The beginning of the end of German Jewry


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1 March 1933

Max Henius‘ DNVP Membership Card

This membership card for the German National People‘s Party (DNVP) is one of the unusual artifacts in the archive of the Jewish Museum Berlin. It belonged to the lawyer Max Henius, who was born to Jewish parents in 1878. Henius married a Christian woman at the age of forty and decided to be baptized six years later when he and his wife adopted a child. It is not known why he joined the DNVP on 1 March 1933, only four days before the last Reichstag election that involved the full spectrum of parties.

The DNVP was a deeply antisemitic party that had formed a governing coalition with the NSDAP on 30 January 1933. It had begun excluding Jews as early as 1928. It was possibly not widely known that Henius was of Jewish descent or perhaps it was not considered important.

Whatever the case, Henius‘ membership did not help him much. In the end of June, 1933, the party disbanded and most of its members joined the National Socialist Party—a route certainly not open to him.

In 1933, Henius was prohibited from running his publishing company. This occupational ban destroyed the foundations of both his professional and private life. Ten years later, in April 1943, he was arrested and imprisoned for several months for not wearing a yellow star on his jacket. He was detained again by the Gestapo on the day he was released. After being interned in various labor camps, Henius was deported to Auschwitz in September of 1943. He died there on 22 February 1944.

His adopted son, who was not Jewish, served as a sailor in the German navy until the end of the war.

Michaela Roßberg

Categorie(s): Berlin | politicians
Max Henius‘ DNVP membership card, Berlin, 1 March 1933
Gift of Elke Vollmer-Henius