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German Jewry: Proclamation of the New Reichsvertretung

(September 1933)

At a time that is as hard and difficult as any in Jewish history, but also significant as few times have been, we have been entrusted with the leadership and representation of the German Jews by a joint decision of the State Association of the Jewish Communities (Landesverbaende), the major Jewish organizations and the large Jewish communities of Germany.

There was no thought of party interests, no separate aims in this decision, but solely and wholly the realization that the lives and future of the German Jews today depend on their unity and cooperation. The first task is to make this unity live. There must be recognition of the vitality and aims of every organization and association, but in all major and decisive tasks there must only be one union, only the totality of the German Jews. Anyone who goes his own way today, who excludes himself today, has committed a wrong against the vital need of the German Jews.

In the new State the position of individual groups has changed, even of those which are far more numerous and stronger than we are. Legislation and economic policy have taken their own authorized road, including [some] and excluding [others]. We must understand this and not deceive ourselves. Only then will we be able to discover every honorable opportunity, and to struggle for every right, for every place, for every opportunity to continue to exist. The German Jews will be able to make their way in the new State as a working community that accepts work and gives work.

There is only one area in which we are permitted to carry out our own ideas, our own aims, but it is a decisive area, that of our Jewish life and Jewish future. This is where the most clearly defined tasks exist.

There are new duties in Jewish education, new areas of Jewish schooling must be created, and existing ones must be nurtured and protected, in order that the rising generation may find spiritual strength, inner resistance, and physical competence. There must be thoughtful selection in order to develop and re-direct our youth towards professions which offer them a place in life and prospects of a future.

All there is now, all that has been begun, all that has been attempted must be joined together here to give aid and support. All that is destructive must be opposed, and all our strength devoted to reconstruction on the religious base of Judaism.

Much of our former economic security has been taken from us German Jews, or at least reduced. Within the area that remains to us the individual must be drawn away from his isolation. Occupational connections and associations, where permissible, can increase existing strength and give support to the weak, can make experience and contacts useful for all. There will be not a few who will be refused a place of work or the exercise of their profession on German soil. We are faced by the fact which can no longer be questioned or opposed, of a clear, historic necessity to give our youth new [living] space. It has become a great task to discover places and open roads, as on the sacred soil of Palestine, for which Providence has decreed a new era, as everywhere where the character, industry and ability of the German Jews can prove themselves, robbing none of their bread, but creating a livelihood for others.

For this and all else we hope for the understanding assistance of the Authorities, and the respect of our gentile fellow citizens, whom we join in love and loyalty to Germany.

We place our faith in the active sense of community and of responsibility of the German Jews, as also in the willingness to sacrifice of our Brothers everywhere.

We will stand united and, in confidence in our God, labor for the honor of the Jewish Name. May the nature of the German Jews arise anew from the tribulations of this time!

Reichsvertretung der deutschen Juden

Leo Baeck

Otto Hirsch – Stuttgart Siegfried Moses – Berlin

Rudolf Callmann – Cologne Jacob Hoffman – Frankfurt

Leopold Landenberger – Nuremberg Franz Meyer – Breslau

Julius L. Seligsohn – Berlin Heinrich Stahl – Berlin




Juedische Rundschau, No. 78, September 29, 1933.

* The reference is to the Reichsvertretung der deutschen Juden (National Representation of German Jews), established in September 1933, which replaced the "old" Reichsvertretung.