The beginning of the end of German Jewry


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5 August 1933

Letter banning Grete Miriam Levy from attending school

On 5 August 1933 the director of the Rückert School, a high school for girls in the Schöneberg district of Berlin, sent a letter to Paula Dölle (widowed: Levy) banning her daughter, Grete, who was probably eleven at the time, from attending school. Under the Law to Prevent the Overcrowding of German Schools and Universities and its implementation regulations, the number of Jewish students at secondary schools was to be limited to 5 percent. There were a number of exceptions in the law but they did not apply to Grete Levy, since her father had not served at the front in the First World War and she did not come from a "mixed marriage."

The ban was announced in a form letter sent by the school administration to the parents of all the students affected by the law. The bureaucratic tone obscures the significance of the measure for the children and young adults who were now forced to transfer to Jewish schools or to give up their education altogether.

As only little information is available on the family‘s history, we do not know what steps Paula Dölle took on her daughter‘s behalf in response to Grete‘s racially motivated expulsion from school. What we do know is that Grete Levy immigrated to the United States—she was naturalized as a US citizen in 1946. In her new home she changed her name to Miriam Sesi Lewis. In 1992 her brother Abraham Levy donated this adhesive-taped letter from the Rückert School to the Jewish Museum Berlin.

Maren Krüger

Categorie(s): Berlin | school
Letter from the Rückert School to Paula Dölle banning her daughter Grete Miriam Levy from attending school, Berlin, 5 August 1933
Gift of Abraham Levy