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The Archive

The Jewish Museum Berlin's archive safeguards over 1,500 sets of documents chronicling the diverse lives and destinies of German Jews and German-Jewish families.

A handwritten testament

Testament of Veitel Heine Ephraim (1703-1775), Berlin 1774
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jens Ziehe

These holdings stem almost exclusively from personal donations and include writs of protection and representative's letters, wedding and other civil status certificates, documents of military service, of training and professional life, business, scientific, and private correspondence, diaries and memoirs. Photographs, ornate certificates, souvenirs, and everyday objects complement the written materials.

The holdings on middle-class life in the Empire, on participation in the First World War, and on persecution and emigration during the Nazi era are considerable. The historical foci of the collection lie in these epochs, though individual collections date back to before the mid 18th century while others express concerns about a still unknown future.

The majority of the holdings come from Berlin. This geographical focus can in part be traced back to the origins of the collection, but also reflects the fact that around one third of the German Jews lived in this city. However, since the Jewish Museum opened, it has been successful in acquiring extensive material documenting Jewish life in other towns and regions.


Aubrey Pomerance
Head of Archives JMB/Leo Baeck Institute
Tel: +49 (0)30 259 93 556
Fax: +49 (0)30 259 93 409

All holdings can be viewed by researchers, students, and other interested parties in the Museum's Reading Room on request.

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