A large number of the cards can be assigned to one of the following categories: pupil card, deceased card, emigration card and foreigner card. Whereas the cards of the pupil card index are, as a rule, about registration as part of the school administration, the other cards can be characterized as registration cards used by the District Branch of the Headquarters of the Reich Association in Berlin as a source of information on any changes in the information of the members.
Additionally there are cards in the collection which were issued by the ITS. For the most part these have to do with cross-references to names within the index. There are individual cards that refer to other original cards that had been removed and can no longer be located. There are also cards in this group that trace the fate of someone persecuted and the search made for him or her. Moreover, there are also cards from the Bad Arolsen Special Registry Office in the collection. These contain, as a rule, the biographical data of the person and information on their partners. These cards had not been removed and yet were also marked as ITS-cards (compare: general comments with the listing of the assigned attributes).
Organization and Arrangement
The index cards are organized alphabetically according to the surname of the person named/listed first.
In 1941 the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland (Reich Association of Jews in Germany) had been compelled to create these registration cards the Gestapo used to choose their deportees from.
With the coming to power of the National Socialists in January 1933, the social, legal and economic exclusion of the Jews living in Germany began. The goal of the numerous anti-Semitic measures was the isolation of the Jewish population and their forced emigration. Against this background, in January 1939 on Göring’s orders the Reich Association of Jews in Germany was founded.
By creating this association the Nazi government had a central organization whose first task was especially to organize the emigration of Jews from Germany. At the same time, establishing the Association further intensified the isolation of the Jews by developing and/or solidifying separate “Jewish structures”.
In matters of personnel and organisation, the Reich Association was a continuation of the “Reich Deputation of Jews in Germany”, which had been ordered by the Gestapo to form and which then became the Reich Association.
The Reichsvertretung was founded in 1933 by various Jewish organizations as a representation of their interests under the name „Reichsvertretung der deutschen Juden“ (Reich Deputation of German Jews”), and then was forcibly renamed “Reich Deputation of Jews in Germany” in 1935.
In contrast to the Reichsvertretung, the Reich Association was an obligatory organisation every German and “stateless” person living in the Altreich who was declared Jewish by the Nürnberg Laws had to be a member, irregardless of the person’s own self-concept.
The Reich Association was directly subordinate to the Gestapo (or the “Reichssicherheitshauptamt” – the Reich Main Security Administration) and was closely monitored by them. Their central office was located in the Kantstraße in Berlin-Charlottenburg. This office was subordinate to regional district offices, which were in turn subordinate to the larger Jewish Communities as “local branches”. Smaller communities with fewer than 1,000 members were registered in the district offices. The Jewish communities and their welfare organizations were thus practically part of the Reich Association.
Together with the communities subordinate to them, the Reich Association was „responsible“ for all areas of Jewish life, among theses being the organization of the Jewish school system and welfare activities such as aid to the poor, hospitals, etc. By order of the Gestapo the Reich Association was to communicate the anti-Jewish regulations and restrictions to their members.
In order to organize their members, the Reich Association had different lists of names at their disposal that were updated regularly and had been created, in part, long before the Reich Association was founded.
After the deportation was essentially completed, the severely diminished Reich Association was moved on to the grounds of the Jewish Hospital in Berlin-Wedding. By this time, almost all the Jews in official functions had been deported. Those members remaining in Wedding were almost exclusively Jews in “mixed marriages”, and were to take care of the few remaining Jews still living in the Reich, these, too, being for the most part in “mixed marriages”. The Reich Association was finally dissolved on 20.09.1945 by the Allied Control Commission.
History of Ownership
In 1941 the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland (Reich Association of Jews in Germany) had been compelled to create these registration cards the Gestapo used to choose their deportees from. The collection was given to the ITS in several deliveries between the years 1947 and 1950, from different places and from unknown sources, evidenced by 14 index cards of the ITS index card register showing the “old signatures”. According to the accession description, the cards originate from: "Jewish Cultural Committees Germany Unknown Various Volks- and Mittelschulen der Jüdischen Gemeinde, Berlin Verschieden, Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland - Berlin, Kultusvereinigung und Synagogen, Gemeinden aus allen Teilen Deutschlands, Kulturkomitee, Jüdische Gemeinden in Deutschland". A re-organizing of the collection in alphabetical order followed, as well as the inclusion of reference cards and the description through the Central Name Index. The Card File of the Reich Association of Jews in Germany is not complete. Through the activities of the tracing services, cards were removed from one collection and integrated into another, e.g. into the T/D case file. During the change to an electronic system, the 14 access cards were converted into nine inventory cards and given “signatures”. The collection was indexed in 2014/2015. As part of this work, mistakes in the alphabetical order of the index cards were corrected and cards which had been removed were placed back. The replacing of these cards is an ongoing process, which is the reason why further increase in the information is to be expected.
For photocopies of the index cards for research purposes the ITS Regulations on Fees and Tariffs apply
Digital copies of ITS fonds/ collections are available at:
Archives de l'État en Belgique, Brussels, Belgium Archives Nationales, Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, France Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel Centre de Documentation et de Recherche sur la Résistance, Luxembourg Instytut Pamięci Narodowej (IPN), Warsaw, Poland The Wiener Library, London, United Kingdom US Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), Washington, D.C., USA
International Tracing Service (ITS), Stiftung Neue Synagoge Berlin – Centrum Judaicum, FU Berlin (Hrsg.), Kartei-karten und Menschen – Fenster in die Vergangenheit. Die Kartei der Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland im Archiv des International Tracing Service (ITS), Pädagogische Handreichung, Bad Arolsen 2014. (https://www.its-arolsen.org/bildung/paedagogische-materialien/karteikarten-und-menschen/)
Jah, Akim, Letzte Spuren, Die „Reichsvereinigungs-Kartei“ im Archiv des ITS, in: Rebecca Boehling, Susanne Urban, René Bienert (Hrsg.), Freilegungen. Überlebende-Erinnerungen-Transformationen, Göttingen 2013, S. 17-28.
Jah, Akim, Forgotten Aspects of the Holocaust in Germany. The Ausländerkartei and Schülerkartei in the Card File of the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland, in: Rebecca Boehling, Susanne Urban, Elizabeth Anthony, Suzanne Brown-Fleming (Hrsg.), Freilegungen. Siegelungen der NS-Verfolgung und ihrer Konsequenzen, Göttingen 2015, S 116-124.
Meyer, Beate, Tödliche Gratwanderung. Die Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland zwischen Hoffnung, Zwang, Selbstbehauptung und Verstrickung (1939-1945), Göttingen 2011.
Meyer, Beate, Handlungsspielräume regionaler jüdischer Repräsentanten (1941-1945). Die Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland und die Deportationen, in: Die Deportation der Juden aus Deutschland. Pläne – Praxis – Reaktionen 1938-1945 (Beiträge zur Geschichte des Nationalsozialismus 20), Göttingen 2004, S. 63-85.
Schubert, Franziska, Neue Wege der Erschließung im ITS. Die Indizierung der Kartei der Reichsvereinigung der Juden – ein Pilotprojekt, in: Rebecca Boehling, Susanne Urban, Elizabeth Anthony, Suzanne Brown-Fleming (Hrsg.), Freilegungen. Siegelungen der NS-Verfolgung und ihrer Konsequenzen, Göttingen 2015, S. 215-222.