,000–2,200 reichsmarks.
Based on these calculations, the estate is currently worth about
Benno Chajes (1880–1938) was a medical doctor who served as director of the Institute of Social Hygiene in Berlin. From 1928 to 1932 he represented the SPD in the Prussian Landtag (state parliament) and was a political opponent of the Nazis. He was reelected to the Landtag in the election on 5 March 1933. On 18 May, acting together with the other SPD representatives, Chajes tried unsuccessfully to block passage of the Enabling Act for Prussia, which accorded the government sweeping powers. This was the last time the Landtag ever convened.
Aware of the dangers facing him as both a Social Democrat and a Jew, Chajes made arrangements to emigrate. He had already been suspended from his professorial position and lost his medical license in late April. He left for Palestine in July/August. There he opened his own practice and played a key role in the development of the country’s health policy.