Eighty years after the events of 1938, how does one grasp the mixture of horror and surprise felt by the victims of the Nazi regime? One significant way is to look at the letters, diaries, and photographs saved by German Jews and their families. Using documents from our archives and those of several partner institutions, the Leo Baeck Institute – New York | Berlin will update this site with personal stories—one for each day in 1938. These materials illustrate the range of reactions and emotions that individuals and families had as they struggled to escape Germany and Austria in order to survive. In addition, significant world events are described alongside the calendar entries to provide a broad context for the individual stories.

More about the 1938Projekt

“Jewish History Matters” podcast (with transcript)
A discussion with Frank Mecklenburg on why 1938 matters today.

Visit the Exhibitions

A selection of the documents to be presented here will be displayed alongside complementary materials in an exhibition in the Katherine and Clifford H. Goldsmith Gallery at the Center for Jewish History in New York from February 27 through the end of December 2018.

Traveling Exhibition in Germany

April 10–26, 2018

May 3, 2018 – June 2, 2018

June 7, 2018 – July 8, 2018
Schloss Salder

September 27 – October 15, 2018
Synagoge Beit Tikwa der Jüdischen Kultusgemeinde

November 20, 2018 – December 7, 2018
Foyer der Universitätsbibliothek Oldenburg


Cooperating Partners and Content Contributors

Firmenhistorisches Archiv Allianz Deutschland AG

The Corporate Archive of Allianz Deutschland AG

Auswärtiges Amt

The Federal Foreign Office is the foreign ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany, a federal agency responsible for both the country's foreign policy and its relationship with the European Union. It is a cabinet-level ministry.

Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend — „Demokratie Leben!“

„Live Democracy!“ is a federal program launched by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. It supports many initiatives, associations and committed citizens who are actively working towards their aim of a diverse, non-violent and democratic society.

Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung

The Federal Agency for Civic Education is a federal public authority providing citizenship education and information on political issues for all people in Germany.

Deutsches Historisches Museum

The German Historical Museum is Germany’s national historical museum. Located in Berlin’s historic district of Mitte, it sees itself as a place of active communication and discussion of history.

Stiftung Erinnerung, Verantwortung, Zukunft

In remembrance of the victims of National Socialist injustice, the Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future works to promote human rights and understanding between peoples. It also upholds its commitment to the survivors. The Foundation is thus an expression of the continuing political and moral responsibility of the state, industry and society for the wrongs committed in the name of National Socialism.

Archiv der sozialen Demokratie der Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung is the party foundation of the German Social-Democratic Party (SPD), which maintains a "Social Democracy Archive".

Further Forward Foundation

The further Forward Foundation is a private foundation in Harvard, Massachusetts.

Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand

The German Resistance Memorial Center is a site of remembrance, political studies, active learning, documentation, and research. An extensive permanent exhibition, a series of temporary special exhibitions, events, and a range of publications document and illustrate resistance to National Socialism.

Institut für die Geschichte der deutschen Juden Hamburg

The Institute for the History of the German Jews (Institut für die Geschichte der deutschen Juden, IGdJ) was established in 1966 as the first research institution dedicated entirely to German-Jewish history. A foundation constituted under civil law, the institute is publicly administered by the City of Hamburg.

Israel Jacobson Netzwerk für jüdische Kultur und Geschichte e.V.

The Israel Jacobson Network for Jewish Culture and History works to preserve and promote authentic sites of Jewish history and culture in the region of Lower Saxony surrounding Braunschweig.

Jüdisches Museum Berlin

Since opening its doors in 2001, the Jewish Museums Berlin has joined the ranks of Europe’s leading museums. Its exhibitions and permanent collection, educational activities, and diverse program of events make the museum a vibrant center of reflection on Jewish history and culture as well as about migration and diversity in Germany.

Jüdisches Museum Wien

The Jewish Museum of the City of Vienna is a place of encounter, confrontation, and understanding, which seeks to raise awareness of Jewish history, religion, and culture.

Metropolitan New York Library Council

Where New York’s libraries and archives come together to learn, share ideas, and collaborate.

Schwarzkopf Stiftung Junges Europa

The non-partisan Schwarzkopf Foundation Young Europe was founded by Pauline Schwarzkopf in 1971 in Hamburg. The foundation´s mission is to empower young people from all backgrounds to be active European citizens who contribute to a pluralistic, democratic society through their engagement and opinions, leading to mutual understanding, solidarity and peaceful collaboration across Europe.

Stiftung Neue Synagoge Berlin - Centrum Judaicum

The New Synagogue Berlin – Centrum Judaicum Foundation was founded in July 1988. Its mission was to “rebuild the New Synagogue in the Oranienburger Straße in Berlin for present and future generations and create a center for preserving and fostering Jewish culture.”

Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main/Digitale Sammlungen Judaica

The University Library Frankfurt am Main owns the largest collection of Hebraica and Judaica in the Federal Republic of Germany and is one of the world's great Judaica library collections. It was founded at the end of the 19th century through generous donations of Frankfurt Jewish philanthropists.

Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland

The Central Council of Jews in Germany is an umbrella organization for 23 regional associations and 105 Jewish Communities with about 100,000 members, and it works to represent their political and social interests. The Council is the discussion partner for the Federal government and the governments of the Bundesländer on all matters that affect Germany's Jewish community.

About the Leo Baeck Institute – New York | Berlin

The Leo Baeck Institute – New York | Berlin (LBI) is devoted to the history of German-speaking Jews. Its 80,000-volume library and extensive archival and art collections represent the most significant repository of primary source material and scholarship on the Jewish communities of Central Europe over the past five centuries.

LBI is committed to preserving this legacy and has digitized over 3.5 million pages of documents from its collections—from rare renaissance books to the personal correspondence of luminaries and ordinary people alike, to community histories and official documents.

LBI also promotes the study and understanding of German-Jewish history through its public programs, exhibitions, and support for research and scholars. LBI is a founding partner of the Center for Jewish History in New York City and maintains an office in Berlin and a branch of its archives at the Jewish Museum Berlin.