Grüber office

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Memorial plaque in Hortensienstrasse 18, Berlin-Lichterfelde

The Grüber office was an organization of the Confessing Church founded in September 1938 by the Berlin pastor and later provost Heinrich Grüber . The organization provided help to enable evangelical Christians who were primarily racially persecuted to emigrate from National Socialist Germany.

In the state recognition as an organization to promote the emigration of Germans persecuted as Jews, the office appears under the name " Aid for Non-Aryan Christians" .


Memorial plaque on the house at Oranienburger Strasse 20, in Berlin-Mitte

The office, initially in the Kaulsdorf rectory, later in Oranienburger Strasse in Berlin-Mitte and finally in the An der Stechbahn building from 1939 onwards , organized the emigration of more than a thousand converted Jews, particularly those who were close to the Protestant Church, under the direction of Grüber .

Thanks to his Dutch mother and a study visit to Utrecht, Grüber had a good knowledge of the Dutch language and had therefore taken over pastoral care for the Dutch in Berlin in 1936. This resulted in contacts in the Netherlands, which he used to find work opportunities abroad for Jews who were forced to leave the country. For those who were too old or too poor to leave the country, Grüber took care of the welfare and pastoral care department of the office.

For the purpose of “promoting the emigration of Jews”, the National Socialist Reich Central Office for Jewish Emigration issued Grüber a letter of recommendation. Grüber's trips to the Netherlands, Switzerland and England were approved until the war began.

Sometimes up to 35 people worked in the Grüber office. Pastor Werner Sylten was the head of the pastoral department . Branch offices (so-called trust offices ) were set up in 20 different cities of the German Reich. The Grüber office was supported by numerous theologians from the various regional churches, including the Bavarian regional bishop Hans Meiser . In a letter from the church chancellery in Berlin in 1939, however, it was emphasized that the aid agency was not an official church institution and that financial support from official funds was out of the question. The theologian Hermann Maas headed the Heidelberg office ; August Wiegand in Schwerin was the shop steward in Mecklenburg . Johannes Zwanzger was a shop steward in Munich . Katharina Staritz headed the office in Breslau. The Catholic counterpart to the Grüber office was headed by Gertrud Luckner on behalf of Caritas .

The "office" was tolerated by the Gestapo , but then closed in December 1940. Grüber and his employees were arrested and taken to concentration camps. The reasons for the so-called protective custody imposed by the Gestapo are not exactly known. Adolf Eichmann testified in 1960 that he had issued a “political warning” at least twice because clergymen were not allowed to stand up for Jews. Dieter Winkler suspects a connection with a protest letter from Grübers to the highest functionaries, in which he campaigned for Jews who had been deported to the French Gurs camp as part of the so-called Wagner-Bürckel campaign .

After 1945

After 1945, Grüber reopened his office, now to help the survivors of the Shoah , the returning deportees , those in hiding who had returned to the public and the ex-discriminated people who had been freed. Initially, the office was located in the Bethanien Deaconess Hospital in Berlin-Kreuzberg . In 1949, Grüber's office, which was now officially called the Evangelical Aid Office for People Who Had Been Racially Persecuted , found suitable rooms at Waltraudstrasse 4a in Zehlendorf , West Berlin . The Evangelical Aid Agency continues as a foundation to this day and works for the group of people formerly directly affected by Nazi persecution, their descendants or relatives, regardless of where they currently live. Today it is located at Teltower Damm 124 in Berlin-Zehlendorf.


  • Hartmut Ludwig: On the history of the "Pfarrer Grüber office". In: Günter Wirth (ed.): Contributions to Berlin church history. Union, Berlin 1987, pp. 305-326.
  • Dieter Winkler: Heinrich Grüber - Protesting Christian. Berlin 1993, ISBN 3-89468-088-1 .
  • Maria von der Heydt: Possibilities and Limits of the Emigration of "Jewish Mixed Breeds" 1938–1941. In: Beate Meyer, Francis R. Nicosia , Susanne Heim (eds.): "Whoever stays, sacrifices his years, maybe his life" - German Jews 1938–1941 . Wallstein, Göttingen 2010, pp. 77-95.
  • Jochen-Christoph Kaiser: Protestantism, Diakonie and the “Jewish question” 1933–1941. In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte , 37, 1989, issue 4, pp. 673–714 ( , PDF).
  • Hartmut Ludwig: At the side of the disenfranchised and weak. On the history of the “Büro Pfarrer Grüber” (1938–1940) and the Ev. Relief agency for those formerly persecuted after 1945 , ed. v. the Ev. Relief agency for former racially persecuted people, Berlin 2009.
  • Published by the Protestant Aid Office for People Who Had Been Racially Persecuted: An der Stechbahn. Experiences and reports from the Grüber office during the years of persecution . Berlin: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1951. (54 pages)

Web links

Commons : Büro Grüber  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. The date of foundation is disputed; According to Kaiser , the Grüber office did not begin its work until after the Reichskristallnacht - s. Jochen-Christoph Kaiser: Protestantism, Diakonie and the “Jewish question” 1933–1941. In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte , 37, 1989, no. 4, p. 703.
  2. Cf. certificate from the Reich Office for Emigration (December 29, 1938), printed in: Peter Mehnert (Ed.): Heinrich Grüber. His service to people (Hellersdorf district chronicle). Evangelical Aid Agency for Former Racially Persecuted People and the Hellersdorf District Office, Berlin 1988, p. 11.
  3. Successful aid according to Kaiser 1700 to 2000 - s. Jochen-Christoph Kaiser: Protestantism, Diakonie and the “Jewish question” 1933–1941. In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte , 37, 1989, no. 4, p. 710.
  4. Dieter Winkler: Heinrich Grüber - Protesting Christ. Berlin 1993, p. 115 (the December 1938 date mentioned there is inconsistent).
  5. The persecution and murder of European Jews by National Socialist Germany 1933–1945 . Volume 2: German Reich 1938 - August 1939. Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-486-58523-0 , p. 50 and document 267 on p. 722.
  6. Gerlind Schwöbel: But I trust. Katharina Staritz - a theologian in the resistance . Evangelical Regional Association, Frankfurt am Main 1990, DNB  930917480 .
  7. ^ Adolf Eichmann: The Eichmann protocol: tape recordings of the Israeli interrogations . Berlin 1982, ISBN 3-88680-036-9 , p. 98.
  8. Dieter Winkler: Heinrich Grüber ..., p. 130.
  9. Michael Kreutzer, Joachim-Dieter Schwäbl, Walter Sylten: Warning and obligation. In: Walter Sylten, Joachim-Dieter Schwäbl, Michael Kreutzer: ›Pastor Grüber's Office‹ Evangelical aid center for those who were previously racially persecuted. History and work today. Evangelical Aid Center for People Who Had Been Persecuted, Berlin 1988, pp. 24–29, here p. 26.