University of Sussex
Boberg, Stefan.pdf (1.08 MB)

People from paper: German Jews through the prism of registration and census taking 1812-1943

Download (1.08 MB)
posted on 2023-06-09, 22:25 authored by Stefan Boberg
This thesis explores how processes of inclusion and exclusion are mediated by devices of oversight. It analyses the role of registration and statistics in the formation of a German state collective from the emancipation of the Prussian Jews to the deportations in the 1940s. The focus of the thesis is on the role of registration and statistics in the identification and localisation of German Jews prior to the deportations in the 1940s. It argues that National Socialists policy regarding concepts of state-membership and the devices of oversight accelerated long-lasting trends in German nation-building. While the fact that the census 1939 inquired Jewish ancestry is a well known fact in historiography its significance for the identification of individual Jews in the context of the Shoah has been disputed. The thesis argues that a population register introduced in 1939 - the People's Card Index (Volkskartei) - was essential in the identification of German Jews. Consulting new sources it shows that the collation of the census data on ancestry with the Volkskartei was ordered in March 1941 to facilitate the identification and localisation of German Jews in the context of the deportations. Unlike previous research on the issue the long-term approach and the unique vantage point reveal that until 1938 the National-Socialist measures in registration and statistics are a continuation of developments initiated in the Weimar Republic. National-Socialists were unprepared for the implementation of nationwide antisemitic measures. The efforts eventually taken evolved from internal power struggles and the desire to accumulate the required data before Germany entered the war.


File Version

  • Published version



Department affiliated with

  • History Theses

Qualification level

  • doctoral

Qualification name

  • phd


  • eng


University of Sussex

Full text available

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Theses)


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager