Guide to the American Federation of Jews from Central Europe Collection
1942-2005
(bulk 1944-1947)

AR 4420

Processed by Leanora Lange

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305

Email: http://www.lbi.org/ask

URL: http://www.lbi.org

© 2013  Leo Baeck Institute
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Leanora Lange in June 2013. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: American Federation of Jews from Central Europe
Title: American Federation of Jews from Central Europe Collection
Dates:1942-2005
Dates:bulk 1944-1947
Abstract: This collection consists mainly of responses to a 1944 questionnaire sent by the American Federation of Jews from Central Europe to collect information on the communal property owned by Jewish communities in Germany prior to November 1938. Materials include completed questionnaires, correspondence, lists of reporting congregations, addresses, charts of data collected, and a final report. A small amount of materials related to other functions of the Federation is also included.
Languages: The collection is in English and German.
Quantity: 1 linear foot
Identification: AR 4420
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Historical Note

The American Federation of Jews from Central Europe (the Federation) was an organization that assisted Jewish immigrants in the United States with many services and advocated for the rights of these immigrants in their new home. The activities of the Federation include supporting restitution efforts, guarding American civil rights of German-Jewish immigrants, and providing educational and other social services to new immigrants.

The American Federation of Jews from Central Europe grew out of the activities of several New York City Jewish-German clubs that served as community centers for German-Jewish immigrants during the first decades of the twentieth century. Many of these clubs were brought together in 1926 under a central office, the German Jewish Center, which served German Jewish immigrants in New York with legal advice, job placement, immigration paperwork, and health care. Many of the leaders of the German Jewish Center later became board members of the American Federation of Jews from Central Europe, which was formally founded in 1939 in New York.

In 1941, the American Federation of Jews from Central Europe was incorporated, and its main focus became immigration. The Federation fought, albeit unsuccessfully, to exempt German-Jewish refugees from enemy alien status, which was assigned to them when the U.S. entered World War II. The Federation also filed affidavits for many Jews fleeing Nazi persecution and proposed opening free ports that would offer temporary protection to Jewish refugees.

The American Federation of Jews from Central Europe took on the concern of restitution and indemnification as early as 1942, raising money to help Jewish survivors of Nazi persecution and lobbying for the passage of restitution laws after the end of the war. To provide fair legal representation for inexperienced claimants, the United Restitution Organization was formed in 1948 with branch in New York City that functioned as part of the American Federation of Jews from Central Europe.

In 1945, the Council of Jews from Germany was founded as an umbrella organization to represent Jewish survivors of Nazi persecution in restitution matters. The Federation was one of the founding member organizations, along with the Association of Jewish Refugees in Great Britain and the Irgun Olej Merkas Europa in Palestine.

Further activities of the Federation included providing cultural support for German Jewish immigrants in the U.S., particularly through cooperation with the Leo Baeck Institute and the Research Foundation for Jewish Immigration.

References

American Federation of Jews from Central Europe. Former Jewish Communal Property in Germany: A Questionnaire Survey Compiled and Analyzed by the American Federation of Jews from Central Europe. New York: American Federation of Jews from Central Europe, 1947.

Teifer, Hermann. “History of the American Federation of Jews from Central Europe.” American Federation of Jews from Central Europe. 50th Anniversary Luncheon. 24 November 1991.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection consists mainly of responses from over 400 communities to a questionnaire survey sent by the American Federation of Jews from Central Europe between 1944 and 1945 to collect information on the communal property owned by Jewish communities in Germany prior to November, 1938. The questionnaires were sent to representatives of thousands of German-Jewish communities, most of whom were themselves émigrés and refugees living in the United States or England. Some 1,050 usable responses were received. Materials related to this survey found in this collection consist of completed questionnaires and correspondence. Also included are oversized charts of the data collected from this survey, such as population, monetary value of communal property, names of local community organizations, and number of Torah scrolls in communities. See Series II for a full list of the names of communities represented in the survey results.

Further materials in the collection include lists of cities, general correspondence, addresses, bylaws, and drafts of restitution laws. Inventories of the collection from 1977 and 2005 are also included, and the former contains a complete list of communities mentioned in the collection.

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Arrangement

The collection is arranged into two series.

Series I contains general papers and reports of the American Federation of Jews from Central Europe. These materials relate either to the 1944-1947 survey as a whole or to the functions of the Federation more generally.

