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Pedagogical Booklet on the Index Card File of the Reich Association of Jews in Germany

The International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen and the New Synagogue Berlin Foundation - Centrum Judaicum presented today in Berlin a pedagogical booklet about the Index Card File of the Reich Association of Jews in Germany, which is part of the archival collections of the ITS. The publication entitled “Karteikarten und Menschen – Fenster in die Vergangenheit” (Index Card Files and People – Windows into the Past) includes the fates of five Jewish children and adolescents from Berlin who managed to survive the Shoah. Dr. Hermann Simon emphasizes: “This collection in the archives of the ITS, which has only been preserved in part, is of decisive importance for research, teaching and, most of all, pedagogical work.”

A cooperation between the ITS, the Foundation for the New Synagogue Berlin - Centrum Judaicum and the Freie Universität Berlin has resulted in the publication of this booklet, in order to bring this unique source of information to the attention of the public and to scholars. The project was funded by the Senate Chancellery for Cultural Affairs of the Federal State of Berlin. The pedagogical material will be sent to university professors and secondary school and adult education teachers as well as to the staff of memorial sites, museums, and institutions actively engaged in education.

In January 1939 the “Reich Association of Jews” was founded in Germany by order of Hermann Göring. All those German and “stateless” persons living in the Old Reich were forced to belong to it if they, according to the Nuremberg Laws, were regarded as Jews. It was “responsible” for overseeing all aspects of the life of the Jews. At the same time, it served as a “liaison office” between the Nazi state and the Jewish population and was used to control the work of the Jewish institutions and to announce the anti-Semitic measures of discrimination. “The card index in the archives of the ITS contains more than 32,000 references to Jews living in Germany at that time. What a rich source for education and research,” Dr. Susanne Urban, Head of Research and Education at the ITS, underlines. “The ITS, together with the Centrum Judaicum, would like to make use of this potential and to coordinate activities.”