You are on page 1of 30

The "Ausldnderfrage " at Institutions ofHigher

A Controversy Over Russian-Jewish Students in
Imperial Germany


Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

From the very beginning of the modern era, Polish and Russian Jews had come to
study at German institutions of higher learning.* In fact, the first Jews to
matriculate at a German university were two students from Poland admitted by
the university of Frankfurt an der Oder in 1678. After the rise of the Haskalah
(Jewish Enlightenment) in the late eighteenth century, study in Germany
became more common. The journey of Salomon Maimon from the "backward"
shtetl to the "enlightened" German milieu was prototypical. Still, as late as the
summer semester of 1888 fewer than sixty Russian Jews matriculated at
universities in Germany.1
Their numbers began to mount dramatically after the imposition of antisemitic
quotas in Tsarist Russia. As of July 1887, a numerus clausus limited Jews to 10% of
student bodies at universities in the Pale of Settlement, 5% outside the Pale, and
3% in St. Petersburg. In the early twentieth century, Nicholas II interpreted the
quota to apply to each faculty, rather than to institutions as a whole, and since
Jews concentrated in only a few faculties, such as medicine and philosophy, their
chances of gaining admission into Russian universities further diminished.
Barred from access to higher education at home, a growing number of Jewish
secondary school graduates was forced to go abroad in search of educational
*I am indebted to the Leo Baeck Institute, the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, and the
German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for funding my research trips to archives in the
German Democratic Republic, the German Federal Republic, and Israel.
'On the presence of Eastern Jews at German universities prior to 1848, see Monika Richarz, Der
Eintritt derjuden in die akademischen Berufe. Jiidische Studenten und Akademiker in Deutschland 1678-1848,
Tubingen 1974, (Schriftenreihe wissenschaftlicher Abhandlungen des Leo Baeck Instituts 28),
especially pp. 30, 33, 80. For a classic portrait of the journey from East to West, see Salomon Maimons
Lebensgeschichte, Munich 1911. According to statistics compiled by the Prussian government, 38
Russian Jews enrolled in Prussian universities and 19 in other German universities during the
summer of 1888. See data in Deutsches Zentralarchiv, Merseburg (DZAM), Ministerium des
geistlichen Unterrichts und der Medicinal-Angelegenheiten, Rep. 76 V a, Sekt. 1, Nr. 28. Der
Andrang russischer Staatsangehoriger judischen Bekenntnisses zum Universitdtsstudium in Preussen und zum
drztlichen Stande i8go-ign, p p . 1-16.
O n the Russian numerus clausus, see Simon D u b n o w , The History of the Jews in Poland and Russia, I I ,
Philadelphia 1919, pp. 28ffand 158ff. and Salo W. Baron, The Russian Jews Under Tsars and Soviets,
New York 1976, Revised Edition, pp. 48, 53, and 359, note 11.
The pool ofJewish students in Russia who were prepared for work at university level expanded

188 Jack Wertheimer
Initially, universities in Switzerland proved most attractive since they
admitted women and provided radical students with a relatively high degree of
political freedom. According to a rough study conducted in 1902, from 850 to
1,270 Russian Jews studied in Switzerland, 655 in Germany, 280-370 in France,
and 110 in Austria. 3 But in the decade before the First World War, nearly as
many Russian Jews studied in Germany as in Switzerland. Some were attracted
to German universities by the reputations of famous professors: Boris Pasternak,
for example, went to Marburg to study with Hermann Cohen. Others chose
Germany for its international renown as the home ofKultur and Wissenschqft. The
overwhelming majority, however, admitted candidly that they came because

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

Russian quotas had forced them to study abroad, and German admissions
policies were sufficiently lenient to provide them with educational opportunities.4

dramatically as Jews flocked in ever greater numbers to secondary schools. At Gymnasia, for example,
Jewish enrolments had increased ten-fold between 1865 and 1884 (from 990 to 8984). Several
thousand additional students attended Pro-Gymnasia and Realschulen, while still others studied with
private tutors. By 1911, over 50,000 Jewish children attended formal secondary schools in Tsarist
Russia. They constituted a large population of potential applicants to Russian schools of higher
learning. See 'Enlightenment', in Evreiskaia Entsiklopediia, vol. 13, pp. 48-58. (Dr. Michael
Stanislawski of Columbia University drew my attention to this material and generously took the time
to translate relevant passages of the Russian text.)
On the attractions of study in Switzerland, see Shmarya Levin, Youth in Revolt, New York 1930, p.
279. The estimates of enrolments refer only to universities, not technical schools; see Die Welt, 8th
December 1905, pp. 9-10.
According to the German Consul in Zurich, 1920 Russians (mainly Jews) studied at Swiss
institutions of higher learning in 1906; of these 1,195 were women. Female students constituted a far
smaller percentage of Russian Jews studying in the Reich because German universities admitted
women only gradually during the early twentieth century, and then with many restrictions. Foreign
women faced even stiffer requirements and often needed permission from government officials to
enrol at German institutions of higher learning (out of nearly 2,000 foreign Jews studying in Prussia
in 1911/1912, only 77 were women). This essay will not examine the special problems faced by
women from Russia who sought an education in Germany. On this theme, see DZAM, Rep. 76 Va,
Sekt. 1, Tit. VIII, Nr. 3711, Die Immatrikulation von Frauen aus Russlandan den hiesigen Universitdten. The
Prussian statistics are in Zeitschriftfur Demography undStatistik derjuden (Z./.D.S.), XI, p. 83; for the
consul's report see Generallandesarchiv (GLA) Karlsruhe, Abt. 235, Ministerium des Kultus und
Unterrichts, Nr. 7305, Die Zulassung von Ausldndern zum Studium an den Badischen Hochschulen, letter
dated 1st March 1907.
Boris Pasternak, Safe Conduct, New York 1958, pp. 70ff. In 1902 Berthold Feiwel conducted a survey
of Russian-Jewish students that elicited reponses on motives for studying abroad; the respondents
indicated that quotas in Tsarist Russia forced them to go abroad. See 'Enquete unter den
westeuropaischen jiidischen Studierenden', in Alfred Nossig (ed.), Judische Statistik, Berlin 1903,
p. 204.
In his memoirs, Shmarya Levin described the changed circumstances of Russian Jews arriving in
"There used to be Russian-Jewish students in Berlin even before our time; but they had been few in
number, and they had belonged to a special class. None of them had passed through a high school.
The University of Berlin, like most of the German universities . . . made no demands on the
foreigner-no examinations, and no previous certificates of any kind. These conditions had been
freely taken advantage of by former Yeshiva students, who were caught up in the passion for
education, and who had no hopes of ever getting into a high school, or of picking up equivalent
credits. They obtained immediate and easy entrance into the University of Berlin. Some of them,
the most gifted, went far, and achieved great reputations in the scientific world, particularly in
mathematics and medicine. But most of them remained 'perpetual students.' Some of these typical
Russian-Jewish students I still found in Berlin. After 1887 the picture changes. The University of
Berlin is flooded with Jewish students who had gone through high school and had been stopped at
Russian-Jewish Students in Germany 189
The growing influx of Russian-Jewish students sparked a controversy in
German academic, parliamentary, and government circles known euphemisti-
cally as the "problem of foreigners (Ausldnderfrage) at institutions of higher
learning". The terms "foreigners" and "Russians" were used interchangeably
during debates and served as convenient code-words for Russian Jews who
constituted over eighty per cent of Russians and a substantial portion of all
foreigners studying in Germany. 5 As the controversy intensified during the
decade before the outbreak of the First World War, Russian-Jewish students
became the victims of antisemitic agitation and discriminatory admissions
policies. Their mistreatment during the Ausldnderfrage controversy, forms an as

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

yet unstudied chapter in the history of German antisemitism, a chapter which
also has broader implications for the study of the "Jewish Question" in the
Second Reich.

The arrival of Russian-Jewish students coincided with a period of massive

expansion at German institutions of higher learning. Several new universities and
technical schools (Hochschulen) opened during the Imperial era. Governments
expended vastly increased sums to fund higher learning. And schools relaxed
admissions policies in order to accommodate demands by previously excluded or
restricted students, thereby increasing opportunities for children of the middle
class, graduates of Real- and Ober-Realschulen, women, and foreigners. Between
1870 and 1914, enrolments at both universities and technical schools quadrupled,
growing from 14,000 to 61,000 students. 6
Pespite the dramatic increase in students thronging the universities,
Russian-Jewish students formed a noticeable contingent. For one thing, the
number of those emigres rose at an extraordinarily rapid pace: they multiplied
ten-fold during the late nineties and then quadrupled further during the decade
before the First World War. By 1912/1913 over 2,500 Russian Jews were studying
at/German universities and technical schools.7
The emigre students were rendered more conspicuous than these figures would
suggest by their uneven geographic distribution. Like their German
co-religionists, Russian Jews tended to concentrate at a few universities located
near sizable Jewish communities. But whereas German-Jewish students
eventually scattered to universities throughout the country, Russian Jews
continued to study in large cities located in the eastern parts of Germany. In 1877

the threshold of the Russian universities by the new decrees. These decrees sent them abroad in
hordes, to Switzerland, and France and Germany, but chiefly the last." (Youth in Revolt, pp.
In the Winter semester, 1913/1914 approximately 5,000 foreigners enrolled at German universities;
2,259 were Russians. (K. C. Blatter, 1st April 1914, pp. 166-167.) See Appendix, Table II for the
percentages of Russians at institutions of higher learning who were Jewish.
On this expansion, see Charles E. McClelland, State, Society and University in Germany, ijoo-igi4,
Cambridge 1980, Part IV.
See Appendix, Tables I and II for statistical data on the increase of Russian-Jewish students.
190 Jack Wertheimer
for example, two-thirds of Russian Jews at German universities studied in Berlin,
Konigsberg, and Leipzig. While a more widespread distribution occurred in
subsequent decades due to more restrictive admissions policies, as late as
1912/1913 seventy-six per cent of Russian Jews at German universities studied in
Berlin, Breslau, Konigsberg, Leipzig, and Munich. Presumably, the prestigious
universities in Heidelberg, Tubingen, Gottingen, and Erlangen were too distant
.from the East or from large Jewish communities to attract Russian students.
Regardless of the reasons for such an uneven distribution, the consequences of
over-concentration were apparent: the 500 Russian Jews studying in Berlin and
the 350 in Leipzig by 1912 were highly visible. (A somewhat wider geographic
distribution characterised Russian Jews at technical and vocational schools

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

because these Hochschulen restricted foreign students from the beginning of the
twentieth century.) 8
The presence of Russian Jews was further highlighted by their over-
concentration in particular fields of study. Few chose the faculty of law because
there was little chance to practise as a lawyer: as aliens they could not enter the
German bar and as Jews they were not permitted to serve as lawyers in Russia.
Initially, Philosophy was the most popular of all faculties, but it lost ground
because Russian Jews could not expect to receive the teaching or civil service
positions for which this discipline prepared them. As a result, a staggeringly high
percentage of these students enrolled in medical and, to a lesser extent, chemistry
and mathematics faculties since these provided more practical career
opportunities. By 1911, 85% of Russian Jews at Prussian universities studied
medicine. In non-Prussian universities such as Freiburg, Heidelberg, Leipzig,
and Munich anywhere from 80 to 90% of the Russian Jews registered as medical
students. German technical Hochschulen were also attractive to Russian Jews, but
these schools put restrictions on the number of foreign students far earlier and
more rigorously than the universities. The few hospitable technical Hochschulen
attracted disproportionately large numbers of Russian Jews. Thus, in 1910,
Russians constituted one quarter of the total student body, one third of
mechanical engineering students, and an even higher percentage of electrical
engineering students at Karlsruhe's technical Hochschule. Such disproportionate
over-concentration in much sought-after fields hardly went unnoticed.9
Finally, Russian-Jewish students were conspicuous because of their social
aloofness. They constituted a sizable contingent of foreigners who removed
themselves from German university life. In his memoirs, Chaim Weizmann
described the world of his fellow Russian students in Germany as existing
"outside of space and time". In truth, they merely lived psychologically outside of
On the initial pattern of German-Jewish distribution at universities, see Richarz, op. cit., pp. 46 and
98. The 1877 data are in DZAM, Der Andrang ..., pp. 1-7. See Table II for 1912/1913 data.
See Table Ic on the distribution of Russian Jews by Faculties. Arthur Ruppin discusses the
impracticality of law as a vocation for Russian Jews. ('Die Juden auf den preussischen
Universitaten', Z./.D.S., I [1905], No. 11, p. 14.) According to the Judische Rundschau, Russian Jews
could not work as lawyers or doctors in Germany (10th January 1913, p. 11). Data on the Karlsruhe
Technische Hochschule are in GLA Karlsruhe, Abt. 235, Ministerium der Justiz, Nr. 4051, Die Aufnahme
russischer Studierender an der Technischen Hochschule, igo2-2i, letter from the Minister to the Hochschule's
Senate, 15th October 1910. These figures do not distinguish between Jews and Gentiles; on the basis
of general patterns, however, we can assume that over three-quarters of the Russians were Jewish.
Russian-Jewish Students in Germany 191
German space and time. The students engaged in fierce ideological battles of
enormous importance to contemporary affairs in Russia but of scant interest in
Germany. They shared little in common with their none-too-friendly German
fellow-students and therefore withdrew into their own societies and clubs.
German realities, however, impinged forcefully on the Russian Jews' insulated
world, and they were soon engulfed by public controversies over the presence of
"foreigners" at German Hochschulen.10


Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

The initial German response to the growing number of Russian-Jewish students
consisted of heightened vigilance on the part of ministries of education, the
agencies that regulated institutions of higher learning in each German state.
Between 1889 and 1891 Just a few years after Russia had imposed quotas, several
states began to gather statistical data and exchange information about the
number of Russian Jews. Bureaucracies in Prussia and Saxony, where the
preponderant majority of these students enrolled, required universities to submit
special reports on the number of Russian students at their institutions-listing
Jews and Gentiles separately. Significantly, state officials at first ordered these
reports in order to comply with requests for information submitted by the Tsarist
government. During the early nineties, German officials also expressed concern
to each other over the presence of Russian Jews at medical schools. In 1890
Chancellor Bismarck specifically directed Prussia's Education Minister to
examine the number of such students who had enrolled during the previous three
years — i.e. since the imposition of Russian quotas — and the Bavarian government
inquired of the Reich's Interior Minister whether the influx of Russian Jews
necessitated a revision of admissions policies at medical schools.11
This flurry of activity signified increased government awareness of the
newcomers but did not result in new policies. In fact, when native students at the
prestigious technical Hochschule in Charlottenburg petitioned in the early nineties
for restrictions on the admission of foreigners, Prussia's Minister of Education
rebuffed their demands. Government officials apparently decided not to take
further action because university reports submitted during this period
Chaim Weizmann, Trial and Error, Philadelphia 1949, p. 34.
In a future volume of the LBI Year Book I propose to examine Russian-Jewish student societies in
Germany and their responses to the increasingly shrill debates over the Ausldnderfrage.
"For Prussian responses, see correspondence in DZAM, DerAndrang...: Minister of Education to the
Chancellor, 12th February 1890; Chancellor's response, 3rd May 1890; Directive of Minister to all
university rectors, 23rd November 1890; and the Bavarian inquiry of 27th June 1891. For Saxon
correspondence, Sachsisches Landeshauptarchiv, Dresden, Ministerium fur Volksbildung, Nr.
10084, Die an der Universitdt zu Leipzig und am Polytechnikum zu Dresden immatrikulierten Studierenden
russischer Nationalitdt: Minister of Foreign Affairs to Education Minister, 10th January 1889
(regarding inquiries from Russian government); Minister of Education to academic administrators,
12th January and 25th June, 1889; see also correspondence from Prussian ambassador in Saxony
dated 24th June, 1889. (For the purposes of simplification, we will refer to ministers in charge of
educational matters as Education Ministers, even though many supervised multi-faceted
agencies-e.g. the Prussian official headed a Ministry of Religious, Medical, and Educational
Affairs and the Baden minister supervised the Ministry of Justice, Religion, and Education.)
192 Jack Wertheimer
demonstrated that enrolments of Russian Jews had remained stable at
non-Prussian universities and had grown only slightly at Prussian institutions.12
Even though no new policies emerged yet, developments during this early
period are noteworthy because several patterns of response were set for the future.
From the outset, the Russian government worked against the interests of its
Jewish subjects, at first urging German states to supervise and regulate Russian
students strictly and later prodding Germany to harass these students. Also, from
the beginning, state governments consulted in an effort to coordinate a national
policy on a matter that rightfully fell within the jurisdiction of individual states.
And finally, despite later euphemistic talk about the Ausldnderfrage, German
governments from the start reacted to a problem posed in universities by Jewish

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

victims of Russian quotas. Moreover, it was not a surge in the absolute number of
Russian Jews that provoked greatest concern, but their over-representation in
particular faculties.

The presence of Russian-Jewish students ceased to be a subject solely of

internal government deliberations when a variety of new circumstances
prompted public debates over the Ausldnderfrage at the beginning of the twentieth
century. First, Russian Jews now congregated in colleges in sufficient numbers to
constitute a recognisable contingent. Second, both within government circles and
society at large, negative perceptions of Russian Jews were spreading: the
newcomers were pictured as a dangerous and subversive element that threatened
Germany's political stability, academic prestige, and industrial capability. And
finally, a variety of organised and vocal groups began to press for changes in
policies toward these unwanted foreigners.
One source of pressure came from the Tsarist government which demanded
German cooperation in the battle against Russian radicals. Germany had obliged
itself to cooperate in this campaign when in 1901 it negotiated and in 1904 ratified
a treaty with Russia and several other European states wherein it pledged to
battle against "anarchists" — a term loosely applied to all radicals, socialists, and
"nihilists". German states lived up to their treaty obligations and went even
further by permitting Tsarist agents to operate freely within the Reich. The
historian Barbara Vogel has argued plausibly that this highly unusual
arrangement served as a simple and politically safe means to strengthen ties with
Russia since collaboration in the fight against "anarchists" cost Germany little
while it united the two empires in a crusade against subversion.13
To a limited extent, governments had already kept a special watch on Russian
students during the eighties and nineties of the nineteenth century, but efforts
intensified in 1901 when the Tsarist Minister of Education was murdered by a
Russian student who had lived in Berlin prior to the assassination. On orders
Student demands: Selbst-Emancipation, January 1891, No. 4, p. 6, No. 5, p. 5 and Allgemeine Zeitung des
Judentums (AZJ), 12th February and 15th March 1891. See the rich statistical tables compiled by
Prussian bureaucrats detailing the attendance of Russian Jews at all German universities between
1877 and 1890 in DZAM, Der Andrang ..., pp. 4-7.
Leo Stern (ed.), Die Auswirkung der Ersten Russischen Revolution von igofy-oj auf Deutschland, Berlin
(East) 1956, vol. 2/1, p. xxv. Barbara Vogel, Deutsche Russlandpolitik, Diisseldorf 1973, p. 87.
Russian-Jewish Students in Germany 193
from the Kaiser, university and police authorities in Berlin began to cooperate
with Russian secret agents operating in the German capital. Subsequently,
Russian police were permitted to work freely in the rest of Prussia and later in
other German states. Especially after the Russian Revolution of 1905, German
police frequently harassed Russian students, searched their libraries and social
clubs for illegal literature, and spied on their meetings.14
Foreign students caught engaging in revolutionary activities were subjected by
police to severe and arbitrary punishment against which they had no legal
recourse. In several states, police closed down student clubs and reading rooms
after they discovered revolutionary journals on the premises. German officials
also expelled individual Russian students for allegedly "anarchistic",

