Bundesarchiv, Berlin-Lichterfelde

  • Federal Archives, Berlin-Lichterfelde


The German Reich Archives were set up in Potsdam in 1919 as a subsequent requirement of the Treaty of Versailles. During World War II some holdings were dispersed to avoid destruction, but an air raid in April 1945 destroyed many – particularly military – collections that had not been relocated. After the war there have been various successors: In the East the German Central Archives (since 1973 Central State Archives) in Potsdam, and in the West the Federal Archives in Koblenz. In the course of the reunification of Germany, the central archives of the GDR including the Military Archives and the State Film Archives in East-Berlin were integrated into the Federal Archives in 1990. After taking over the Berlin Document Center in 1994, the Federal Archives established an archival building on Finckensteinallee on an area, used formerly as military barracks from the imperial officers, the SS and the US-army. The Berlin-Lichterfelde facility is considered the largest facility of the Bundesarchiv. In 2009 a new storage building was finished and the construction work for a new user area is still ongoing.

Archival and Other Holdings

The facility in Berlin is home of the Departments R (German Reich), DDR (German Democratic Republic) and SAPMO (Foundation Archives of Parties and Mass Organisations of the GDR in the Federal Archives) and contains over 110 kilometres of archival material from more than 2,000 holdings in addition to 1.7 million books, newspapers and periodicals. The focus of these archives is contemporary German history. The Federal Archives in Berlin are probably the most important archive in Germany for the study of the history of National Socialism, as the majority of the preserved documents of the central civil institutions of the Reich as well as of the NSDAP are stored here. Key papers for the understanding of the Holocaust lie within its repositories, e.g. the Reich’s Security Main Office, the Personal staff of the Reichsführer-SS as well as the Reich Chancellery and the ministries of Interior, of Justice or of Armament. The fonds of the leading party administration including the NSDAP membership card index as well as other personal files (the former Berlin Document Center, the NS-archives of the State’s Security Police of the GDR, personal papers of prominent leaders) are also available for use. Moreover the Federal Archives in Berlin run the memorial book for the victims of the nazi persecution of Jews and compose a list of all Jewish residents in the German Reich between 1933 and 1945. The holdings are completed by personal papers and records of the GDR dealing with the “Third Reich”.

Finding Aids, Guides, and Publication

Research within the records of the Bundesarchiv can be exercised through finding aids (books, file index) and/or the huge database called Invenio which is accessible online under: https://invenio.bundesarchiv.de/ A memorial book for Jewish residents that fell victim to the national socialist regime can be found under http://www.bundesarchiv.de/gedenkbuch/index.html.en All information about using records or services of the Bundesarchiv is available through the website: http://www.bundesarchiv.de/benutzung/index.html.en Archival User Service can be reached by telephone: +49 (0)3018/7770-420 or -411

In order to browse through an overview of Bundesarchiv holdings in Department R (Reich) by tectonic hierarchy (as opposed to current Bundesarchiv agency location), see the Beständeübersicht: https://portal.ehri-project.eu/virtual/de-002429-bestandeubersicht

Opening Times

Archives: Monday - Thursday: 8am - 7pm and Friday: 8am - 4pm

Conditions of Access

There are about 150 workplaces in three reading rooms for the use of archival materials, microfilms and library materials.


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