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Jewish "Training" Centers in Germany

Introduction by Peter Landé

· Background
· Database
· Acknowledgements
· Searching the Database

Background

This database includes 1,715 trainees from various Jewish "training" centers in Germany in the 1930's.

After Hitler came to power in 1933, thousands of Jews resident in Germany attempted to obtain visas to any country which would take them.  However, many did not have the family, financial or professional connections to make this possible in the face of immigration restrictions around the world.  This was particularly true of young persons.  German Jewish organizations prepared guides on how and where to obtain visas; but it was evident that many prospective emigrants needed training in agricultural or technical skills in order to qualify.  This, in turn, led to the establishment of "training" centers all over Germany.

Between 1934 and 1938, at least 29 centers were established.  Some were run by Zionist organizations and focused on training persons for agricultural work in Palestine, but others trained people in various skills necessary to emigrate to any country.  The centers had an average capacity of 40-50 young men and women, and trainees remained for anywhere from 3-6 months.  Some even attended more than one camp.

Gestapo records seized by the Russians at the end of World War II, and recently filmed by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum [RG11.001M Reels 1-5], document Gestapo suspicions about the existence of these institutions.  However, after some debate, it was decided to permit the centers to continue to operate since they facilitated the departure of Jews from Germany, a primary Nazi objective.  Each center was required to submit monthly reports listing the trainees and training personnel.  An incomplete collection of these reports for 13 centers is included in the USHMM collection, and I have computerized the roughly 1,800 names, which appear on these lists.

The extent of information given on each individual varies but usually includes at least name, date of birth and nationality.  Many of the persons are listed as "Polish", even though they had long resided in, or even been born in, Germany.  German citizenship was based on the citizenship of a person's father (not place of birth) and naturalization was difficult.  In a few cases their "destination", inside or outside Germany, is given, but in most cases the fate of these persons cannot be established from the lists themselves.  Nevertheless, relatively few of these names appear in the German Government's Gedenkbuch, which would appear to indicate that many, perhaps most, managed to use this training to escape from Germany and, thereby, survive the Holocaust.

Database

This database includes 1,715 trainees from various training centers.

The fields for this database are as follows:

  • List # (See Table Below)
  • Surname
  • Given name
  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth
  • Place of Residence
  • Nationality
  • Destination

The number in the first field of the record indicates the specific center which that person attended, as follows:

1 Gut Winkel, Post Spreehagen
2 Ahrensdorf, Landwerk Ahrensdorf bei Trebbing (See Note A Below)
3 Halbe, Halbe/Mark
4 Havelberg, Havelberg/Mark
5 Polenzwerder, bei Eberswalde
6 Rüdnitz, bei Bernau
7 Gross-Breesen, Kreis Trebnitz, Schlesien
8 Caputh, bei Potsdam
9 Ahlem, Kreis Hannover
10 Geringshof, Kreis Fulda
11 Berlin Hermsdorf, Berlin
12 Dragebruch
13 Berlin Niederschönhauser, Berlin

NOTE A: Revised listings for Ahrensdorf were accumulated in a new research volume published by a German group in 2009.  The old records were deleted from this collection and the new revised records are included in the JewishGen's Holocaust Database with its own collection description at: http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Holocaust/0207_Ahrensdorf_training.html.  Records from the original collection that referenced Ahrensdorf and another center, were retained in this collection.

Acknowledgments

The information contained in this database was indexed from the files of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  Peter Landé, a US Holocaust Memorial Museum volunteer, compiled and proofread the list.

In addition, thanks to JewishGen Inc. for providing the website and database expertise to make this database accessible.  Special thanks to Warren Blatt and Michael Tobias for their continued contributions to Jewish genealogy.  Particular thanks to Nolan Altman, coordinator of Holocaust files.

Nolan Altman
Coordinator - Holocaust Database
January 2002
Revised, December 2009


Searching the Database

This database is searchable via JewishGen's Holocaust Database and the JewishGen Germany Database.


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