The Ball-Kaduri Collection: Contemporary testimonies and reports regarding the Holocaust of the Jews of Germany and Central Europe, 1943-1960
Dr. Kurt Ball-Kaduri was born in Berlin in 1891. A lawyer and legal adviser to the Prussian government, he was also active in Jewish affairs. He made aliya to Eretz Israel in December 1938.
Dr. Ball-Kaduri, who was active in collecting material and writing about German Jewry, became aware that much material that reached the archives regarding Jewish life in Germany from 1933 to 1945 was incomplete, and that there were large information gaps. From his own public activities in Germany, he knew very well that many activities were conducted without any documentation, especially after the Nazi rise to power. For example, official applications were effected through indirect means, relying on various personal connections, and official meetings were not held, because notice of every official meeting had to be given to the Gestapo, who would send its representatives to attend each meeting. Thus, decisions were made at unofficial meetings, and the report regarding implementation of these decisions was passed on by word of mouth. For these reasons, Dr. Ball-Kaduri decided to gather material orally from the people involved in Jewish life and the activities of the Jewish organizations.
In 1943 Dr. Ball-Kaduri began to collect the information and actually established his collection . He applied to various people whom he knew in Eretz Israel and asked that they write their memoirs. He interviewed some of them himself, and thus gathered much material. He also turned to people who had immigrated to other countries with a request that they send material, but, in his own words, here he met with partial success. In the course of time the subjects of his collection expended to documentation that did not pertain to Germany alone. In May 1945, the collection became his exclusive property, and in 1955 he handed it over to Yad Vashem, while continuing to collect related documentation for Yad Vashem until 1960.
The Record Group includes memoirs of Jewish leaders in various areas of Jewish life in Germany. Although there is much documentation regarding the fate of individual Holocaust victims, the main emphasis of the Record Group is on the different Jewish organizations. There is much information about local community organizations and the central Jewish organizations of German Jewry, including general, Zionist, and religious organizations. There is also documentation regarding emigration preparations and relations with the Nazi authorities as seen by the Jews. There are over 300 files in the record group; most of the collection is in German, however about half of the testimonies have been translated into Hebrew.
Description of the files are available on IDEA ALM system at Yad Vashem Archives reading room
JL according to the RG description in the YV system