German Exile Archive 1933 – 1945 of the German National Library

Logo German Exile Archive 1933 – 1945 of the German National Library

Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933-1945 der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek

Adickesallee 1

60322 Frankfurt am Main

German Exile Archive 1933 – 1945 of the German National Library

The German Exile Archive 1933 -1945 is a special collection of the German National Library.

Until today, a vital factor in the way the collection understands itself has been the fact that its foundation in 1949 was initiated with the cooperation of exiled writers and publishers. The dedicated work of publicist Walter Fabian and writer Jo Mihaly, as well as book gifts from emigrants acted both as motivating and legitimising forces. Walter Fabian, President of the writers association Schutzverband Deutscher Schriftsteller in Switzerland, saw the Emigrants’ Library, as the German Exile Archive was called back then, as an instrument for political education. To his mind, establishing the Archive sent out a “clear signal” to those members of the literary community who faced persecution and expulsion under the Nazis and acted as an encouraging sign for those fighting against right-wing sympathies, which were unfortunately still present in post-War society. Former emigrants also played a considerable role in putting together the collection, and special mention must be given in this respect to Wilhelm Sternfeld in London, Walter A. Berendsohn in Stockholm and Walter Zadek in Israel.

The German Exile Archive, having been established so soon after the War, was one of the first institutions in Germany to look intensively at the subject of exile and emigration from 1933 to 1945. By doing so, it made a valuable contribution to the establishment of exile research.

The German Exile Archive collects and makes accessible exile publications and unpublished works produced by German-speaking emigrants. Personal bequests from German-speaking emigrants, from well-known as well as nowadays forgotten personalities, and archives from exile organisations have all found their way into the collection making it possible to document the subject of exile and emigration in the years 1933 to 1945 in its entire breadth and diversity. The collection’s inventory is concentrated on the areas of journalism, examples of which are the bequests of Margarete Buber-Neumann, Rudolf Olden and Karl Retzlaw, as well as on literary studies, the humanities and the social sciences, which are represented in the estates bequeathed by political scientist Ossip K. Flechtheim, sociologists Joseph and Alice Maier, social and political scientist Sigmund Neumann and economist Fritz Neumark. Special focus is also placed on the many authors' estates, for example, the bequests and partial bequests of Ulrich Becher, Soma Morgenstern, Leo Perutz and Wilhelm Speyer. A particularly abundant source of materials was also provided by the Archive of the German PEN-Club in Exile and the German Academy in Exile.

The collection, which is interdisciplinary in structure, is open for academic research, while the subject matter is conveyed to a wider public in exhibitions, events and publications.

Facts and figures

The collection contains around 18,900 books and brochures as well as 12,000 bound journals (and/or individual issues) covering around 1,200 magazine titles, 290 bequests and partial bequests, around 860 archive collections, a great number of letter bundles, individual letters, manuscripts and 1,770 pamphlets.

Exhibitions (selection)

...mehr vorwärts als rückwärts schauen...” - Das deutschsprachige Exil in Brasilien 1933-1945 (Looking forwards rather than backwards… - German-speaking emigrants in exile in Brazil), until 31st May 2014
„So wurde ihnen die Flucht zur Heimat“. Soma Morgenstern und Joseph Roth. Eine Freundschaft (And Flight Became their Home. Soma Morgenstern and Joseph Roth. A Friendship.), 2012
„Fremd bin ich den Menschen dort“ Ein Blick in die Sammlungen des Deutschen Exilarchivs 1933-1945 und des Deutschen Literaturarchivs Marbach unter der Schirmherrschaft von Herta Müller (I am a Stranger to the People There – A look at the collections of the German Exile Archive 1933-1945 and the German Literature Archive in Marbach under the patronage of Herta Müller), 2012
Rudolf Olden. Journalist gegen Hitler - Anwalt der Republik (Journalist against Hitler – Advocate of the Republic), 2010
Buchgestaltung im Exil 1933 – 1950 (Book Design in Exile 1933-1950), 2003
Leo Perutz 1882 - 1957, 1989
Richard A. Bermann alias Arnold Höllriegel. Österreicher - Demokrat – Weltbürger (Austrian – Democrat – Citizen of the World), 1985
Die jüdische Emigration aus Deutschland 1933 - 1941. Die Geschichte einer Austreibung (Jewish Emigration from Germany 1933-1941. The History of an Expulsion), 1985 

Publications (selection)

Asmus, Sylvia / Eckl, Marlen (Hg.): „… mehr vorwärts als rückwärts schauen …“ : das deutschsprachige Exil in Brasilien 1933 - 1945. Berlin : Hentrich & Hentrich 2013
Sylvia Asmus (Hg.): Heinz Lunzer, Viktoria Lunzer-Talos: „So wurde ihnen die Flucht zur Heimat“. Soma Morgenstern und Joseph Roth. Eine Freundschaft. Bonn: Weidle Verlag 2012 
Bermann, Richard A. / Arnold Höllriegel: Amerika-Bilderbuch. Mit Fotografien von Hans G. Casparius. Hrsg. von Michael Grisko im Auftrag des Deutschen Exilarchivs 1933 - 1945 der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek. Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag 2012
Rudolf Olden : Journalist gegen Hitler - Anwalt der Republik. Eine Ausstellung des Deutschen Exilarchivs 1933 - 1945 der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek. Frankfurt am Main, Berlin: Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, 2010