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The John F. and Hertha Oppenheimer Collection at Our Library
Publications by the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith and Other Writings
One of the first major gifts to our library's precursor came from John F. and Hertha Oppenheimer. In 1982, the couple donated a collection of publications by the Central Association for German Citizens of Jewish Faith to the Jewish section of the Berlin Museum. In addition to other writings from the interwar period, the collection also contains numerous books published in the United States after 1945.
The Central Association of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith
The Central Association of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith was founded in 1893 and had its main office at Lindenstrasse 13 from 1905 to 1930 in the immediate vicinity of the Collegienhaus, which now belongs to the Jewish Museum Berlin.
John F. Oppenheimer
John F. (Hans Friedrich) Oppenheimer worked as a sales manager and editor at the Central Verein-Zeitung (Central Association Newspaper) until it had to be dissolved in 1938 and Oppenheimer and his wife Hertha were able to emigrate to the USA via Holland. He is primarily known as a co-editor of the Philo-Lexikon (1935) and chief editor of the Lexikon des Judentums (1967).
The Central Association attempted to fight anti-Semitism and strengthen the German-Jewish identity through both legal efforts and publicity campaigns. For example, its brochure from 1929 entitled "Our Measures to Combat Cemetery Desecrations in Germany" lists 71 desecrations of cemeteries and 24 of synagogues between 1923 and 1928. It also documents the petition presented in 1927 by the Central Association to all German state governments calling for prosecution for this ever more frequent offense and reports on German state authorities' reactions to the petition. Furthermore, the brochure contains a detailed report on the rally "Iniquity against German Culture" of 18 October 1928, organized by the Central Association with the national government's involvement.
- Bendt, Vera. "John F. und Hertha Oppenheimer-Stiftung." In: Berlinische Notizen (Notes from Berlin). Berlin: Verein der Freunde und Förderer des Berlin Museums, 1984, 11.
- Karin H. Grimme, "Der Centralverein deutscher Staatsbürger jüdischen Glaubens" (The Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith). In: Jüdisches Leben in Berlin. Die Lindenstraße - Ideen zur historischen Projektarbeit an Schulen (Jewish Life in Berlin: Lindenstrasse – Ideas for Historical Projects in Schools). Ludwigsfelde, Germany: Landesinstitut für Schule und Medien Berlin-Brandenburg, 2008, 53–63.