Siddur with Nazi Stamp, 1937
This is the first page of a siddur (prayer book) printed in Germany in 1937. The Hebrew text explains that the siddur contains prayers for all days of the year as well as the Torah readings. On this page there is a Nazi stamp that reads:
“Reich Institute for the History of the New Germany.”
This siddur was printed two years after the Nuremberg Laws and one year before Kristallnacht. The fact that a siddur like this was printed in Germany during these years shows that despite the difficulties, Jewish life was still continuing.
The Nazi stamp, clearly visible towards the bottom of the page, shows that at some point this siddur was confiscated by the Institute for History of the New Germany, which established a special research department to study the “Jewish Question.” In addition, Hitler also intended to create a museum by which to remember the Jewish people. This would be opened after the war to allow people to learn about the “extinct” Jewish People. This siddur might have been intended for this museum.
This siddur was found by chance in the National Library of Israel’s prayer room, buried inside a container of siddurim that are used in daily prayer services.
Hitler’s proposed “Museum of an Extinct Race”, Scrapbookpages Blog
This resource could be used by History teachers as an example of Jewish life in German during the Nazi regime.
A history teacher could use this resource to discuss the Nazi plan for the Jewish people and how they planned to build a museum to commemorate the Jewish People after they had exterminated it.
Jewish Studies teachers could show this siddur, together with other interesting siddurim from the National Library and from other sources, when teaching about prayer and prayer books.
What is this book?
Look at the stamp towards the bottom of the page.
What is the name of the organisation that stamped this book?
Reading Between the Lines
This siddur was printed in 1937.
What was the situation of the Jews in Germany at that time?
Why do you think that German Jews still printed siddurim in 1937?
What could it tell you about the way they viewed their future?
The stamp on the book shows that is was collected by a Nazi organisation.
Why do you think the Nazis stamped this book?
Why would they want to keep this book rather than destroying it?
Would you feel comfortable using this siddur in a prayer service?
Does your family have a siddur or another with an interesting story?
Have you read about an interesting siddur or seen one in an exhibition?
Write about the siddur and include photographs if possible.
Send us your stories at firstname.lastname@example.org
Create a slideshow of all the world events that this siddur may have seen in its lifetime.