The beginning of the end of German Jewry


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28 March 1933

Mid-year report card for Mirjam Frank

Biblical history, reading in Hebrew and prayer translation – these were the three subjects taught in the religion class that eight-year-old Mirjam Frank, like almost all Jewish elementary students in Berlin, attended on a weekly basis. The report card issued to the second grader does not name her school, only the district of Niederschöneweide.

However, a look at the 1928 Jewish Year Book for Greater Berlin reveals that the teacher who signed her report card, Ferdinand Last, taught religion at the Second Community School on Kiefholzstrasse. Whether this was Mirjam‘s regular school is unknown, but she did take religion class there until Easter 1935.

In early 1933 the Jewish Community ran only a small number of its own schools in Berlin. However, it was permitted to use the classrooms of almost twenty public schools in the city in order to give Jewish students religion lessons. It was not until March 1935 that this privilege was withdrawn.

After Easter 1935, Mirjam Frank began attending the Private Catholic Franziskus School at Hohenstaufenstrasse 2 in the Berlin district of Schöneberg. However, due to regulations passed in the wake of the November Pogrom of 1938, she was forced to leave this school and, like all Jewish children, attend a Jewish one. In April 1939 Mirjam left Germany on a children‘s transport to England. Her parents immigrated to Shanghai one month later and the family was not reunited until 1947 in the United States.

Mirjam Frank‘s religion teacher, Ferdinand Last, who was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1883, did not survive the war. It is possible that Last continued teaching until the closing of the Jewish school system in July 1942. On March 3, 1943, he was deported to Auschwitz with his wife and murdered there.

Aubrey Pomerance

Categorie(s): Berlin | childhood | religious life | school
Mid-year report card issued by the religious school to Mirjam Frank, Berlin, 1933
Gift of Irving and Miriam Klothen, née Frank

Mirjam Frank‘s identification card

Mirjam Frank‘s identification card exhibits the two discriminatory features that were found on the identification cards of all German Jews: the large "J," which is printed in black on the front, and one of the obligatory names that the Nazis ordered all Jews to use from 1 January 1939 onward—Sara for women and girls and Israel for men and boys. A decree from July 1938 required all German Jews to apply for an identification card by the end of the year.

Mirjam Frank‘s identification card, Berlin, 1939
Gift of Irving and Miriam Klothen, née Frank