Jewish Life Worlds in the Hamburg Area, Migration History, National Socialism and the Shoah in Terms of History and Impact

Kurt Fritz Rosenberg, born on 12 March 1900, was a “writing man”: Even as a student at school and university, he noted down thoughts, observations, and experiences in diaries, filling volume after volume with his neat handwriting. He retained this habit later as a lawyer and family man. Pasted newspaper articles, stamps, or other items evidence and illustrate what he wrote, as did photos taken by his wife Margarethe (Gretel).

The edited diaries (1933–1937) of Kurt Rosenberg therefore give a vivid impression of how he, his family, friends, acquaintances, and professional colleagues perceived the first four years after the Nazi assumption of power. Rosenberg collected news about the persecution of Jews in other cities and recorded his own bitter experiences in Hamburg. He described his small and great escapes into the world of art, to the people he loved, or his travels at home and abroad. Kurt Fritz Rosenberg presents his view of the political and social upheavals not in retrospect, not arranged according to the important and the unimportant, and not knowing the outcome of the persecution of the Jews, but as a person who was affected and targeted and as an observer at the same time.

For four years, he entertained the idea of emigrating from Germany. He doubted, weighed, hesitated, and in 1937 explored career prospects in the USA, not exactly encouraging as they were. When he decided to leave, he stopped writing diaries and did not resume doing so for the rest of his life. In September 1938, he fled via Switzerland. His wife Gretel joined him in Le Havre with their daughters Thekla and Gabriele. They laboriously built a new life for themselves in the USA.

Kurt F. Rosenberg, “Einer der nicht mehr dazugehört”: Tagebücher 1933–1937 (Kurt Fritz Rosenberg, “One Who no Longer Belongs”: Diaries 1933–1937), edited by Beate Meyer and Björn Siegel in cooperation with the Leo Baeck Institute, New York (Hamburger Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Juden 41), Göttingen 2012 (print edition or as open access publication). Special thanks are due to Rosenberg’s daughters Thekla and Gabriele for their support.

Dr. Björn Siegel
Phone: +49 (0)40 42838-2985
E-mail: bjoern.siegel[at]

Dr. Beate Meyer
E-mail: beate_meyer[at]

#KurtRosenberg #Diaries #BiographicalResearch #NationalSocialism #JewishHistory #MigrationHistory