The beginning of the end of German Jewry


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28 February 1933

Statement by Berlin University instructors in support of the Hitler regime

Only one month after Hitler took power, the Nazi Party increased its intervention in the affairs of German universities. In late February 1933, teachers at Berlin University received a letter appealing them to support the new government. It was sent by eight university teachers who regarded "the joining of national forces under the leadership of Adolf Hitler as chancellor as the only way to overcome the country‘s economic and spiritual crisis."

But the signatories did not content themselves with merely expressing their views. They also called on their colleagues to sign the statement "in the belief that science and culture must be the pillars of any endeavor to raise Germany up." In supporting these principles, the undersigned embraced the politicization of the education system.

A few weeks later, on April 7, this politicization found radical expression in the "Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service," which led to the complete exclusion of Jewish professors from universities. Almost all were dismissed and their positions filled by non-Jewish scholars.

Michaela Roßberg

Categorie(s): Berlin | physicians | scholars
"Declaration of Teachers at Berlin University," 28 February 1933
Donated by Prof. Peter H. Plesch in memory of János and Melanie Plesch

János Plesch

The "Declaration of Teachers at Berlin University" was among the papers of János Plesch (1878–1957) that were donated to the Jewish Museum. In 1927 Plesch was appointed professor of internal medicine at the Charité University Hospital in Berlin. Although he had converted to Catholicism in 1909, he was considered a Jew under Nazi laws and banned from his profession in April 1933. His career destroyed, Plesch immigrated to England with his family.

In England, despite his outstanding resume and his age, Plesch was required to re-enroll in medical school and take exams once again. He failed to reestablish his previously successful career. After the war, Plesch did not return to Germany, and immigrated to Switzerland in 1951.

János Plesch, 1933
Donated by Prof. Peter H. Plesch in memory of János and Melanie Plesch