The beginning of the end of German Jewry



30 January 2013 marks the eightieth anniversary of the appointment of Adolf Hitler as German Chancellor. Within a short space of time, the Nazis established a brutal dictatorship and implemented measures that put an end to the civic equality of Jews. By late 1933, the regime had issued over three hundred partially or exclusively anti-Jewish laws, decrees and regulations that affected the lives of almost all Jews in Germany.

The online project “1933: The Beginning of the End of German Jewry” presented a variety of primary source materials that bear witness to the disenfranchisement and exclusion of German Jews, as well as to aspects of their everyday life. All the documents and photographs displayed stem from the archives of the Jewish Museum Berlin and the Leo Baeck Institute, which maintains a branch of its archives at the museum. The project ran until the end of 2013 and published several items a month, marking 80 years to the day that they were produced. Ranging from certificates, identity cards, letters and postcards to applications, minute books, diary entries, notes and photographs, these materials provide insight into the direct and indirect effects of the anti-Jewish measures and the reactions they provoked. The project enables viewers to follow events of the year 1933 for an extended period of time and to gain an understanding of the dimensions and significance they had for German Jewry.

The project was part of the Berlin theme year »Destroyed Diversity: 1933–1938–1945.


The archives of both the Jewish Museum Berlin and the Leo Baeck Institute preserve thousands of documents from the seventeenth century to the present day relating to the life and fate of Jews in Germany. The project “1933: The Beginning of the End of German Jewry” offers viewers the opportunity to discover a small selection of these holdings and to learn about the people and fates to which they bear witness.

Almost all of the sources presented here have been given as gifts to the Jewish Museum Berlin and the Leo Baeck Institute. We would be pleased to receive any additional documents or photographs that show the life and fate of German Jews in 1933 or in the years before and after.

Aubrey Pomerance
Head of Archives