Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith Centralverein deutscher Staatsbürger jüdischen Glaubens, Berlin (Fond 721)

Language of Description
Alt. Identifiers
  • 1993.A.0085.1.31
  • RG-11.001M.31
1 Jan 1869 - 31 Dec 1939, 1 Jan 1923 - 31 Dec 1938
Level of Description
  • German
EHRI Partner

Extent and Medium

248 microfilm reels (partial), 16 mm

approximately 500,000 digital images, JPEG


Biographical History

Centralverein deutscher Staatsbürger jüdischen Glaubens (Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith) was founded in Berlin in 1893 to safeguard Jewish civil and social equality against rising German antisemitism. The Central-Verein or CV advocated a German-Jewish "symbiosis" and denied that German Jews were a part of a worldwide Jewish national entity. It was therefore accused by contemporary Zionists and some later historians of promoting assimilation. Actually the CV opposed apostasy and intermarriage. Starting as a solely outward-looking defense organization ("Abwehrverein"), its leaders, mainly influenced by Eugen Fuchs (1856–1923), soon added the goals of an organization of conviction ("Gesinnungsverein"), embracing an internal Jewish aim to strengthen the ties of Jewish identity. Accused of assimilationist, Fuchs declared in 1917: "If indeed the Centralverein would promote apostasy and the disintegration of Judaism, while Zionism confirms antisemitism, I would go over, without a moment's hesitation and under flying banners, into the Zionist camp because … I regard antisemitism as the lesser evil" (quoted in the “Um Deutschtum und Judentum”) Besides initiating legal action and publicity campaigns against the defamation of Jews or Judaism, the CV devoted much energy and funds to its literary activities, not only in defense against anti-Semitic invectives, but also as part of the internal Jewish discourse on the substance or the re-definition of Jewish identity in modern times. The organization's main publications were the monthly “Im Deutschen Reich”, from 1895 on the official organ of the cv, replaced in 1922 by the weekly “Central-Verein Zeitung”, which issued a monthly selection for non-Jewish readers. Der Morgen, a learned bimonthly (1925–38), and over 100 books published by the CV Philo-Verlag dealt with a wide range of current and historical problems, not only concerning German Jewry but also worldwide Jewish issues. Its press printed, under different covers, numerous brochures, pamphlets, and flyers to be used in the political campaigns of the liberal and socialist anti-Nazi parties in the last years of the Weimar republic. At the end of the republic the CV had 70,000 dues-paying members in over 500 local chapters, and the CV Zeitung a circulation of 55,000. The organization's claim to represent the majority of German Jewry was therefore not unfounded. After Hitler's accession to power in 1933 the CV cooperated with the Zionists and other Jewish organizations in the establishment and work of the “Reischsvertretung der Juden in Deutschland”, presided over Leo Baeck. In a quietly agreed-upon division of labor, its experienced staff provided Jews all over Germany with legal advice and counsel on economic problems. By official order, the name was changed in 1935 to Central-Verein der Juden in Deutschland ("Central Association of Jews in Germany"), and in 1936 to Jűdischer Central-Verein ("Jewish Central Union"). After the Kristallnacht pogrom of November 1938 the CV was dissolved by the Nazi authorities together with most Jewish organizations.

Archival History

Rossiĭskiĭ gosudarstvennyĭ voennyĭ arkhiv


Forms part of the Claims Conference International Holocaust Documentation Archive at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. This archive consists of documentation whose reproduction and/or acquisition was made possible with funding from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

Source of acquisition is the Russian State Military Archive (Rossiĭskiĭ gosudarstvennyĭ voennyĭ arkhiv), Osobyi Archive, Fond 721. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives received the filmed collection via the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum International Archival Programs Division in 1993 and several accretions between 2001-2008.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of the organization charts, minutes, reports, circulars, correspondence, announcements, administrative and financial documents, bulletins, newspaper clippings, and the catalog of books held by the organization’s library. Most of materials originate from 1920s and 1930s and relate to organization’s activities as: organizing professional courses for young people, organizing conferences to protect Jewish communities from antisemitism, building educational curricula and publishing journals of the Jewish youth leagues “Ring” and “Herzlia,” admitting new members and distributing Jewish newspapers. The collection includes rich correspondence with various German Jewish organizations: the Union of Jewish War Veterans, the Union of Jewish Youth Associations in Germany, the union of German Jewish Youth “Ring,” Keren Hayesod, The German Jewish Aid Society (Hilfsverien), the German Grand Lodge of the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith, and other organizations; case files (1930-1938) on specific cases and suits on behalf of members; case files on antisemitism and on political, economic, and legal problems (1923 to 1938). The correspondence and reports relate mainly to the administrative matters, meetings, recruitment, publicity, Jewish schools and Jewish societies, antisemitism and the limitation of Jewish rights in Germany; reporting to the Gestapo, and achievements on behalf of members. Note: USHMM Archives holds only selected records.

System of Arrangement

Fond 721 (1869-1939). Opis 1-3; Dela 4370. Arranged in three series: 1. Opis 1, dela 3892: Organization's charts, circular letters, publications, etc.; 2. Opis 2, delo 1-226b: Newspapers and various reports and statistics regarding emigration and anti-Semitism; 3. Opis 3, dela 49: Various correspondence, clippings and statistics regarding situation of Jews in Germany (1920-1938). Note: Location of digital images; Partial microfilm reels #98-102, 11-130, 132-153,156-183, 190-191, 205, 223, 306-375, 597-686; Reel 98-101: Reel start-Reel end ; Reel 102: Reel start-Image #1153; Reel 111: Image #780-1635; Reel 112-118: Reel start-Reel end; Reel 119: Image #240-Reel end; Reel 120-130: Reel start-Reel end; Reel 132: Image#1008- Reel end; Reel 134-153: Reel start-Reel end; Reel 156: Image #1702-Reel end; Reel 157-162: Reel start-Reel end; Reel 163: Image #957-2449; Reel 164-182: Reel start-Reel end; Reel 183: Reel start-Image #791; Reel 190: Reel start-Reel end; Reel 191: Reel start-Image # 1759; Reel 205: Image #887-Reel end; Reel 223: Image 1037-Reel end; Reel 306: Image #1661-Reel end.

Conditions Governing Reproduction

Copyright Holder: Rossiĭskiĭ gosudarstvennyĭ voennyĭ arkhiv


Corporate Bodies



This description is derived directly from structured data provided to EHRI by a partner institution. This collection holding institution considers this description as an accurate reflection of the archival holdings to which it refers at the moment of data transfer.