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

"nihilistic", or simply "troublesome" (Idstig) conduct. Police were especially
quick to punish foreign students who appeared to contravene state laws and
university regulations forbidding non-citizens to attend German political rallies
or engage in election activities. To cite just two instances of swift retribution for
alleged interference in the German political process: a leading Bundist student in
Berlin suffered expulsion from Prussia when he was observed spending time in
the offices of the Vorwdrts, the press organ of Germany's Social Democratic Party;
and a student named Rahel Kirsch was ordered to leave Prussia five weeks before
completing her studies at a college of commerce on the grounds that she had
attended a German May Day rally. Russian students even faced severe
punishment when they demonstrated on behalf of their own interests: in 1904 four
hundred and twenty-eight Russians in Berlin signed a petition protesting against
a recent inflammatory Reichstag speech in which Chancellor von Biilow declared
with explicit reference to Russian-Jewish students that Germany "will not be led
by the nose by such Schnorrers and conspirators". Within a month, Prussia
expelled one hundred and sixteen of the petitioners, including ninety-nine
Russian Jews. 15
Although these repressive actions stemmed from a complex mixture of motives,
including the desire to please Tsarist officials, fear of subversives, distrust of
Slavs, and xenophobia, they had serious consequences for all Russian-Jewish
This theme is explored extensively in Botho Brachmann, Russische Sozialdemokraten in Berlin
i8gj-igi4, Berlin (East) 1962, especially Chapters I and V.
See Brachmann, op. cit., for numerous documents pertaining to the harassment and expulsion of
Russian students. (Brachmann claims that these actions were motivated by anti-Russian, rather
than antisemitic motives.) Bundist: Stern 2/II Document Nr. 2, pp. 61-62. Kirsch: DZAM, Rep.
77, Ministerium des Innern, Tit. 500 No. 38 Ausldnderwesen Miscellan., letter from the Berlin Office of
the Alliance Israelite Universelle, 28th May 1907. Petition of 400: Brandenburgisches
Landeshauptarchiv, Potsdam, Polizeiprasidium C, Rep. 30, Nr. 12708, DieRusseninterpellation unddie
gegen die Beantwortung gerichteten Protestkundgebungen. The Socialist Zionist, Nahman Syrkin, was the
only non-student among the 116 expulsion victims.
One of the Russian Jews driven out of Prussia, a woman named Jannina Berson, challenged her
imprisonment and expulsion at the hands of German officials. The state's Minister of the Interior,
Biilow, ruled that Berson had no legal recourse since expulsion was an administrative prerogative
that aliens could not challenge. In response to this well-publicised case, the Frankfurter Zeitung stated
in an editorial that "foreigners have no rights in Germany just as all inhabitants of Russia have no
rights". See Preussisches Geheimes Staatsarchiv Berlin, Dahlem, Rep. 84a, Nr. 14,
Justiz-Ministerium, Die Ausweisung von Ausldndem, press cuttings from the National-Zeitung, 7th
January 1905; Kolnische Zeitung, 9th January 1905; Frankfurter Zeitung, 9th January 1905.
194 Jack Wertheimer
students. The involvement of German governments in ferreting out Russian
radicals and the constant communication between German and antisemitic
Russian officials, led to the internalisation of stereotypical notions about Russian
Jews. In private discussions government officials increasingly linked Russian
Jews with political subversion: to quote the Kaiser in a letter to his cousin, Tsar
Nicholas, Russian Jews were "the leaders of the revolt". More ominously,
government officials publicly invoked these stereotypes in order to justify their
collaboration with Tsarist agents and their harassment of Russian-Jewish
students. In a speech before Prussia's parliament, Minister of Interior Bethmann
Hollweg claimed that "only the blind do not recognise the active and passive role

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

of the Jews in the Russian Revolution" of 1905. And in the Reichstag, Chancellor
von Biilow .linked all Russian-Jewish students with "Mandelstamm und
Silberfarb", two well-known Russian radicals recently expelled from Berlin
whose names were recognisably Jewish. The historian Robert C. Williams has
correctly concluded that "for many Germans, 'Russian', 'radical', and 'eastern
Jew' became linked together after 1905 as a single type of undesirable". This
association of Russian-Jewish students with bomb-throwing and subversion
coloured all discussions of the Ausldnderfrage.16
In addition, the political repression of Russian radicals had a deleterious effect
on all Russian students because it undermined their legal rights and social status.
Shmarya Levin, a Zionist leader, depicted the bizarre situation in which he and
his fellow students were trapped:
"German police would regard the political activity of the foreign students not as an internal
German matter to be regulated by German law, but purely from the Russian point of view.
More than once it would occur that men were punished . . . for crimes that were not crimes
according to German law." 17

Among other restrictions, it was illegal for Russian students to subscribe to the
SPD newspaper, the Vorwdrts. Moreover, the promotion of stereotypes by leading
government officials and the well-publicised police harassment of radicals served
to legitimise attacks upon Russian students. Since police and government officials
denounced Russian students, other sectors of the German populace felt free to
follow suit.

