Newly found Nazi documents shed light on levies against Jews

Many Jews were dispossessed during the Nazi era. Now "probably unique" files have been handed over in Stuttgart.

Nazi Swastika (photo credit: REUTERS)
Nazi Swastika
(photo credit: REUTERS)

During the dictatorship of the Nazi regime, around 3,000 Jews had to hand over jewels, jewelry and precious metals, Silverware, jewelry, watches to cuff links or shirt buttons at the Städtische Pfandleihanstalt (Municipal Pawnshop) in Stuttgart.

These findings come from files that the Städtische Pfandleihe, as the successor institution, has now handed over to the Wirtschaftsarchiv Baden-Württemberg.

The documents contain detailed records of how the handing in of valuables was implemented in Stuttgart. According to information provided by the Stuttgarter Zeitung, around 3,000 procedures concerning expropriations have been documented. These include chronological lists of names, a list of objects, valuations and receipts.

Also included are documents on the realization of the objects as well as files on the many compensations of former owners and their descendants.

The complete documents are "probably unique," said the director of the Wirtschaftsarchiv, Britta Leise. "Such documents are usually not complete.“

A Nazi armband with a swastika displayed in the Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, Germany (credit: Wikimedia Commons)A Nazi armband with a swastika displayed in the Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, Germany (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

"The Jewish fellow citizens were also deprived of part of their family history with the silver. And of course, when it came to seven-branched candelabras [menorahs], for example, also a part of their religious identity," she added.

The Municipal Pawnshop had also not initially realized how extensive the documents were. "We were aware that we had a historical file on this," said managing director Jürgen Barth.

"However, a closer look showed that it is even a comprehensive and complete documentation of the events at that time."

However, the files have not yet been scientifically analyzed. Time will tell what secrets they could reveal.