Series II contains the questionnaires and related correspondence from the 1944-1947 survey of Jewish communities arranged alphabetically by community or region.

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Access and Use

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.

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Access Points

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Related Material

The LBI Archives hold collections for several Jewish communities in Germany, some of which contain materials that detail information about those communities similar to the information found in this collection (e.g. communal property, population, residents, addresses, etc.).

A manuscript on the history of the American Federation of Jews from Central Europe written by Hermann Teifer is available at the LBI Archives Manuscript Collection: MS 593

The LBI Archives also holds a microfilm copy of the archives of the American Federation of Jews from Central Europe, including meeting transcripts, correspondence, by-laws, and clippings: DM 223

Yeshiva University Libraries hold a collection of similar materials: American Federation of Jews from Central Europe, Inc. Collection, 1933-1956.

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Digitization Note

This collection was digitized and made available in its entirety.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); American Federation of Jews from Central Europe Collection; AR 4420; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing Information

Duplicates were removed. Materials were rehoused into acid-free archival folders. Oversized materials were separated into larger folders and boxes.

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Container List

 

Series I: General papers and reports, 1942-2005

In English and German.
0.25 linear feet.
Arrangement:

Materials are arranged by document type.

Scope and Content:

This series contains general papers and reports of the American Federation of Jews from Central Europe. Materials that relate to the 1944-1947 survey as a whole include a final report of the findings, lists of reporting congregations, general correspondence, addresses, charts of data collected, and a draft and final report of the findings. Materials related to the functions of the American Federation more generally include bylaws, and drafts of restitution laws. Also included in this series are two inventories for this collection.

BoxFolderTitleDate
1 1 Inventories 1977, 2005
1 2 Lists of reporting congregations, general correspondence, addresses undated, 1944-1945
1 3 Former Jewish Communal Property in Germany : A Questionnaire Survey Compiled and Analyzed by the American Federation of Jews from Central Europe: draft and final report 1947
1 4 General correspondence, by-laws, information bulletins, and circulars 1942-1951
1 5 Drafts of restitution laws 1946
BoxFolderTitleDate
OSL 48 Charts of questionnaire data circa 1947
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Series II: Questionnaires and related correspondence, 1944-1945

In English and German.
0.75 linear feet
Arrangement:

Materials are arranged alphabetically by region or community. Physical arrangement reflects the original order based upon the charts in folder OSL 48. Region and community names have been arranged alphabetically in the container list.

Scope and Content:

This series contains the responses to a questionnaire survey sent by the American Federation of Jews from Central Europe to collect information on the communal property owned by Jewish communities in Germany prior to November 1938. Materials include completed questionnaires and related correspondence.

The names used for the geographical arrangement stem from the names in the oversized charts of the survey data (OSL 48). These regions differ from the geographical boundaries of Germany’s federal states today. The collection inventory contains a list of these regions in the order in which the charts of data are arranged. The items remain physically arranged in this order in the box, while they were placed in alphabetical order in the finding aid for easier discovery.

