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23 March to 15 July 2012 Jewish Migrants from Eastern Europe in the 1920s

Klal publishing house

hand-drawn logo with Hebrew letters
Logo of the Klal publishing house

view of houses with a tree
Markgrafen street today, near Bessel street © Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Gelia Eisert

Immigrant publishers in Berlin

In the early 1920s Berlin was home to a large number of publishing houses that brought out books in Russian. Jewish immigrants had interests in around ninety of these companies. While more than fifty publishers specialized in Yiddish publications, only a few – including Klal – published books in Hebrew. All the publishers exported their products abroad, primarily to countries in eastern Europe.

Favorable economic conditions caused a publishing boom in the 1920s. Due to inflation, investors with foreign currency could produce high-quality books at a low cost.

When the period of inflation ended in the mid-1920s, Berlin lost its advantage as a publishing center. Most of the immigrant publishers were forced to discontinue book production in the space of a few years or to move their offices to other countries.

Etching with portrait looking to the right
Etching of Hayim Nahman Bialik by Hermann Struck, 1935, © Jewish Museum Berlin, gift of Hedwig Pachter