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Reichsvertretung der deutschen Juden

Identifier: AR 221

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains materials about the Reichsvertretung der deutschen Juden, a federation of Jewish organizations and regional and local Jewish communities, founded in 1933, that aimed to provide a unified voice for German Jewry in dealing with the Nazi authorities.

The collection includes the correspondence files of banker Georg Hirschland concerning the formation of the Reichsvertretung. In addition to extensive incoming and outgoing correspondence, these folders also include minutes, drafts, clippings, and other documents such as notes-to-file. For example, found here is a handwritten draft by Otto Hirsch of the September 21, 1933 proclamation to German Jews about the formation of the Reichsvertretung. Also found here are sign-in sheets for meetings in 1933 and 1934. The bulk of the material is from August – September 1933. The precise original order is unclear, but most likely these documents came from a binder or binders. The documents were left in the order found, and separated into folders based on breaks in dates. Also found in this section is one folder of general correspondence, mostly typescript and Photostat copies of outgoing Reichsvertretung correspondence.

Correspondents include Leo Baeck, Rudolf Callmann, Alfred Dienemann of the Reichsbund jüdischer Frontsoldaten, Hugo Hahn, Otto Hirsch, Willy Katzenstein, Max Lilienthal, Siegfried Moses, Heinrich Stahl, Nathan Stein, Ludwig Tietz, Max Warburg, and Bruno Woyda, among many others.

The collection also includes a variety of documents and publications by or about the Reichsvertretung, such as articles, budgets, leaflets, minutes, and reports. Extensive statistics about German Jews – their emigration, employment, status – are also found here, as is an 18-page history of the Reichsvertretung by Bruno Blau, with 36 pages of attachments (typed copies of key documents).

The clippings are mostly Photostat copies from the CV Zeitung and Jüdische Rundschau, but there are also a few original clippings from the Israelitisches Familienblatt and Aufbau.

The Miscellaneous section includes a pamphlet entitled 5 Jahre Hilfe und Aufbau; a typescript copy of 1933 letter from Alfred Dienemann to Otto Hahn; two stamp booklets showing contributions to the Wohlfahrtsamt der Jüdischen Gemeinde zu Berlin from Albert Phiebig; and a typescript note calling for solidarity among German Jews.

The Addenda include a circular letter regarding adult education by Ernst Simon, entitled Mittelstelle fuer jüdische Erwachsenenbildung; a telegram from Leo Baeck to the Potsdam community; 1941 receipt for a contribution to the Hilfsverein of the Reichsverinigung; and a Photostat of a 1963 letter from Hans Reichmann to Max Gruenewald about the Reichsvertretung.


  • 1933-1963
  • Majority of material found within 1933-1934

Language of Materials

This collection is in German.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers.

Access Information

Readers may access the collection by visiting the Lillian Goldman Reading Room at the Center for Jewish History. We recommend reserving the collection in advance; please visit the LBI Online Catalog and click on the "Request" button.

Historical Note

The Reichsvertretung der deutschen Juden was founded in September 1933. It was a federation of Jewish organizations and regional and local Jewish communities, representing a wide range of political and religious viewpoints, that aimed to provide a unified voice for German Jewry in dealing with the Nazi authorities. It also provided social services and aided the emigration of Jews from Germany.

Upon its inception, Rabbi Leo Baeck was elected president, with Otto Hirsch serving as chairman. Among the chief organizers were Dr. Georg Hirschland, president of the Jewish Community of Essen and Dr. Hugo Hahn, its rabbi. In 1935, the Nazi government renamed it the Reichsvertretung der Juden in Deutschland. It was dissolved in 1938 and was replaced in 1939 by the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland, a compulsory organization of all Jews living in Nazi Germany, as defined by the Nuremberg laws.

For further information, see Sauer, Paul, "Otto Hirsch (1885–1941): Director of the Reichsvertretung," Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook (1987) 32(1): 341-368, Gruenewald, Max, "The Beginning of the ‘Reichsvertretung," Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook (1956) 1(1): 57-67, and Adler-Rudel, Shalom, Jüdische Selbsthilfe unter dem Naziregime 1933-1939 (1974).


0.75 Linear Feet (two boxes) + one oversize folder (OS 148)


This collection contains materials about the Reichsvertretung der deutschen Juden, a federation of Jewish organizations and regional and local Jewish communities, founded in 1933, that aimed to provide a unified voice for German Jewry in dealing with the Nazi authorities. It includes a significant amount of correspondence surrounding the formation of the Reichsvertretung, as well as articles, budgets, clippings, ephemera, leaflets, minutes, reports, and statistics.


The collection was previously arranged and described. The arrangement was not significantly altered (see the Processing Note for a description of the small changes).

Related Material

"Documents on Reichsvertretung der Juden in Deutschland, Berlin (1933-1943)" (MF 456) is a microfilm reel that holds 1200 documents from the Bundesarchiv in Potsdam, Germany.

The Leo Baeck Institute Archives also holds a significant amount of material related to the Reichsvertretung and the people who were involved in its activities. Search the catalog for "Reichsvertretung" to find these materials.

Separated Material

One folder from VI. Addenda: "Courage in Adversity. The Creation of the Reichsvertretung" (Hugo Hahn Memorial Lecture, by Fred Grubel at Congregation Habonim, 17 typed pages, 1993) was removed to the LBI Manuscript collection.

A few individual complete issues of CV Zeitung, Israelitisches Familienblatt, Jüdische Rundschau, Jüdisch-liberale Zeitung, and Der Schild, from 1933 and 1934, were removed to the LBI Library. Also provided to the library were a copy of the 1938 pamphlet 5 Jahre Hilfe und Aufbau, and one issue each of the Gemeinde Zeitung für den Synagogenbezirk Essen and Mitteilungen der Jüdischen Reformgemeinde zu Berlin, both from 1933.

Processing Information

The collection was previously arranged and described. In 2012, the materials were deduplicated (photocopies removed), interleaved with acid-free paper, and rehoused; full issues of journals were removed to the LBI Library. Two items from the addenda were removed: the 1993 Fred Grubel speech was moved to the LBI Manuscripts and Memoir collection, and the 1989 MB article about the Reichsvertretung was discarded. This finding aid provides more context and description than the previous typed finding aid (available at LBI).

The clippings folders (2/2 and 2/3) were formerly AR 362.

The collection appears to be have been intentionally assembled by the LBI over the years, from various sources and donations.

Guide to the Reichsvertretung der Deutschen Juden Collection 1933-1963, bulk 1933-1934 AR 221
Processed by Kevin Schlottmann
© 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Described and encoded as part of the CJH Holocaust Resource Initiative, made possible by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States