Over 400 communities from all parts of Germany are represented in the results of the Federation’s survey. The questionnaires from these communities are grouped by region in the container list below. The individual communities named in this collection include, in alphabetical order: Abenheim, Abenheim, Allenstein, Altenberg, Altenmuhr, Altkundenstadt, Alzey, Ansbach, Angermuende, Anhalt, Anklam, Arnstadt, Arnswalde, Aschersleben, Aufsess, Baden-Baden, Baden, Baerwalde, Baisingen, Baldenburg, Bartenstein, Bavaria, Bechhofen, Belgrad, Bergen-Fechenheim, Berlichingen, Berlin, Berlinchen, Berne, Bernstadt, Betsche, Bingen, Birstein, Bischofsburg, Blesen, Bodenheim, Borken, Brake, Brandenburg, Braunsberg, Braunschweig, Breisach, Breitenbach, Bremen, Breslau, Bretten, Bretzenheim, Brieg, Bublitz, Buchau, Bueckeburg, Buetow, Burggreppach, Burgkundstadt, Buttenheim, Cannstadt, Cham, Christburg, Clopenburg, Coburg, Colberg, Colmberg, Constance, Cootbus, Corbach, Cosel, Crailsheim, Creglingen, Cronheim, Crossen, Cuxhaven, Danzig, Delmenhorst, Demmelsdorf, Dessau, Detmold, Deutsch-Krone, Diersburg, Diez, Dolgesheim, Dramburg, Driessen, Duisburg, East Prussia, Eberswalde, Eich, Eichstetten, Eisenach, Elbing, Ellingen, Ellwangen, Ems, Eppelsheim, Erfurt, Erlangen, Ermetzhofen, Ermreuth, Essen, Essenheim, Eydtkuhnen, Festenberg, Feuchtwangen, Flatow, Floersheim, Forst, Frankenberg, Frankenstein, Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt/Oder, Fraustadt, Freiburg, Freienwalde, Freistatt, Freystadt, Friedeberg, Friedland (Maerkisch), Friesenheim, Fritzlar, Fuerstenwalde, Fuerth, Gailingen, Gartz, Gelnhausen, Gera, Gernsbach, Gilgenburg, Glatz, Gleiwitz, Glogau (Silesia), Goerlitz, Goldap, Gollnow, Gotha, Grebenstein, Greifenberg, Greifenhagen, Gross-Krotzenbrg, Gross-Strehlitz, Gross-Wartenberg, Gruenberg, Guben, Gudenberg, Guestrow, Guhren, Gumbinen, Guttentag, Guttstadt, Hachenburg, Hainstadt, Halberstadt, Hamburg, Hammerstein, Hanau, Hanover, Haynau, Heidenheim, Heilsberg, Heppenheim, Herborn, Hesse, Hindenburg, Hirschberg, Hirschhaidt, Hof, Hofgeismar, Hohenstein, Holzappel, Holzminden, Hoof, Idstein, Ilvesheim, Ingolstadt, Insterburg, Jastrow, Jauer, Jena, Jever, Johannisburg, Katscher, Ketsch, Kirchen, Kirn an der Nahe, Kissingen, Kitzingen, Koenigsbach, Koenigsberg, Koenigstein, Koeslin, Koethen, Kreuzburg, Krojanke, Kronbach, Kronstadt, Kuelsheim, Kuestrin, Kulmbach, Labiau, Lahr, Landeck, Landeshut, Landsberg, Langendiebach, Langendorf, Langenselbold, Lauenburg, Laupheim, Leobschuetz, Leutershausen, Lichtenau, Lichtenfels, Liebemuehl, Liebstadt, Liegnitz, Limburg, Lippehne, Loerrach, Loetzen, Loewen, Loewenberg, Luckenwalde, Luebeck, Lueben, Luedenscheid, Luenen, Lyck, Magdeburg, Mannheim, Marienburg, Marienwerder, Mecklenburg, Meerholz, Mehlsack, Meiningen, Menden, Meschede, Meseritz, Militsch, Moenchsroth, Mogendorf, Mohrin, Mohrungen, Mosbach, Muehlhause, Namslau, Nassau/Lahn, Nauen, Neheim, Neidenburg, Neisse, Neubrandenburg, Neumarkt, Neuruppin, Neustadt, Neustettin, Neuwedell, Niederaula, Nieder-Marsberg, Nonnenweier, Nordeck, Nordenburg, Nordenham, Nordhause, Oberaula, Oberglogau, Oels, Ofenhausen, Offenburg, Oldenburg, Oppeln, Ortelsburg, Osterode, Palatinate, Parchim, Pasewalk, Peiskretscham, Pforzheim, Plauen, Polzin, Pomerania, Prenzlau, Preussisch-Friedland, Prostken, Pyritz, Randegg, Rastatt, Rastenburg, Rathenow, Ratibor, Regensburg, Regenswalde, Reichenbach, Rheinbischofsheim, Riesenburg, Rinteln, Roessel, Rosenberg, Rostock, Roth, Rothenburg, Ruegenswalde, Rummelsburg, Saalfeld, Sagan, Salzuflen, Salzwedel, Saxony, Scheinfeld, Schermeisel, Schierstein, Schirwindt, Schivelbein, Schlangen, Schlawe, Schleswig-Holstein, Schlochau, Schloppe, Schmalkalden, Schneidemuehl, Schoenebeck, Schoenlanke, Schwalbach, Schwanfeld, Schwedt, Schweidnitz, Schweinfurt, Schwelm, Schwerin, Schwerte, Schwiebus, Seesen, Selters, Sensburg, Silesia, Sinsheim, Soden, Soest, Soldin, Sorau, Sprottau, Stallupoenen, Stargardt, Stendal, Stettin, Stralsund, Straubing, Strausberg, Strehlen, Sturm, Stuttgart, Sugenheim, Suhl, Sulzbach, Sulzburg, Swabia, Swinemuende, Tapiau, Tempelburg, Thedinghausen, Thuringia, Tiengen, Tilsit, Tirschtiegel, Tost, Trabelsdorf, Trebnitz, Treptow, Treuchtlingen, Treuburg, Tuebingen, Tuertz, Ueckermuende, Uehlfeld, Uffenheim, Unna, Usingen, Varel, Vechta, Vietz, Wachenbuchen, Waldenburg, Wangen, Wanne-Enkel, Wartenburg, Wattenscheid, Wehlau, Weiden, Weinheim, Weissenfels, Werl, Wertheim, Westerburg, Westerstede, Wiesbaden, Wildeshausen, Wilhermsdorf, Windsbach, Windsheim, Winterberg, Wittelshofen, Witten/Ruhr, Woldenberg, Wolfenbuettel, Wollin, Wormditt, Worms, Wriezen, Wuerzburg, Wuerttemberg, Zeckendorf, Zerbst, Zielenzig, Zippnow, Zittau, and Zwickau.

