Reichsvertretung der Juden in Deutschland

The Reichsvertretung der Deutschen Juden / Reich Representation of German Jews was founded on 17 September 1933 – a few months after the National Socialists came to power in January 1933

Kitchener camp Reichsvertretung 17th March 1939, letter heading
Kitchener camp Reichsvertretung 17th March 1939, letter heading

It was formed to create an organisation that could represent Jewish religious and political matters to the government in the face of increasing anti-Jewish legislation and behaviours

As can be seen in the letterhead above, their offices were in Berlin-Charlottenburg. From here, the group helped Jews with whatever legal redress was still available to them, as well as carrying out extensive actions to organise and fund training and emigration. As well as these activities, the organisation also helped people with disabilities, orphans, and the elderly – often at the level of providing food and clothing for the destitute in what was by now an extremely harsh climate

The organization had to be renamed in 1935, as Reichsvertretung der Juden in Deutschland / Reich Representation of the Jews in Germany; and after November 1938 it was effectively dissolved and renamed – as well as reformed – as the Reichsverband der Juden in Deutschland / Reich Association of Jews in Germany. There were several further changes to the name and functioning of this group, but these are the three forms that descendants in this context are most likely to find on their paperwork

The main change after this was that the legal status of the organisation changed: the Reichsvereinigung, as it was now known, was to include all Jewish subjects of the Reich as defined by the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 – and not as defined by their religion. From this point onwards, their purpose was limited to coordinating the emigration of Jews, organizing vocational education (the only kind still allowed to Jews), and welfare distribution

See also Leo Baeck