Aryanization of Jewish Property
Report of the Public Prosecutor
(February 15, 1939)
Chief Public Prosecutor Dr. Joel
At present: Nuremberg
15 February 1939
Subject: Measures for the Aryanization of Jewish real
estate, with particular cooperation of Notaries Public and the Magistrates
in charge of Land Registry in Nuremberg and Nuremberg-Fuerth.
I had a thorough conference with the Magistrate in
charge of Land Registry at the local court in Fuerth, Herr Amtsgerichtsrat
Leiss today. Herr Amtsgerichtsrat Leiss reported on his experiences
with entries in the land register from the point of view mentioned above
and made the following statement:
After the well known antisemitic demonstrations which
occurred in the Reich on 9 and 10 November 1938, the Land Registry Office
in Fuerth received a telephone call from deputy-Gauleiter Holz. The
call was answered by clerk of justice O'Erterl. The Deputy Gauleiter
requested from the Land Registry an immediate roster of all Jewish landowners
in the district. Later another telephone call came through in which
the person calling introduced himself as Streichers office calling.
The second call requested that when the roster of Jewish landowners
was made out, the mortgages on each piece of real estate should be put
down. Apart from these calls the following people appeared in person
at the Land Registry Office: Sturmbannfuehrer Kern of the town of Fuerth
and later, as a delegate of the party, party-comrade Sandreuther who
is a town councilor of Fuerth. Both renewed the request which had been
made over the telephone. Herr Amtsgerichtsrat Leiss informed the presiding
judge of the local court, Amtsgerictsdirektor Greiner of the requests.
The latter delegated personnel from other sections and the town council
of Fuerth assigned auxiliary clerks for the task. Thereupon the lists
were made out without delay.
To speed up the work the Treasury Department had temporarily
ceded its index-file of Jews to the Land Registry Office.
When the lists were ready, some of them were handed
over to party-comrade Sandreuther personally as delegate of the party,
the rest were collected by a girl secretary of Sandreuther.
On 14 November 1938 Stadtoberamtsmann Kern delivered
to the Land Registry Office the first two deeds on sales resulting from
the Aryanization. In the first of these the town of Fuerth acquired
from the Jewish Congregation all its real estate property (Synagogue,
two cemeteries, administration building, schoolhouse, orphanage and
most probably also the Jewish hospital). The legal assessed value of
this real estate property amounted to over RM 100,000.- . As purchasing
price the amount of RM 100.- was inserted. In the second deed the town
of Fuerth acquired from a private Jewish inhabitant, Salmann, real estate
of a legal assessed value of approximately RM 200,000.-. As purchasing
price RM 160.- was entered. These deeds were formally correct. In spite
of this Amtsgerichtsrat Leiss refused to make the requisite entry in
the land register. He held the opinion that in view of the low purchasing
price, special measures must be taken in the process of Aryanization
and that he must therefore first report the matter to his superior.
Oberamtmann Kern accepted this statement with the reservation that he
would have to inform party-comrade Sandreuther about it. This conversation
took place in the presence of Amtsgerichtsdirektor Greiner between Amtsgerichtsrat
Leiss and Oberamtmann Kern.
On 15 November 1938 town councilor Dr. Zeidler of Fuerth, in his capacity
as representative of the purchasing party, the town of Fuerth, tried
to get Amtsgerichtsrat Leiss to register the transaction. Amtsgerichtsrat
Leiss was at that time on the point of expressing his scruples in a
letter to the presiding judge of the Local Court of Fuerth. He just
was engaged on the report dated 15 November 1938, a copy of which is
enclosed, addressed to the presiding judge at the Local Court of Fuerth.
Following this, Amtsgerichtsrat Leiss had another telephone call from
party-comrade Sandreuther. Sandreuther said that he was not approaching
him as Amtsgerichtsrat (judge of the local court), but as a party-comrade,
and that he had informed the Gauleitung (Regional Board of the Party)
about the matter so that there should be no obstacles put in its way.
Amtsgerichtsrat Leiss again expressed to party-comrade Sandreuther the
scruples he had exposed in his letter of 15 November 1938. Amtsgerichtsrat
Leiss read this report to party-comrade Sandreuther and later transmitted
a copy of his report to be passed on to the Gauleitung.
Amtsgerichtdirektor Greiner, who had heard the conversation between
Amtsgerichtsrat Leiss and Stadtoberamtmann Kern about the question of
the entry, had had an interview with the Landesgerichtpraesident (Presiding
Judge of the Provincial Court) in the meantime. Amtsgerichtsrat Leiss
transmitted the report of 15 November 1938 to Amtsgerichtsdirektor Greiner
went again with this report to see Landgerichtspraesident Hoesch in
Nuremberg. Shortly after Amtsgerichtsdirektor Greiner had left his office,
the mayor and Kreisleiter (party district leader) Jacob of Fuerth and
town councilor party-comrade Sandreuther called there. As the Amtsgerichtsdirektor
was absent, they were received by clerk of justice Doerrer. Oberbuergermeister
Jacob is reported to have said to Justizinspektor Doerrer that the Gauleitung
(Regional Board of the Party) would make Amtsgerichtsrat Leiss hurry
On returning from his interview with Landgerichtspraesident Dr. Hoesch,
Amtsgerichtsrat Leiss declared that the Landgerichtspraesident also
had nothing against the legalization of the deeds. Nevertheless, Amtsgerichtsrat
Leiss thought he should ask for another interview with the Landgerichtspraesident
and shortly afterwards went to Nuremberg for that purpose.
Landgerichtspraesident Dr. Hoesch declared that already two notaries
public had remonstrated with him, since they had scruples about the
legalization of the documents requested by the delegate of the Party.
There could be no doubt, he said, that the agreement had been made under
pressure and that therefore the deeds gave a wrong impression of the
facts. But he had succeeded in removing these scruples in a joint discussion.
In reply to the scruples of Amtsgerichtsrat Leiss Landgerichtspraesident
Hoesch expressed the opinion that the question of free will might perhaps
be doubtful, but that, after all, every action in human life was subject
to some special influence. It was quite clear from this that the Landgerichtspraesident
had no scruples and that he did not wish to get into trouble with the
Gauleitung. Amtsgerichtsrat Leiss finally declared that he would now
start legalizing the deeds, but that he kept to the legal interpretation
laid down in his report of 15 November 1938, and said that he would
issue a report on the legalization with reference to this conference.
Landgerichtspraesident Hoesch, however, gave him to understand that
a written report was neither desirable nor necessary. Landgerichtspraesident
Hoesch fell sick on the morning after the interview with Amtsgerichtsrat
Leiss and did not come back to the office until some days ago. So that
in the days which ensued Amtsgerichtsrat Leisshad only to deal once
in the matter with his deputy in office, Landgerichtsdirektor Greiner.
In the meantime, the Aryanization in Fuerth was handled in the following
way: SA men would pick up Jews, town councilor party-comrade Sandreuther
and [others] would negotiate with them in the town hall, while the notaries
public Keim and Maier were busy in another room of the town hall where
the Jews were soon brought before them. Sales were effected by entering
10% of the legal assessed value as the purchasing price while mortgages
were redeemed and the costs had to be paid by the Jews themselves. Later
they proceeded also to Aryanize mortgages, i.e. the Jews received 10%
of the mortgage value as a compensation for the cession. Subsequent
redin the purchasing prices also occurred. This happened in the case
of purchasing contracts which had been drawn up before 9 November 1938,
but which had not yet been legalized in the LanRegister. Even in deeds
which had already been legally entered in the Land Register such reductions
of purchasing prices occurred.
At a further conference with town councilor Sandreuther and Nagel, the
question was discussed as to what importance it would have for the entry
if the tax fees on the notarys deeds were not paid. Amtsgerichtsrat
Leiss declared that the notary public could, on principle, only submit
the documents to the Land Registry after the tax fees had been paid,
but that this was an affair which did not concern the magistrate in
charge of land registry and which would have to be accounted for by
the notaries public. The two party delegates, however, told Amtsgerichtsrat
Leiss that the notaries public would be given a general suspension of
this regulation by the competent District Finance Officer, as it has
been ascertained, this suspension by the District Finance Officer was
never given. The conference prompted Amtsgerichtsrat Leiss to suggest
a suspension of the court fee regulations according to which no entries
might be made in the land register without pre-payment of the fees.
Landgerichtsdirektor Greiner, the deputy Landesgerichtspraesident, was
asked about this over the telephone by Gaufachgruppnewalter Nagel. Some
time later, Landgerichtsdirektor Greiner called up Amtsgerichtsrat Leiss
on the subject and declared he would have to do the whole thing on his
own responsibility, he, Greiner, would back him in any case.
Another request was made to Amtsgerichtsrat Leiss which intimated that
even the formal pre-requisites for the entry of notes in the land register
no longer existed. Notary Public Dr. Keim pointed out to Amtsgerichtsrat
Leiss that entries would now have to be made in the public land register
also in favor of the future purchaser who was to be appointed by the
Gauleitung, so as to secure his claim to the transfer of the property
On 26 November 1938 Amtgerichtsrat Dr. Greiner declared that not only
the Landgerichtsprident but also Secretary of State Dr. Schlegelberger
in the Reich Ministry of Justice feel no scruples about the desired
registration. In spite of this, Amtsgerichtsrat Leiss still asked for
the report to be submitted as he had referred to it in the files of
the land register. Amtsgerichtsrat Dr. Greiner therefore urged him to
report on these statements he had added to the land register files,
and this he did in his report of 28 November 1938, a copy of which is
enclosed. After these reports Amtsgerichtsrat Leissheard no more of
the matter until 21 December 1938. On 21 December 1938 the following
decree was issued by the Landgerichtspraesident to the Amtgerichtsdirektor
in Fuerth No. 385 E
In reply to the report of 1 December 1938 I beg to inform Amtsgerichtsrat
Leiss as follows:
Directives or instructions concerning the proceeding
of sales of Jewish real estate are not to be expected at present.
The magistrate in charge of the land register will
order the legalization of the deeds or will refuse it.
Such remarks in the files of the land register as
for legal judgment see enclosed copies of the reports of 15 and 21 November
1938 and for legal judgment see statement in land register files Fuerth
no. 2200/226 are inadmissible and will be removed from the files together
with the reports. The reports of 15 and 21 November 1938 concern internal
office matters of the judicial administration and will therefore be
filed with the records on internal office affairs collective files.
The registrations requested were entered until Saturday,
3 December 1938 when the matter was settled by law through the ordinance
on the utilization of Jewish property of 3 December 1938
Source: "Office of Chief of Counsel for War Crimes
NG 616 quoted in: J. Mendelsohn, The Holocaust", Vol. 1,
New-York & London, 1982 pp. 166-170.
Vashem - Eclipse of Humanity