Student societies and professional associations opposed to the influx of

Russian-Jewish students undoubtedly took heart from their governments'
political repression of the newcomers; but they sought additional restrictions to
limit the academic rights of foreign students, as well. During the early years of the
twentieth century, they bombarded education ministers and academic
administrators with petitions that called for discriminatory admissions policies,

Issac Don Levine, Letters from the Kaiser to the Czar, New York 1920, p. 224; AZJ, 18th May 1906 for
Bethmann Hollweg's speech. On the "Mandelstamm-Silberfarb" speech, see files 12707/1—2 and
12708 in Brandenburgisches Landeshauptarchiv, Potsdam. Robert C. Williams, Culture in Exile,
Ithaca 1972, p. 50.
Youth in Revolt, pp. 237-239.
Russian-Jewish Students in Germany 195
particularly at technical schools where the Ausldnderfrage required urgent solution
due to the rising population of unwanted Russian students. 18
A number of complaints recurred in these petitions.19 Native students blamed
foreign intruders for the shortage of seats in lecture halls and over-crowding in
universities. They, then, singled out Russian students as the true culprits: "the
culturally inferior element from the East poses a danger to the national character
of our Hochschulen" . 20 Russian students fail to master the German language and
consequently lower the academic quality of classes, especially when they serve as
teaching and laboratory assistants. Many Russian students possess "insufficient
scientific training (Bildung)" and, in fact, are admitted to German Hochschulen
without having passed a competitive exam (Konkurrenzprufung) or attained

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

certification after their secondary school studies (Reifezeugnis). Some German
institutions even admit students who had been rejected by Russian Hochschulen.
This situation, claimed the petitioners, was unfair and insulting to native
students. German institutions, however, need not exclude all foreigners, but
rather they must institute selective procedures to ensure that only "those who will
enrich the student body" may gain admission.
Petitioners also raised several broader issues. They regarded it as the height of
folly for Germany to educate foreign engineers and scientists in the most
advanced techniques. These aliens surely would soon go abroad and help foreign
countries develop their productive capacities to rival Germany's industries.
True, at first, these students might copy German production techniques and
therefore import familiar industrial machinery from the Reich, but in the
long-run, Germany was educating competitors and enemies. Furthermore,
foreign students were politically unreliable: it was well known that "Slavic and
Jewish students work on behalf of the Social Democrats" and are "political
The petitioners proposed a variety of changes in admissions policies to remedy
As late as 1906, foreigners and Russians constituted higher percentages of student bodies at
technical schools than at universities. See data in the Frankfurter Zeitung, 14th March 1907 (cutting
in Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Munich. Kultusministerium, Nr. 19630 K. Technische Hochschule
Munchen. Aufnahme der Studierenden, Zuhbrer, u. Hospitanten (Ausldnder- Generalia), 1900-1912.
It is not possible to ascertain the exact number of Russian Jews at German Hochschulen during this
period, but several types of sources indicate a steep rise early in the new century: student petitions
repeatedly refer to this increase, and scattered statistical data point to the same conclusion. For
example, enrolments of Russian Jews at Dresden's Polytecknikum rose from 13 in 1895 to 61 in 1905
(Dresden, Min. fur Volksbildung, Nr. 10084-85); of the 128 students surveyed by Berthold Feiwel in
1902 (see note 4), 110 studied technical subjects; also see text below for figures on Russians at
various technical colleges.
The following discussion synthesises the key arguments and demands of petitions submitted to
Hochschule officials in: Berlin-see AZJ, 12th August, 1898 Beilage, p. 1, and Brachmann, op. tit., pp.
lOOff; Dresden-see Sachsisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Dresden, Min. fur Volksbildung, Nr. 15804,
petition from the Verein deutscher Ingenieure, dated 9th August 1901; Munich-see Staatsarchiv
Munchen, Polizeidirektion Munchen, Nr. 4115 Russische Studierende in Ingolstadt, especially press
cuttings from the Munchener Neuste Nachrichten, 3rd July 1901; Karlsruhe-see GLA Karlsruhe,
235/7305, petitions of 15th September 1904 from the Verein deutscher Chemiker, and May 1905 from the
Verband der deutschen Technischen Hochschulen, and 18th July 1902 from the student organisation at the
local technical college. (Our summary of these petitions will imitate their use of the terms
"Russians" and "foreigners" interchangeably.)
^Student petition quoted by Im deutschen Reich, April 1907, pp. 238-239.
196 Jack Wertheimer
the situation. Student groups urged Hochschulen to impose higher academic fees on
foreigners, permit aliens to enrol in classes only after all German students had
completed registration, and demand fluency in the German language as a
prerequisite for study at institutions of higher learning. Some groups outside the
academic world demanded a policy of "German Hochschulen for Germans". The
Society of German Chemists, for example, urged restrictions on foreign students,
excepting German-speaking students from Switzerland, Austria, and the Baltic
territories of Tsarist Russia —"so that the young students of our people and the
German race outside the Reich's borders may enjoy unrestricted educational
Bureaucrats in the various ministries of education responded sympathetically

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

to these demands, During the first decade of the century, they directed virtually
every institution of higher learning to impose a tuition scale that discriminated
between native and alien students. Generally, foreign students were required to
pay up to two or three times the normal sums for matriculation, laboratory,
lecture, examination and certification fees. Some Hochschulen imposed even mote
onerous financial burdens: the college of commerce in Leipzig charged natives 20
and aliens 100 Marks for matriculation fees alone, while the same type of school in
Cologne charged 12 and 250 Marks respectively; at Dresden's technical
Hochschule natives paid 12 Marks and foreigners 74 Marks. These fees, however,
applied to all foreigners and did not fall more heavily on any one national
State officials also formulated a series of new admissions policies for technical
schools that were directed specifically at Russians. Early in the new century,
Prussia set the precedent when its Education Minister ordered Russian students
to furnish a Reifezeugnis valid for admission to a Russian Hochschule and proof of
prior study at a Russian institution of higher learning as a prerequisite for
enrolment at technical schools in Prussia. In March, 1902, Bavarian officials
adopted the same policy, consciously modelling themselves after the Prussians
and adding a new regulation that permitted foreigners to begin registration at the
earliest two weeks after native students completed selecting their courses. By
September, Saxony imposed a new regulation on students planning to enrol at
Dresden's technical school: Russian students needed proof of prior study at a
Russian university as a prerequisite for admission; even previous enrolment at a
non-Saxon Hochschule was deemed insufficient. In sum, Prussia, Bavaria, and
Saxony henceforth would accept into their technical schools only transfer
students from Russian institutions of higher learning.22
Fee structures at German institutions of higher learning can be gleaned from O. Koenen and W.
Eicker, Hochschulen-Fuhrer, Leipzig 1911. Many schools introduced higher fees for foreigners already
during the first years of the century. See, for example, Central Archives for the History of the Jewish
People, Jerusalem TD/141 'Report of Self-Aid Committee for Jewish Students from Russia in
Berlin, 1902', and the exchange of correspondence regarding fees for foreigners in various states, in
Dresden, Min. fur Volksbildung, Nr. 15804, April and May 1909 letters, especially pp. HOff.
See press cuttings from the Munchener Allgemeine Zeitung dated 2nd April 1902 in GLA Karlsruhe,
235/4051 and 19th September 1902 in GLA Karlsruhe, 235/7305. See also the exchange of
correspondence between Bavaria's Education Ministry and Munich's Technische Hochschule dated
18th September 1901 and 19th July 1903 in Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Munich, MK 19630.
Russian-Jewish Students in Germany 197
Educational officials in other German states came under strong pressures to
institute similar regulations. To begin with, ministers in the more restrictive
states pressed their counterparts in more lenient ministries to conform. When
representatives of education ministries gathered in July 1902, just a few months
after Prussia and Bavaria had acted and shortly before Saxony imposed new
restrictions, they were urged to coordinate policies towards foreign students at
Hochschulen.2* Bureaucrats who had not yet restricted Russian students were also
pressed at home by local student groups and parliamentary deputies demanding
a justification for lenient admissions policies. Moreover, Hochschulen that did not
regulate foreign students quickly experienced a dramatic increase in the number
of Russians because the restrictive policies in Prussia, Bavaria and Saxony set