BoxFolderTitleDate
1 23 Anhalt 1944-1945
  

Folder 23 includes materials from Anhalt, Lippe, Mecklenburg, Oldenburg, and Thüringen.

 
1 21 Baden 1944-1945
1 15 Bavaria - correspondence 1944-1945
1 16 Bavaria - questionnaires - Lower Franconia 1944-1945
1 17 Bavaria - questionnaires - Upper and Middle Franconia 1944-1945
1 18 Bavaria - questionnaires - Upper Palatinate, Palatinate, Swabia 1944-1945
1 7 Berlin (Prussia) 1944-1945
  

Folder 7 contains materials from Berlin (Prussia) and Brandenburg (Prussia).

 
1 7 Brandenburg (Prussia) 1944-1945
  

Folder 7 contains materials from Berlin (Prussia) and Brandenburg (Prussia).

 
1 24 Braunschweig 1944-1945
  

Folder 24 includes materials from Braunschweig, Bremen, Hamburg, and Lübeck.

 
1 24 Bremen 1944-1945
  

Folder 24 includes materials from Braunschweig, Bremen, Hamburg, and Lübeck.

 
1 6 East Prussia 1944-1945
1 9 Grenzmark-Posen-West Prussia (Prussia) 1944-1945
1 24 Hamburg 1944-1945
  

Folder 24 includes materials from Braunschweig, Bremen, Hamburg, and Lübeck.

 
1 11 Hanover (Prussia) 1944-1945
1 22 Hesse 1944-1945
1 13 Hesse-Nassau (Prussia) 1944-1945
1 23 Lippe 1944-1945
  

Folder 23 includes materials from Anhalt, Lippe, Mecklenburg, Oldenburg, and Thüringen.

 
1 24 Lübeck 1944-1945
  

Folder 24 includes materials from Braunschweig, Bremen, Hamburg, and Lübeck.

 
1 23 Mecklenburg 1944-1945
  

Folder 23 includes materials from Anhalt, Lippe, Mecklenburg, Oldenburg, and Thüringen.

 
1 23 Oldenburg 1944-1945
  

Folder 23 includes materials from Anhalt, Lippe, Mecklenburg, Oldenburg, and Thüringen.

 
1 8 Pommerania (Prussia) 1944-1945
1 14 Rhine Province (Prussia) 1944-1945
1 19 Saxony 1944-1945
1 10 Saxony (Prussia) 1944-1945
  

Folder 10 includes materials from Saxony (Prussia), Schleswig-Holstein (Prussia), and Silesia (Prussia).

 
1 10 Schleswig-Holstein (Prussia) 1944-1945
  

Folder 10 includes materials from Saxony (Prussia), Schleswig-Holstein (Prussia), and Silesia (Prussia).

 
1 10 Silesia (Prussia) 1944-1945
  

Folder 10 includes materials from Saxony (Prussia), Schleswig-Holstein (Prussia), and Silesia (Prussia).

 
1 23 Thüringen 1944-1945
  

Folder 23 includes materials from Anhalt, Lippe, Mecklenburg, Oldenburg, and Thüringen.

 
1 12 Westphalia (Prussia) 1944-1945
1 20 Württemberg 1944-1945
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