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The Jewish Museum Berlin, its library, its archive, the museum shop, and café will remain closed due to coronavirus restrictions.

Ausschnitt aus dem handschriftlichen Testament von Veitel Heine Ephraim mit sieben roten Siegeln

Our Archive

Documentation of Jewish Life

Our Archive is located in the W. Michael Blumenthal Academy, opposite the museum. It safeguards numerous bequests, family collections, and individual documents that permit researchers to draw conclusions about the lives and fates of Jewish families and individuals. We document Jewish history in all its diversity, covering religious, cultural, political, and business life as well as private festivities and personal experiences.

Map with all buildings that belong to the Jewish Museum Berlin. The W. M. Blumenthal Academy is marked in green


W. M. Blumenthal Academy, Archives
Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin Postal address: Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin

Historical and Geographical Scope

Our holdings include documents from 1623 to the present with an emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The majority of the archival materials come from Berlin, where approximately a third of German Jews lived until the 1930s. However, since our museum opened, we have been able to acquire extensive material documenting Jewish life in other towns and regions in Germany and, in some cases, beyond.

Diverse Documents from Private Donations

Our Archive’s collection is composed almost entirely of private donations. The approximately 1,700 sets of documents range in length from several pages to 40 archival boxes. They include writs of protection and citizenship certificates, wedding and other civil status certificates, documents of military service, of training and professional life, business, scientific, and private correspondence, diaries, and memoirs. Photographs, decorated certificates, souvenirs, and everyday objects from our other collections complement the written materials.

Old page of hand written cursive ink text with multiple red wax stamps at the bottom of the page

Testament of Veitel Heine Ephraim (1703–1775), Berlin 1774; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jens Ziehe

Aubrey Pomerance, head of our archives and curator of the new core exhibition, talks about a family album as a testimony to a close friendship and two diverging life paths; Jewish Museum Berlin 2020. Read more about this family album.

Historical Emphases

We have particularly extensive holdings on middle-class life in the German Empire, on participation in the First World War, and on life and persecution during the Nazi era, encompassing internment, deportation, and murder, but also emigration and reestablishment in exile. A growing number of documents from the postwar period reflects communities' reconstruction and the fresh start, life in Displaced Persons camps, individuals' return from exile, and Jewish life in both parts of Germany and in the reunified country after 1989.

Branches of Other Archives on Our Premises

Our archive also houses a branch of the New York–based Leo Baeck Institute, with more than 4,500 microfilm reels of the institute's holdings available in our Reading room. It is also home to a branch of the Wiener Library with roughly 500 microfilm reels documenting Nazi rule and Nazi crimes.

Displaced Person

The term "displaced person" (DP) describes people who after the Second World War, and because of it, resided outside of their homeland and could not return or settle in another land without help.
More on Wikipedia

A Look into our Holdings

All holdings can be viewed by researchers, students, and other interested parties in the Museum's Reading Room on request. (The Reading Room's opening hours and other information on our website). To submit a request, please use our registration form. In addition, the original documents are frequently used in workshops with school and university students to place topics of Jewish history in context.

Google Arts & Culture Online Exhibition

Here we show many of the family collections entrusted to us, which tell the stories and fates of their owners.
To our Google Arts & Culture exhibition (in German)

How can I donate objects, photographs, and documents to the museum?

If you would like to support the Jewish Museum Berlin and believe you possess materials that may be of interest to us, contact us!

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How can I conduct research using the museum’s archive, collections, and library?

Our Reading Room is open to the public. You can also research using our library’s holdings and some of our collection’s holdings online. To view additional holdings, please contact the responsible curators.

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Can the museum help me research my family history?

You may use our in-house holdings for research purposes. We have also compiled a directory of links to research opportunities for personal and family research and genealogy.

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I would like to depict or borrow an object from your collections. Who should I contact?

Your contact for photo permissions is Valeska Wolfgram (T +49 (0)30 259 93 433, email: Loan requests must be made at least six months in advance. For questions regarding administrative processes, please contact Katrin Strube (T +49 (0)30 259 93 417, email:

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Aubrey Pomerance
Head of Archives/Leo Baeck Institute
T +49 (0)30 259 93 556
F +49 (0)30 259 93 409


Jewish Museum Berlin
Lindenstraße 9–14
10969 Berlin

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Behind the Scenes: Anecdotes and Exciting Finds while Working with our Collections (12)

Anecdotes and Exciting Finds while Working with our Collections

Employees of our archive and our collections provide insight into their work and share stories and insights.

