skip to content

Glossary on Jewish History

Commemoration and remembrance work – several Leipzig associations and foundations are dedicated to commemoration, remembrance and educational work on Jewish history/Jewish life in Leipzig/Saxony:
Ephraim Carlebach Foundation:
Jewish Religious Community Leipzig:

General German Women’s Association (“Allgemeiner Deutscher Frauenverein”, ADF) – was the first German women’s association founded by Louise Otto-Peters and Auguste Schmidt in Leipzig on 18 October 1865. Its central demand was the right of women to equal education as well as equal opportunities in the labour market. “The ADF was one of the largest and most successful self-help organisations of women in Germany, the history of which has only been partially researched. The association, which existed from 1865 to 1933, is considered ‘the heart and in some ways the brain’ of the German women’s movement.”
In 1877, the number of members of the ADF and its branches was already estimated at 12,000 women.;;

Ghettos – in several European countries in the Middle Ages, the authorities ordered separate districts in which the Jewish population had to live separated from the rest of the population. In the course of bourgeois emancipation in the 18th/19th century, these were dissolved. During National Socialism, the Nazis and their allies used the term ghetto to describe residential areas that had been demarcated – and also usually sealed off – in order to separate the Jewish population before deportation.
Today, the term is used colloquially for residential areas in which marginalised population groups live.

Goldschmidt, Henriette, née Benas (1825–1920) – Social worker. She married the teacher and preacher Dr. Abraham Mei(e)r Goldschmid. In 1858, her husband was appointed rabbi of the Jewish religious community in Leipzig. In Leipzig, Henriette Goldschmidt became one of the founders of the bourgeois German women’s movement together with Louise Otto-Peters, Auguste Schmidt and others: in 1865, the Leipzig Women’s Education Association was founded. From 1867 to 1906, she served on the board of the General German Women’s Association which was also founded in 1865. She also founded the kindergarten movement and the first Women’s College in Leipzig in 1911.

Jewish Religious Community Leipzig
On the history of the Leipzig Jewish Religious Community:

Jewish Women’s Federation (Jüdischer Frauenbund, JFB) – was founded in 1904 by Bertha Pappenheim and Sidonie Werner. In 1913, a Leipzig local group of the JFB emerged as an independent association that took on social tasks, coordinated a local umbrella organisation of social women’s work, represented the Jewish women’s associations in the City Federation of Leipzig Women’s Associations and campaigned for the rights of women in the Jewish religious community.
Rapp, Jeanett: From Jewish Woman for Jewish Woman. The social work of the Leipzig local group of the Jewish Women’s Federation and its member organisations until the end of the Weimar Republic. Diss. Berlin 2011. Available online at:
Bertha Pappenheim:
Jüdischer Frauenbund:

Nuremberg Laws – were enacted in September 1935 at the Reich Party Congress of the NSDAP. The “Reich Citizenship Law” distinguished “Aryan citizens” with political rights and “non-Aryans” without political rights. The inhuman “Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour” forbade marriages as well as sexual relations between Jewish and non-Jewish persons. The chauvinist offence of “racial defilement” was newly introduced into the penal code. Racist categories such as “Mischling” (“mixed blood”) of the first or second degree were established.

Quota refugees – Refugees who are admitted in a fixed number (quota) by a state from crisis areas for reasons of international law or humanitarian reasons without having to apply for asylum.
On 9 January 1991, the Conference of Minister Presidents of the reunified Germany decided with regard to Russian Jewish people: “…that ‘Jewish immigrants’ can come to the Federal Republic of Germany without a clear legal basis, the quota refugee law can be applied to them. … The fact of persecution did not have to be proven. Jews from the declining Soviet Union emigrated to Germany, the land of the Holocaust. A … Jewish migration to Germany was given a legal framework after the Shoa.”
Kontingent¬flüchtlinge/ russisch¬sprachige Ein¬wander*innen | Jüdisches Museum Berlin russisch¬sprachige Ein¬wander*innen | Jüdisches Museum Berlin (
Jüdische Kontingentflüchtlinge und Russlanddeutsche | bpb Kontingentflüchtlinge und Russlanddeutsche | bpb

Pogrom –Russian for devastation, destruction. Refers to violent actions, attacks and riots against (ethnic, national, religious, etc.) minorities or political groups.

