The beginning of the end of German Jewry


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27 July 1933

Letter from Rudolf Rülf to the Reich labor minister

After returning from the First World War, Rudolf Rülf (1890–1968) began working as a dentist in Wolfenbüttel, but in mid-1933 his practice was in jeopardy. In a letter sent on 14 July 1933, the Braunschweig Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians informed him that it was revoking his license. The reason: his "military service during the war" was not of the "required duration." He was given two weeks to file an appeal with the labor minister, but the association advised him against arguing his case at length because it was "unnecessary," would "complicate matters" and could prove "disadvantageous."

In the first paragraph of his letter Rülf emphasizes his family‘s long residence in Germany. He then describes his military career in great detail: After being turned down as a volunteer, he was finally drafted in November 1914 and served until December 1918. During the final weeks of fighting he worked in field hospitals in northern France. Rülf notes that this qualified him as a "frontline soldier" and that the relevant provision in the law was thus applicable in his case.

The Reich Labor Ministry rejected his appeal and informed him that his military service could not be regarded as "activity on the front that sufficiently compensates for your non-Aryan descent." This decision amounted to an occupational ban for Rülf. Together with his family he immigrated to Palestine in 1934, taking the furnishings of his dentist‘s office and his dental equipment with him.

Jörg Waßmer

Categorie(s): frontline soldiers | occupational ban | physicians
Letter from Rudolf Rülf to Reich Labor Minister Franz Seldte (page 1), Wolfenbüttel, 27 July 1933
Gift of Alfred Rülf