Black-and-white photograph of a man holding a scalpel to the upper arm of another man who is smiling for the camera

From Cowpox to Covid-19

The Archive staff members write about nearly 200 years of vaccine certificates in our archive

Etikett auf einem Tagebuch

Berlin in Times of Cholera

Doreen Tesche and Jörg Waßmer discover some parallels to the current corona pandemic in Louis Röhmann’s diary entries about cholera in Berlin in 1837.

That can’t be! Can it?

Jörg Waßmer about coincidences in the archive

“Since that day, Iʼve felt like a newborn”

A striking document about the 1945 Day of Liberation

“The best solution would be that the baby is a girl”

Jörg Waßmer prepared the inventory of Fritz Wachsner’s estate and got some insights into an internal Jewish debate about circumcision.

Conservation of Letters and Seals

Stephan Lohrengel reports about his work as paper conservator in the Jewish Museum Berlin.

The World in Miniature

Kirsten Meyer on conserving and storing a stamp album

Farewell Letter, Ink on Paper

Exhibition curator Maren Krüger and paper conservator Stephan Lohrengel about a touching historical document and why we could only exhibit it so shortly

Black and white photography of teenage girls and boys joyfully leaning out of the window of a train

Photo­graphic Testimony

Theresia Ziehe, curator for photography, on the history of the Herbert Sonnenfeld collection

self written marriage contract, signed with a kiss mark of red lipstick

All for Love

Jörg Waßmer searches for sexual diversity in the collection of the Jewish Museum Berlin

Cover of a Hebrew-German edition of the Haggadah with handwritten entries on the inside flaps

A Small Window onto History

Aubrey Pomerance, Head of Archives, on a newly acquired Passover Haggadah and its previous owners in Kreuzberg

Portrait of a woman holding laces in front of her face

Salvaged from the Trash

Anna Rosemann on the photo albums of the artist Olga Irén Fröhlich

Event Series: Eyewitness Talks (12)

Eyewitness Talks

In this event series eyewitnesses tell of their fates during the nazi era (video recordings available, in German)

Portrait of an elderly woman in an armchair

In Conversation with Eva Schloss

On 27 January 1945, 15-year-old Eva Geiringer and her mother Elfriede were among the around 7,000 people who witnessed the liberation of the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps by the Soviet Army.

Eyewitness Talks
Wed 27 Jan 2021 (video recording available, in German)

People touch a large touchscreen wall that displays documents and objects

The Family Album

Peter Schaul recounts the life of his mother, Dora Schaul, whose estate is part of the interactive installation The Family Album

9 Nov 2020 (with video recording, in German)

Zvi Cohen: The Boy with the Harmonica

Zvi Cohen was born in 1931 as Horst Cohn in Berlin. He attended the Jewish school in Choriner Straße from 1937. On his way to school, he was repeatedly attacked by the Hitler Youth and from 1941, he lost the courage to leave the apartment at all. During this time he learned to play the harmonica.

Eyewitness Talks
9 Mar 2020 - cancelled!

Zvi Aviram: Brushes with Death

16 September 2019
Zvi Aviram was born in January 1927 in Berlin as Heinz Abrahamsohn. From age 14, he had to perform forced labor in the arms industry. During the so-called factory operation on 27 February 1943, his parents were arrested and deported and he himself went into illegality.

Photography: Portrait of an elderly man

Sally Perel:
Hitlerjunge Salomon

12 June 2019
Sally Perel was born in Peine in April 1925. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union he pretended to be a Volksdeutscher and called himself Josef Perjell.
In 1990, his memoirs were published and were filmed in the same year under the title Hitlerjunge Salomon.

Peter Neuhof

Peter Neuhof: A Youth in the Shadow of the Persecution

3 December 2018
Peter Neuhof speaks about his memories and experiences in an interview with Aubrey Pomerance, head of the archive (in German). His parents were active members of the German Communist Party (KPD) and were arrested in 1943. Peter was able to remain in the parental home.

