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.
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.
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.
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.
Head of Archives/Leo Baeck Institute
T +49 (0)30 259 93 556
F +49 (0)30 259 93 409
Jewish Museum Berlin
Historical sources on the antisemitic violence in Germany between 1930 and 1938 in the holdings of the JMB
12 of 12,000
Fallen German-Jewish Soldiers in the First World War
Opening hours, catalogs, databases, and further information
Leo Baeck Institute Archive in Berlin
Branch of the New York–based Leo Baeck Institute, a Research Archive on German Jewry
The Wiener Library at our Museum
A branch of the oldest institution worldwide documenting the Nazi era and its crimes
Access to Archival Holdings
Online registration for use of documents from our archive
For the Archive and Library of the Jewish Museum Berlin
Behind the Scenes: Anecdotes and Exciting Finds while Working with our Collections (6)
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.
That can’t be! Can it?
Jörg Waßmer about coincidences in the archive
“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
Theresia Ziehe, curator for photography, on the history of the Herbert Sonnenfeld collection
Online Features: The Background and Ramifications of 9 November 1938 (5)
The Background and Ramifications of 9 November 1938
The employees of our Archive have combed through our archival holdings and assembled materials on various topics related to the violent riots against Jews that took place on 9 and 10 November 1938.
“We were being driven like hunted animals!”
Mendel Max Karp’s lengthy account about his deportation from the German capital on October 28, 1938, during the Polenaktion
“... or was it the end of the world?”
In a letter, David Fiks records an extensive account of his experiences in Berlin on 9 November 1938 and the days that followed.
The Exclusion of Jewish Children from Public Schools 1938
What an apparently innocuous postcard reveals
“Travel Toward a Happy Future!”
In reaction to the November Pogroms, the Kindertransport program of 1938–39 rescued ten thousand children from the Nazis’ violent regime.
“Decisive Defense and Hard Reparations”
The financial punishment of the Jewish populace after Kristallnacht
Event Series: Eyewitness Talks (10)
In this event series six eyewitnesses tell of their fates during the nazi era (video recordings available, 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.
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.
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: 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.
Hanni Levy: Surviving in Berlin
Born in 1924, survived the Nazi era in hiding in Berlin with the help of friends, in German
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.
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: 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
4 Dec 2017 (with video recording)
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.
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.
Archival Collections Online
Tickets, letters, journals, certificates, passports, and other official documents (in German)
Family collections arriving at the museum
JMB Journal 18
1933: The Beginning of the End of German Jewry
Online project for the 2013 Theme Year “Diversity Destroyed: 1933–1938”
Paula and Bernhard Lustig's Wedding Album
A worthwhile insight into our archive
Areas of interest and subject matter
All About ...
Glimpses of Specific Archival Holdings
Our staff presents individual documents and collections on our blog.
Return of the Café Nagler
Jörg Waßmer on the trail of a coffee shop