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

students in search of institutions that remained hospitable. The pattern is evident
from the following statistics: The enrolment of Russians at Charlottenburg's
technical Hochschule declined from 121 in 1901/1902 to 55 in 1912; in Dresden 61
Russians were enrolled in 1905/1906 and only 11 by 1913/1914; and in Munich,
the number of Russians dwindled from 243 in 1904/1905 to 123 in 1913. By
contrast, the technical Hochschulen in Karlsruhe and Darmstadt reported the
highest percentages of foreigners in their student bodies (39-4% and 38-1%
respectively in 1907) because they had not yet curbed Russian students
vigorously. Clearly, Russian-Jewish students sought out educational institutions
that did not bar them, and this movement increased pressures in Baden, Hesse
and other states for more restrictive policies.24
Officials in Baden responded by imposing new curbs. In 1902, Baden's
Minister of Education ordered Russian students to provide proof of successful
performance in a Russian competitive exam (Konkurrenzprufung) or of prior study
at a Hochschule in their homeland as a prerequisite for enrolment at Karlsruhe. He
also granted native students priority during registration for courses. By 1905
Baden's educational authorities tested Russian students for fluency in the
German language. Unlike their counterparts in other education ministries,
however, bureaucrats in Baden did not require Russian students to provide
evidence that they had studied at a Tsarist university prior to their admission to
Karlsruhe's technical Hochschule.25
Authorities in other German states proved themselves less generous under
pressure. In 1905, Braunschweig's technical Hochschule imposed a numerus clausus
on foreigners that limited their number to twelve per cent of the student body.
Two years later, the Ministry of the Interior in Hesse required all Russian
students at Darmstadt's technical school to furnish a diploma from a Russian

"Protocols of the 1902 meeting are in GLA Karlsruhe, 235/7305 dated 18th-20th July 1902; see also
235/4051 on the pressures exerted upon education ministers to conform-e.g. the Baden Landtag's
debate of 6th and 22nd March 1902.
See Brachmann, op. tit., p. 100 for statistics. (Brachmann's data do not differentiate Russians by
confession, but for reasons discussed below, we can assume that the decline in the number of
Russians resulted from restrictions felt mainly by Jewish victims of Tsarist quotas.) For Karlsruhe
and Darmstadt data, see the memorandum of Baden's Minister of Education dated 10th May 1907
in GLA Karlsruhe, 235/4051.
"See the orders of Baden's Education Minister dated 14 June 1902, 4th November 1904, 26th
September 1905 in GLA Karlsruhe, 235/4051.
ig8 Jack Wertheimer
Gymnasium and evidence of matriculation at a Russian university before they came
to study in Germany. (This rule was applied retroactively also to students already
enrolled.) And Stuttgart's technical college simply ceased to accept Russian
In addition, by 1908 most states rejected students from Russian Realschulen at
their technical Hochschulen, even as they continued to accept those from German
Real- and Ober-Realschulen. As a justification, ministers noted that studies at
Russian Realschulen lasted only seven years, compared to the nine-year course of
study at German Realschulen; only graduates of Russian nine-year Gymnasia were
deemed sufficiently prepared. In fact, as bureaucrats admitted in their private
correspondence, they had seized upon the difference between Russian and

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

German Realschulen as a further pretext to curb Russian students.27
While these new regulations ostensibly affected all Russians, they were
actually aimed at Russian Jews. Jewish, but not Gentile, Russians could not
furnish a Gymnasium diploma due to antisemitic quotas at Tsarist secondary
schools. Similarly, it was particularly difficult for Jews to present proof of study at
a Russian institution of higher learning prior to their arrival in Germany: Russian
Jews went abroad precisely because the numerus clausus blocked them from
studying in their homeland. And Jews, not Gentiles, faced special obstacles in
taking Russian competitive exams and therefore could not meet German
requirements for successful completion of a Konkurrenzprufung. In short, despite
their euphemistic language, the new admission policies at Hochschulen were
primarily designed to curb one contingent of foreign students-Jewish victims of
Tsarist quotas.

