Zentralarchiv zur Erforschung der Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland

  • Central Archives for Research on the History of the Jews in Germany
  • Zentralarchiv Heidelberg
  • Central Archives Heidelberg


Landfriedstr. 12


The Central Archives for Research on the History of the Jews in Germany was founded in 1987 as an establishment of the Central Council of Jews in Germany (Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland). The conception of the Central Archives can be compared with that of the former General Archives of the German Jews (Gesamtarchiv der deutschen Juden) located in Berlin 1905- 1939. Storing and cataloguing historically valuable documents from Jewish communities, associations, organizations, and persons are of major concern. As a rule, the records are deposited at the Central Archives.

Archival and Other Holdings

The collection of documents from the Jewish communities, associations, and organizations is limited to the political borders of the Federal Republic of Germany. None of the institutions though are obliged to transfer outdated records to the Central Archives, as the collection and storage itself is based on individual agreements. Contrary to the public sector, enforceable guidelines are non-existent in the Jewish sector; the Central Archives in Heidelberg merely offers the Jewish communities an opportunity to store old records and documents. Yet on this basis the Central Archives has already acquired extensive record groups:

Central Council of Jews in Germany Records 1950-1997, 45 linear meters Central Welfare Office of the Jews in Germany Records 1954-1990, 110 linear meters Allgemeine Jüdische Wochenzeitung Records of the Editor 1983-1997, 11 linear meters Jewish Student Organisations Records 1962-1992, 7 linear meters Regional Association of Jewish Communities in Lower Saxony / Jewish Community Hannover Records 1945-1990, 45 linear meters Regional Association of Jewish Communities in Nordrhein Records 1945-1981, 42 linear meters Jewish Community Berlin DP-files 1945-1949, 5 linear meters Jewish Community Bremen Records 1945-1979, 42 linear meters Jewish Community Dortmund Records 1945-1990, 30 linear meters Jewish Community Düsseldorf Records 1945-1979, 21 linear meters Jewish Community Frankfurt a.M. Records 1945-1985, 302 linear meters Jewish Community Fürth Records1946-1995, 10 linear meters Jewish Community Heidelberg Records 1961-1991, 6 linear meters Jewish Community Wiesbaden Records 1962-1986 and papers of the cantor Edmund Capell 1905 - 1937, 6 linear meters Persona

In order to achieve a detailed documentation on Jewish life, the Central Archives also looks into personal papers. Historically relevant sources are not only to be found among the leading representatives of Jewish communites and organizations but also among a new generation of Jewish authors in German literature and journalism. Already in their lifetime important documents can be secured and given public access. The prerequisite for the cooperation with a Jewish author is that the author deals with Jewish topics that have an impact on public discussions in the Federal Republic of Germany. Documents of the following persons are already in storage:

Jellinek family papers 1850-1960, 0.1 linear meter Edmund Capell (*1876-1942), cantor personal papers, 0.02 linear meters Leiser Goldschmidt (*1889-1960) personal papers, 0.01 linear meter Lothar Rothschild (*1909-1974), rabbi personal papers, 2 linear meters Stefan Schwarz (*1910-1985) personal papers, 0.02 linear meters Joseph Wulf (*1912-1974), historian personal papers, 21 linear meters Emil Davidovic (*1912-1986), rabbi personal papers, 0.3 linear meters Helmut Eschwege (*1913-1992), historian personal papers, 13 linear meters Kahn family papers 1915-1980, 0.02 linear meters Gerhard Ballin (*1922-1989), genealogist collection of material, 2 linear meters Robert Schindel (*1944), poet manuscripts 1960-1991, 0.5 linear meters Henryk Broder (*1946), journalist manuscripts and collection of material, tapes 1963-1993, 13 linear meters Rafael Seligmann (*1947), author articles 1979-1984, 0.02 linear meters Peter Sichrovsky (*1947), author critics and reader's letters 1983-1990, 0.4 linear meters Siegfried Baruch (*1901-1973) letters, fotos, articles 1948-1983, 0.1 linear meter Barbara Honigmann (*1949), author critics 1986-1996, 1 linear meter Collections Cemetery documentation

Nearly 2.000 Jewish cemeteries exist today in the Federal Republic of Germany. The total number of Jewish gravestones have been estimated at 600.000. Destruction, willful and by the elements, endanger these tombstones. A major task of the Central Archives in the first years of its existence was the preservation of the inscriptions by an extensive photo-documentary. Photographs of about 54.000 Jewish tombstones in Baden-Württemberg are now in possession of the Central Archives. In addition, the Central Archives stores photographs of more than 5.000 Jewish gravestones of Lower Saxony. Information on other documentation-projects of Jewish gravestone inscriptions is collected systematically. Newsletters

The collection of all periodical publications by Jewish groups or organizations is a further aim of the Central Archives in Heidelberg. Written newsletters that are sent, that is, "made public" to members of a Jewish community, association, or organization are considered publications. The collections of the Central Archives consist of public newspapers and journals, newsletters of Jewish communities, programs of Jewish adult education centers, and photocopied circulars.

The Central Archives systematically collects lists of sources kept in other archives, institutions, or of those in private possession that are of relevance to the history of the Jews in Germany. As a rule, existent special inventories are copied and given access to in Heidelberg.


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