Day 7: Landesarchiv-Berlin

Day 7: Landesarchiv-Berlin

I arrived about noon at the Landesarchiv-Berlin in the north of the city, which I thought would give me ample time to search their records. It turns out that I should have been there before 11, which is their cutoff time for ordering records for same-day access. The good news is that they do have the files related to the Database of Jewish Businesses of Berlin.

A young women named Carmen was super friendly and helpful, and was able to locate the record numbers for the two Ringel businesses. She helped me to fill out a record request to access the files, which will be ready for me to view when I come back tomorrow.

The archive has several other collections that are relevant to our case. The first are files related to restitution cases for dispossessed Berliners. She quickly located the database record for Elly Ringel geb. Wohlgemuth, but there was a surprise. The case relates to the estate of Betty Wohlgemuth and has nothing to do with the Ringel businesses. Carmen didn’t know why Elly did not file an action related to the businesses, but she speculated that companies like Hermann’s may not have had a lot of hard assets. It is harder to put a value on customer relationships and business reputation. There is another avenue for inquiry on this. I know the name and address for Elly’s lawyer who handled the case in Munich, but I did not bring this with me. I can follow up with that firm after I am back home.

The other collection of interest at the Landesarchiv is its main reason for being. It holds all vital records of sufficient age for residents of Berlin. Birth records less than 110 years old, and marriage and death records less than 70 and 30 years old, respectively, are held in the local registry offices where they were originally filed and are not available to the general public for privacy reasons. 

I already have a number of our relevant records, but there are others such as Schija Ringel’s marriage and death certicate, plus anything on Hermann’s two siblings and their children, that are not in my collection. To locate these records, one still has to know the date of the event and the registry office location (based on the person’s residential address). Some of this information may not be readily available to me before I return to the archive-tomorrow, but I have hopes to at least find the death record for Schija Ringel, which might then lead to his burial location.

That’s it for today. Crossing my fingers for a treasure trove of new information tomorrow.