Portrait of Hanni Levy

Hanni Levy: Surviving in Berlin

Born in 1924, survived the Nazi era in hiding in Berlin with the help of friends, in German

Eyewitness Talks
25 Jun 2018 (with video recording)

Anita Lasker Wallfisch

28 and 29 May 2018
Born in Breslau in 1925, Anita Lasker Wallfisch studied cello in Berlin from 1938. In 1942, Anita’s parents were deported to Izbica and murdered, and in 1943 Anita and her sister Renate were deported to Ausschwitz.

Portrait of Margot Friedländer

Margot Friedländer: Try to Make Your Life

9 April 2018
Margot Friedländer was born in 1921 in Berlin and has had close ties with the museum for many years. She reads from her memoir, which takes its title from her mother’s last message to her: Try to Make Your Life. Followed by a brief discussion with Aubrey Pomerance, Head of the Archive.

Walter Frankenstein: Not with Us

31 January 2018
Born in 1924 in West Prussia, Walter Frankenstein lived in Berlin from 1936. When deportation threatened, he went into hiding with his wife and their five-week-old son. The family managed to survive with the help of friends.

Kurt Roberg

Kurt Roberg: A Visa Or Your Life

Born 1924 in Celle, emigration at the end of 1938 via the Netherlands, return to Berlin in March 1941 and re-emigration in May 1941 via Lisbon to the USA, in German

Eyewitness Talks
4 Dec 2017 (with video recording)

Henry Wuga

Henry Wuga: A Nuremberger from Glasgow

23 October 2017
Henry Wuga was born to a Jewish mother and a Catholic father in Nuremberg in 1924. In 1938, his parents were able to send him to Scotland with a children’s transport and later in 1947, he could bring his mother, who had survived in hiding, to his home in Glasgow.

Selected Objects: Archive (10)


Browse selected archival holdings online from the eighteenth century through the post-war period. Personal and official documents speak to the life of a nineteenth-century journeyman, early modern merchant rights, desperate attempts to emigrate during Nazi rule, and much more.

Adoption contract Gloeden and Loevy

Even a Jewish-sounding name could be cause for discrimination. So the siblings Erich and Ursula Loevy chose to be adopted by Bernhard Gloeden, a grammar school teacher and family friend.

A desperate letter to their son in Sweden

“As long as we are still here, we will write to you every third day,” wrote Paul and Sophie Berliner to their son, Gert, who was living in Stockholm, on 6 November 1941.

Martin Riesenburger’s Service Card

A provisional document from February 1953 certified that Martin Riesenburger was a rabbi responsible for pastoral care in East Berlin prisons.

Index cards from the British Army

Thousands of German emigrants fought against Germany in the British Army during the Second World War. In case of capture, they had to change their names, as these index cards document.

Frieda Neuber's Leather Pouch

Shortly before being deported to Theresienstadt, Frieder Neuber gave this leather pouch to her niece. The letters inside it document her desperate attempts to leave the country.

Various crumpled documents with Hebrew letters, a shoe and a bag

Memmelsdorf Genizah

In February 2002, workers renovating a house discovered a burlap sack filled with papers and personal items when they opened up a section of the ceiling. The house had been owned by Jews from 1775 to 1939.

Red Cross Letter to Emmy Warschauer

After the outbreak of the Second World War, the aid organization’s message service gave emigrants a way to contact relatives in Germany. That’s how Emmy Warschauer received confirmation that her daughter was alive.

Journeyman’s Book Belonging to the Shoemaker Leopold Willstätter

Leopold Willstätter traveled around southwest Germany and France as a journeyman from 1836 to 1843. The journeyman's book with a precise description of him also served as a form of identification.

Letter of Protection for the Jews of Ichenhausen

Until the nineteenth century, the residence and trading rights of Jews in the German territories were defined in letters of protection (Schutzbriefe), which had to be purchased.

Siegfried Leopold’s Get for His Wife Resi

According to Jewish law, a marriage is only annulled when a bill of divorce is drawn up and presented by the husband to his wife.