Kitchener forms

When people were trying to leave Germany, Austria, the Sudetenland, Poland, Italy, and so on – the various countries of origin from which our families arrived at Kitchener camp – they had to fill out countless pieces of paperwork.

When everything was in order, they still needed to obtain permission to leave from the national authorities, and to show that they had permission to enter Britain.

They had to certify that they had paid all their taxes (steuerliche Unbedenklichkeitsbescheinigung), that they didn’t owe any money, and that they were only taking certain types of goods out of the country, up to a specific allowance.

They also had to present a certificate of good conduct (Führungszeugnis).

They had to undergo health checks, have a passport issued, and evidence that they would be able to emigrate onwards within 9 – 12 months.

I recently found another form the men had to fill in, which is reproduced below (the original can be viewed at the Wiener Library)


Instructions ‘R’, Paragraph 14

Serial No.

Date of issue

Refugee to be admitted to the United Kingdom to proceed to Richborough Refugee Camp and to remain there until emigrated.

Maintenance and emigration guaranteed by the British Council for German Jewry

………………………….

Full name …………………………………………………………………………………….

Date of Birth……………………………Place of Birth……………………………..

Nationality………………………………Passport no. ………………………………

Address abroad ……………………………………………………………………………

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Occupation abroad ……………………………………………………………………….

 

Signed on behalf of the

Reichsvertretung  Der Juden in

Deutschland (or Israelitische Kultusgemeinde), who certify

that applicant is physically fit for admission to the Camp.


In the meantime, the extraordinary undertakings of the aid organisations continued night and day, as they tried desperately to keep Jews alive while living under conditions of extreme privation in many cases.

The aid organisations funded and organised getting men out of the concentration camps and prisons, they assisted them in obtaining visas and other travel documents, and provided travel costs for individuals and groups. At the same time they were providing soup kitchens, and advice offices, as well as funding the training places that were seen as a way out for younger men and women and for girls and boys.

What is very noticeable in the archives is the ongoing effort to raise funds, which was being done day in, day out – year in, year out…

A letter such as the one extracted below is typical, and only one of hundreds like it.


Letter

January 3rd, 1939

Dear Sir Osmond

A meeting of the Officers of the Council for German Jewry this afternoon considered the enclosed statement which has been received from the Reichsvertretung regarding its work during the first expenditure of, approximately, 8 million marks.

We understand from Dr Hirsch that, in view of the present situation in Germany, it will not be possible to mobilise any funds in that Country before the 15th February, so that a sum of 4 millionMarks will be required up to this date.

We understand that the position after the 15th February will be as follows:

The Reichsvertretung will collect from the Jews in Germany various amounts viz:

  1. In connection with the 20% Property Tax which has been levied by the German Government, 1% will be added and will be placed at the disposal of the Reichsvertretung for Jewish requirements.
  2. A 33 1/2% Income Tax will be demanded from those Jews who do not pay Property Tax. This applies mainly to Jewish Physicians, Legal Advisers, Employees of Jewish Organisations and, to a certain extent, to those receiving pensions.
  3. A Jewish Flight Tax, the amount of which is not yet fixed, will be demanded from the Jews emigrating from Germany.
  4. The funds owned by the various Committees, Unions, Institutions and Foundations will be mobilised for Jewish work.

Provided such raising of funds will be allowed by the German Government authorities, the Reichsvertretung estimates that such a collection in Germany, which will probably be the last one, will amount to about 25 – 30 million Marks.

It is the intention of the Reichsvertretung to use this collection to cover the requirements of the Reichsvertretung in Germany during the remainder of 1939 …

The suggestion of the Officers was that the sum of £100,000 should be divided between the ICS, the American Joint Distribution Committee and the British Section of the Council for German Jewry, and I am writing to you tonight so that you may have the opportunity of considering the matter and seeing whether you can announce to the meeting of the Executive on Thursday afternoon that the ICA will be able to bear its share …

Yours sincerely

Joint Secretary

 

Source: The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust, General correspondence between the Reichsvertretung and the Council for German Jewry, Collection ref. 606/6