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Please send an informal e-mail request to use the archive well in advance of your expected visit.
Tel.: (030) 314-23080
Visual History Archive
The Center for Research on Antisemitism became the second European institution, after the Free University of Berlin, to be granted electronic access to the archive of the “Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education” at the University of Southern California (USC). Thanks to the cooperation with the Free University of Berlin, visitors to the ZfA archive may view the world’s largest historical video collection.
The “Visual History Archive” was initiated by film director Steven Spielberg. During the filming of “Schindler's List” in Krakow, Poland, Holocaust survivors expressed the wish to share their memories for posterity. For information about the history and objectives of the “Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education” at USC, see http://www.vha.fu-berlin.de/01_archiv/012_sfi/index.html .
Students, teachers and researchers have access to approximately 52,000 video interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust from 56 countries in 32 languages. The Shoah Foundation Institute has digitized the videos, tagging them and making them easy to search using a sophisticated archival system. The cataloguing and indexing allows a differentiated search using various criteria. One can begin with a search in the Visual History Archive and become familiar with the available finding aids. Direct access to the Visual History Archive is available at the ZfA archive workstations during opening hours.
The archive of the Center for Research on Antisemitism collects documents from the fields of antisemitism, Nazism, racism and right-wing extremism, but also from related fields such as German Jewish history and the history of exile.
A key archival holding on the juristic confrontation with National Socialism are the records of the Nuremberg trials from 1945 to 1948. These include documents from the major trials of war criminals carried out before the International Military Tribunal, including those against Göring, Heß, Ribbentrop and others, as well as documents from the 23 subsequent U.S. military court trials. The files are divided into several series of documents containing evidence from the prosecution, and several groups of negotiation files that include the stenographic records and documentation books from both prosecution and defense.
1. The archive includes biographical documents on approximately 25,000 German-speaking emigrants who had to leave Central Europe after 1933. The collection grew out of a research project of the Research Foundation for Jewish Immigration in New York and the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich, which engendered the Biographical Handbook of German emigration. In addition to the collection of autobiographical documents there is also a collection of approximately 150 unpublished manuscripts and documents, most of them never published, which reflect experiences of persecution and flight; there are also tapes and interview transcripts from various research projects. In addition, the archive includes 127 autobiographical manuscripts on microfilm of German Jews from the Houghton Library of Harvard University. They were submitted in 1940 in a competition entitled “My Life in Germany Before and After January 30, 1933.”
2. Since 1990 the center also has housed the archive of the American Federation of Jews from Central Europe in New York, an organization founded in 1939 to represent the interests of Jews who fled Nazi Germany and settled in the United States. Among its mandates is to advocate for reparations from the Federal Republic of Germany. The portfolio contains minutes of meetings from 1939-1973, correspondence with various organizations and governmental authorities and personnel records.
3. In 2000 the center received the Diamant collection, which contains approximately 50m² of data. Its primary component is a documentation of Jewish cemeteries in Germany and of cemetery desecration since the Weimar Republic. It also contains a collection of documents on the synagogues destroyed in the November 1938 pogrom and numerous newspaper articles that deal with the themes of “antisemitism,” “Jewish life in Germany” and “confrontations with the past” since the 1950s. The Diamant collection also contains documentation of the Chemnitz Gestapo as well as various yearbooks and newsletters of Jewish institutions.
4. The “Testaments to the Holocaust” collection from the archive of the Wiener Library in London is accessible on 76 rolls of microfilm. It contains National Socialist propaganda material such as illustrated books, calendars, the anti-Semitic encyclopedia “Sigilla Veri,” publications of the Hitler Youth, textbooks and songbooks. There are also Jewish eyewitness accounts of the National Socialist persecution, including incidents that occurred in the weeks and months after the November pogrom in 1938. Complementing this collection are the Wiener Library periodicals published from 1934 to 1965, as well as photos documenting Jewish life in the Weimar Republic and under National Socialist rule.
5. Available on 196 rolls of microfilm is the complete “DP-Germany”/”Leo W. Schwarz Papers” inventory of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York. A central source on the history of Jewish displaced persons and on Jewish history in post-war Germany, the collection is supplemented by DP newspapers and magazines.
6. Several periodicals are available on microfilm, including anti-Semitic publications such as the “Alldeutschen Blätter,” “La Libre Parole,” the “Stürmer” or the “Völkische Beobachter.” Also available are periodicals combatting antisemitism, such as the “Abwehrblätter,” the “C.V. Zeitung” or the reports from the Alliance Israélite Universelle. There are also periodicals that reflect the history of relations between Jews and non-Jews, such as Jewish newspapers and communal publications. A significant holding is the collected editions of 30 Yiddish newspapers from Berlin during the Weimar Republic, which formed the primary source for the research project on “Yiddish newspapers and magazines in Weimar Republic Berlin as the mouthpiece and literary embodiment of the self-assurance of Eastern European Jewish immigrants.”
7. A collection of press clipping from 1983 to the end of 2009 documents the development and perception of antisemitism, right-wing extremism, minority issues and confrontations with the National Socialist past. Recently, nine German daily and weekly newspapers were analyzed. Keywords by theme, individual and national group allow rapid identification of the relevant article. A video collection offers access to approximately 1,500 documentary films, news reports and movies on relevant topics.
8. A collection of right-wing extremist and anti-Semitic publications, leaflets, stickers and anonymous letters mainly from the 1980s and 90s provides insight into developments of the international right-wing extremist scene. This thematic area also includes a collection on the public perception of relevant phenomena, with material on events, scandals and affairs of the eighties and nineties, related to such topics as antisemitism or the confrontation with National Socialism. A compilation of court opinions from legal cases against right-wing extremists and Holocaust deniers completes this section.
9. Among the many bequests donated to the archive is that of Judge Horst Göppinger, author of the standard work “Juristen jüdischer Abstammung im ‘Dritten Reich’” (Lawyers of Jewish Background in the ‘Third Reich.’” The bequest contains biographical material on the fate of Jewish lawyers under National Socialism and in exile, a collection of related articles, reviews and clippings, and material on the Reichsfinanzhof (Reich Fiscal Court).