3 April 1933
Letter to Adolf Schnitzer requesting that he cease to practice as a notary
They included the lawyer and notary Dr. Adolf Schnitzer (1889–1989), who had been added to the court’s attorney register in 1919 and licensed as a notary in 1928. Since beginning his career as a defense attorney, Schnitzler had climbed the steps leading into the imposing court building countless times.
Schnitzer’s law office was located at Mohrenstrasse 48, just a few subway stops away from the courthouse. Here, he was close to the Gendarmenmarkt in the center of Berlin’s commercial and banking district. The envelope, postmarked 6 April 1933, bears this address. The back of the letter is printed with the ministerial decree of 1 April 1933, which states in blunt language that public order cannot be maintained “if in their legal dealings Germans continue to be presented with documents drafted or certified by Jewish notaries.” By the time the letter reached its recipients on 6 April, the Nazis had already begun taking steps to ensure that the decree was observed in practice.
President of Regional Court I
Berlin C.2, 3 April 1933
Tel. no. E.2, Kupfergraben 0010
Due to the urgency of this matter and since it is impossible to determine at short notice from our records who is of Jewish descent, I would like to draw the attention of all notaries in my district to the decree issued by the Reich Commissioner for the Prussian Ministry of Justice on 1 April 1933, no. I.6522 (overleaf).
Notaries of Jewish descent are hereby relieved of the obligation to exercise their office. They are asked to notify me immediately that they will cease to exercise their office until notaries are subject to different conditions. In view of the heated public mood at present, any refusal on their part will place them in considerable danger. For this reason I strongly advise these notaries to refrain from exercising their office in their own interest until further notice.
On behalf of
Regional Court Director
The Prussian Minister of Justice
Berlin W.8, 1 April 1933
– I.6522 –
Re: Exercising the Office of Notary
For the reasons cited in my radio address of 31 March 1933, we must assume that public order and safety will be at grave risk if in their legal dealings Germans continue to be presented with documents drafted or certified by Jewish notaries. I am therefore asking that all Jewish notaries be advised to refrain from exercising their office in their own interest until further notice. It must be pointed out to these notaries that in view of the heated public mood at present, any refusal on their part will place them in considerable danger. The notaries must be instructed to inform the competent regional court presidents that they will not exercise their office until notaries are subject to different conditions. The notaries in question will be relieved of their obligation to exercise their office.
On behalf of
To the president of the Berlin Court of Appeals and the presidents of the regional courts and the regional supreme courts.