  • November Pogroms – in the night of 9 to 10 November 1938, pogroms against Jewish people took place all over Germany, targeting synagogues, shops and private homes. The pretext for the events was the assassination of German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by the 17-year-old Herschel Grünspan in the German embassy in Paris on 7 November 1938 after the preceding  Polenaktion. Joseph Goebbels used the incident as an opportunity for a diatribe against the Jewish population. Throughout the German Reich, SA and NSDAP members then organised pogroms against Jewish institutions, abusing and humiliating Jewish people. The fire brigade and police were instructed to protect only neighbouring houses and “Aryan” people. The attacks mark the transition from administrative/legislative methods to open violence against the Jewish population.

In October 1938, the short-term deportation of around 17,000 Jewish people with Polish citizenship was initiated throughout Germany: the so-called “Polenaktion”. The deportations were carried out forcibly and under duress. The Nazi government saw this decree as a threat to its plans to expel foreign Jewish persons from Germany and therefore carried out extensive forced expulsions.

In Leipzig, this affected about 3,000 Jewish citizens who did not have German passports and were thus doubly discriminated against as stateless persons or Polish citizens. By law, they were to be transported to the Polish border in mass transports.

In Leipzig, the Gestapo began rounding up the people in collective camps on the morning of 28 October 1938 and deporting them from the main railway station on special trains. About 1,300 people were still able to find shelter in the Polish consulate.

The contemporary witness Rolf Kralovitz was there at the time as a helper at the Polish Consulate General in Leipzig, as were many other volunteers. Kralovitz reported that those sheltered were accommodated and fed for at least one night. The rooms of the consulate, which was then located in a villa in Leipzig’s music district, were completely overcrowded, as was the additional tent set up in the garden. By the afternoon of the second day at the latest, the tense and nerve-wracking situation was resolved by a speech by the Polish Consul General, in which, according to Rolf Kralovitz, he announced that “the matter was settled”.

As Kralovitz recalls, a man standing next to him then spoke quietly to himself, “No, now it’s just beginning”. Probably by this time the Polish Foreign Ministry had already protested to the German authorities, whereupon the Polenaktion was stopped.
Many of the Leipzig Jews with Polish citizenship who had found protection in the consulate were then able to return to their homes. A memorial plaque at the former Polish Consulate General in Leipzig at Wächterstr. 32 still commemorates this event.

Among those deported during the Germany-wide Polenaktion were members of the family of Herszel Grynszpan/Herschel Grünspan. In response, he shot the German ambassador in Paris a few days after 28 October 1938. This event was misused by the National Socialists for propaganda purposes and was directly connected to the pogrom night of 9/10 November 1938.
Forced deportations to Poland:

Privileges – lat.: privilegium = Exceptional law, privilege.
Privileges are certain (pre-)rights granted to an individual person or group. In relation to Jewish persons, the term refers to the regulation of the legal position of the Jewish population in the Christian environment. Some territorial princes granted the Jewish population lordly protection against encroachment as well as privileges. The privileges could include a right of residence, freedom of trade and/or commerce in the respective territory for a limited period of time. In return, the princes demanded payments in kind, services or money from the Jewish population.

On the legal and social position of the Jewish population in the Middle Ages:

Refugee Children Movement – refers to the accompanied and pre-arranged departure of over 10,000 Jewish children from Nazi Germany (and the countries threatened by Germany) to Great Britain between November 1938 and September 1939. The children were saved from the Holocaust in this way – most of them never saw their parents again and were the only survivors of their families.

Reich Association of Jews in Germany (Reichsvertretung der Juden in Deutschland) – was founded on 17 September 1933 as a reaction to the social and legal exclusion and persecution of the Jewish population by the National Socialists. A large number of Jewish organisations, associations and committees, which had previously existed side by side, united to form a common Jewish interest group, including the Jewish Women’s Association.
In 1939, the Reich Association of Jews in Germany was transformed by the Nazi authorities into a compulsory state administration, which was charged with the partial continuation of the former Jewish welfare work and the organisation of the Jewish school system, and until its gradual dissolution in 1943 only had to carry out the instructions of the Nazi Reich Security Main Office (RSHA). On 16 June 1943, the RSHA ordered the dissolution of all offices and had their directors and leading staff arrested – almost all were deported to Theresienstadt

Women’s College – the private college for women was opened in Leipzig in 1911. Its founder was Henriette Goldschmidt. It was the first academy for classical women’s professions in the German Empire and also gave women and girls the opportunity to acquire an academically sound education. Today, the former college for women is a vocational school centre for social work in Leipzig.