The final phase of the Ausldnderfrage controversy centred on the presence of

unwanted Russians at universities. Their numbers in universities had mounted
once technical schools began to enforce severe restrictions. Trends in the states of
Baden and Saxony illustrate the dimensions of this widespread shift: between
1905/1906 and 1913, the number of Russians (including Gentiles) leaped from 89
to 212 at Heidelberg's university and sank from 372 to 161 at Karlsruhe's
Hochschule; during the same years, enrolments by Russian Jews at Dresden's
technical college dwindled from 61 to 40, whereas at Leipzig's university, they
soared from 63 to 297. The move to universities gained further momentum from
the ever-increasing number ofJews who left Russia after the 1905 Revolution in
quest of a higher education. By 1913, nearly five hundred such students
matriculated at Berlin's university alone, and contingents of Russian Jews
numbering in the hundreds could be found at several other universities.28

Press cuttings from Karlsruher Allgemeine Zeitung, 4th March 1905 and Frankfurter Zeitung, 19th
October 1907 in GLA Karlsruhe, 235/4051.
"Response to survey conducted by Baden's Minister of Education, 10th May 1907 in GLA
Karlsruhe, 235/4051.
Baden: Printed report of April 1914 entitled 'Anzahl der an den badischen Hochschulen
Studierenden', in GLA Karlsruhe, 235/4051. Saxony: Dresden, Min. fur Volksbildung, Nr. 10084
and 10085. See also Appendix, Table III to compare the relatively small number of Russian Jews at
technical Hochschulen as opposed to universities in 1912/1913. On the mounting influx of Russians
Russian-Jewish Students in Germany 199
The influx of these Russian Jews prompted a new round of student protests.
During the year 1907, students rallied in Jena, Leipzig, Berlin, and Darmstadt,
specifically, urging the exclusion of Russian or Russian-Jewish students. When
the Verein Deutscher Studenten met in March, 2,000 students heard a Professor
Samassa, a Baltic German, accuse Jewish students from Russia of working for the
German Social Democratic Party during the previous election. Samassa
introduced a resolution that denounced the "culturally inferior elements from the
East who are a danger to the national character of our educational institutions"
and berated "the Slavic and Jewish students who worked on behalf of the SPD
voting list". The convention passed the resolution and pressed Prussia's Minister

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

of the Interior to enlist support from other state governments to keep out Russian
students. (During the course of this convention, not only Russian Jews were
singled out; speakers depicted all Jews as enemies of German culture.) 29
The growing public controversy encouraged parliamentarians to take up the
Ausldnderfrage. In February 1909, at the initiative of a Catholic Zentrum Party
deputy, the Reichstag debated whether foreign students endangered Germany's
competitive edge in industrial production. A few weeks later, diets in Prussia and
Saxony concerned themselves with the problem of foreigners in universities.
Parliamentary debates reached a climax in December 1909 when deputies
representing the antisemitic faction and the Conservative Party introduced a
resolution urging the Reichstag to protect "the national and economic interests of
our Volk from the dangerous advances of foreigners at German institutions of
higher learning". This was to be achieved by strictly curbing and expelling
unwanted foreigners. Government ministers, however, defended admissions
regulations as far more flexible and adequate tools for solving the problem. 30
Behind the scenes, Tsarist officials also kept up their pressure for more
restrictive policies. They demanded intensified surveillance of Russian Jews who
"more or less are interested in revolutionary propaganda". They also made clear
their dissatisfaction that so many Russians rejected by Tsarist institutions of
higher learning were admitted by German educational establishments. It was
especially disturbing to find large numbers of German-trained doctors returning
to/Russia and practising medicine without Tsarist certification.31
after the 1905 Revolution, see the memorandum submitted by the Senate of Munich's Hochschule to
Bavaria's Minister of the Interior dated 1st April 1905 in Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Munich,
MK 19630.
^Jena.JudischeRundschau, 1st December 1905, p. 637. Darmstadt: AZJ, 7thJune 1907, p. 267. Leipzig:
AZJ, 5th July 1907, Beilage, p. 2. Berlin: 8th March 1907, pp. 110-111. Samassa: Judische Rundschau,
15th March 1907, pp. 116-117; Die Welt, 8th March 1907, pp. 1-2; Im deutschen Reich, April 1907, pp.
^Reichstag debates: Stenographische Berichte uber die Verhandlungen des Reichstages, 12th Leg. II. Session
1909/10, vol. 259, p. 1472; vol. 262, p. 3590; and Resolution No. 83 (3rd December 1909); see also
AZJ, 5th March 1909, p. 110. Debates in diets: Mitteilungen aus dem Verein zur Abwehr des
Antisemitismus, 24th February 1909, pp. 57-60; Stenographische Berichte uber die Verhandlungen des Houses
der Abgeordneten (Prussia), 21 Leg., IV. Session, 1911, pp. 6873ff. See also the Kreuzzeitung, 13th June
1912 for a report on the previous day's debate in the Bavarian Chamber of Deputies (cutting in
Dresden, Min. fur Volksbildung, Nr. 15804).
The Tsarist government subjected several German states to this pressure. See Brachmann, op. cit.,
for sample memoranda. For correspondence between Bavarian ministers regarding Russian
requests, see Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Munich, Geheimes Staatsarchiv, MA 60 154, letter of
5th May 1911 from Interior Minister Wehner and 17th March 1911 from the Foreign Ministry.
200 Jack Wertheimer
In direct response to these secret Tsarist demands and public agitation by
students, Bavaria's Minister of Education imposed a quota on Russians, limiting
their enrolment at Munich's university to two hundred students. In the future,
Russians admitted under the numerus clausus would have to demonstrate
proficiency in the German language, and provide proof of graduation from a
Gymnasium and of prior study at a Russian institution of higher learning. Officials,
however, did not anticipate accepting new Russian students for years to come
since existing enrolment exceeded the quota considerably. Only after the number
of Russiari's at Munich's university declined below the quota would authorities
even consider admitting new students from Russia. Not surprisingly, the number

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

of Russians at Saxon and Prussian universities mounted, causing further student
and official concern.32
Before other states could react, a new round of protest demonstrations erupted
at universities throughout Germany. The leaders of these rallies were medical
students. In January 1913, clinical students at the medical school in Halle went
on strike to dramatise their resentment of foreign fellow-students who allegedly
were exempted from some examinations required of native students. The Halle
strike inspired medical students in other universities to organise sympathy
demonstrations and issue demands for quotas to reduce the number of foreigners
at universities.
An examination of enrolment figures at medical schools makes plain that
Russian Jews were the objects of this agitation. During the period of student
demonstrations, Russians constituted three-quarters of all foreigners at these
schools, while between eighty and ninety per cent of all medical students from the
Tsarist Empire were Jews.34 It is more difficult, however, to assess the validity of
student complaints: did Russian Jews interfere with the education of natives? A
1911 memorandum from Heidelberg's anatomical institute reports a shortage of
The Bavarian numerus clausus was imposed by the Minister of Education von Wehner in an order
dated 11th April 1911 to the rectorate of Munich University. See Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv,
Munich, MK 19630. See also Israelitisches Familienblatt (Frankfurt), 11th April 1913, p. 2. The
Bavarians acted in April 1911, during a period of intensive pressure from the Tsarist government.
On the Halle strike: AZJ, 7th February 1913, Beilage, p. 1; Israelitisches Familienblatt (Hamburg), 16th
and 30th January 1913, p. 2 and p. 5, respectively; Brachmann, op. cit., pp. 104—105; On other
medical school protests: Derjudische Student, 1913/1914, pp. 60-61 and K.C. Blatter, 1st March, 1913,
pp. 120ff. Demands by medical students typically included the following items: 1. Foreign students
must present evidence of a Reifezeugnis comparable to the German Abitur; 2. Foreigners must present
a certificate of good conduct from authorities in their homeland; 3. Prior to taking their doctoral
exams, foreigners must pass a German language test; 4. The number of foreigners must be limited
by quotas; 5. Foreigners must pay double fees; 6. The first four rows in lecture halls must be reserved
for German students; 7. German students must have priority during registration. (See K.C. Blatter,
March, 1913, pp. 129-132.)
During this period, studental protests also mounted at the few relatively unrestricted technical
colleges. Tensions ran especially high at Darmstadt's Hochschule after a Russian Jew was stabbed to
death by German students during a brawl at a local cafe. Twenty-five student corporations in
Darmstadt petitioned for the imposition of quotas on Russian students. See Israelitisches Familienblatt
(Hamburg), 12th December 1912, p. 6 and 23rd January 1913, p. 5; also Frankfurter Zeitung, 15th
January 1913 (cutting in GLA Karlsruhe, 235/7503).
Citing figures in the Statistische Korrespondenz, the Frankfurter Zeitung (20th May 1913) claimed that
1,486 foreigners enrolled in German medical schools in 1911/1912; of these 1,111 were Russians.
Russians accounted for one out of every nine medical students in the Reich. See Table III on the
percentages of Russians at medical schools who were of the Jewish confession.
Russian-Jewish Students in Germany 201
corpses for dissection in medical schools. Perhaps facilities were strained due to
over-crowding. But the observations of a contemporary authority sent from
America to study German medical schools, cast some doubts on these charges.
According to Abraham Flexner's 1911 study of clinical sections in medical
schools, "benches thronged in the early days of the semester, usually have room
enough long before its close". During clinical demonstrations, Flexner
"repeatedly heard anywhere from three to a dozen names called before a response
was obtained". Evidently, over-crowding was more a problem on registration
lists than in lecture theatres and laboratories. 35
Even though some education ministers admitted that foreigners did not

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

deprive natives of places at universities, they instituted a variety of new
restrictions to satisfy protesting students. Prussia, to take the most important
state first, imposed a numerus clausus. As of 24th September 1913 only 900 Russian
students could enrol at Prussian universities: 280 in Berlin, 80 in Bonn, 100 in
Breslau, 60 in Gottingen, 120 in Halle, 140 in Konigsberg, and 30 each in
Marburg, Kiel, Miinster, and Greifswald. These quotas were not to affect the
nearly 1,100 Russian students already enrolled.36
Bavaria followed suit by instituting a more comprehensive quota system. No
more than 400 foreigners could study at the University of Munich and no more
than 150 subjects of any one state could enrol in medical schools. This translated
into a limit of 80 foreigners each at the universities in Wiirzburg and Erlangen, no
more than half of whom could study medicine. At the same time, prior enrolment
at a Tsarist Hochschule was still required of incoming Russian students. 37
Saxony imposed no quota but it required all Russian students to have studied
at a university in their native country prior to their transfer to a Saxon university.
(Two years of prior study at a German university was deemed an unacceptable
substitute.) Moreover, only graduates of a Russian Gymnasium, not a Real- or
Ober-Realschule were accepted. Even if admitted, medical students were given no
assurance that they could participate in the clinical part of the programme.
Russian women could not matriculate at all; at best, they might audit
courses-provided they had graduated from the best women's high schools.38
See the letter from Heidelberg's Anatomical Institute dated 1st November 1911 in GLA Karlsruhe,
235/7503. Abraham Flexner, Medical Education in Europe, New York 1912, pp. 18, 20.
^Note the admission of Prussia's Minister of Education cited in AZJ, 10th October 1913, Beilage, p. 1.
(At the height of the debate over the Auslanderfrage at technical schools, Prussia's Minister of the
Interior made a similar admission that Russian Jews did not deprive native students of places. See
Preussisches Geheimes Staatsarchiv Berlin, Dahlem, Rep 91 Nr. 2253, Protocols of 20th December
1905 cabinet meeting.) On the Prussian quotas, see the order issued by the Education Minister to
university rectors dated 24th September 1913 in GLA Karlsruhe, 235/7503. This decree refers
solely to quotas on "Russian students." On Prussian actions, see also Israelitisches Familienblatt
(Hamburg), 10th October 1913, Beilage, p. 1.
For the decree of Bavaria's Minister of Education, see GLA Karlsruhe, 235/7503, memorandum to
senates of universities dated 6th October 1913. See also Israelitisches Familienblatt (Hamburg), 15th
October 1913, p. 6 and Brachmann, op. cit., pp. 115-116. This decree superseded the earlier quota
imposed in April 1911 solely on Russians (see above, note 32). The new Bavarian quotas did not
single out Russians, but limited all foreigners. In practice, however, Russians were most affected
since they constituted the largest contingent of foreign students.
Saxon policies are clearly stated in a letter from the Information Bureau of Leipzig's university
dated 16th April 1913 in Central Zionist Archives, Jerusalem A126/29, Leon Motzkin Papers,
202 Jack Wertheimer
Officials in Baden resisted pressures to impose a numerus clausus or admissions
requirements aimed mainly at Russian Jews. The Minister of Education opposed
such measures on the grounds that they excluded worthy students, hurt the
interests of universities, and negated the "Baden tradition" of hospitality.
However, he feared that quotas and restrictions in other states would bring a
flood of students to Baden. He, therefore, ordered rigorous testing of students to
measure their fluency in German, granted priority during registration to native
students, and raised fees for foreigners at medical and technical schools.39
The new regulations made an immediate impact. Since in most cases, quotas
were exceeded even before their introduction, the flow of Jewish students from

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

Russia virtually halted. By the summer of 1913, the number of Russians
matriculating at German institutions of higher learning plummeted by nearly 20
per cent compared to the previous year. Historical events, however, intervened
before the full weight of the new restrictions could be felt. A year after most quotas
were imposed, war erupted and German states expelled or interned enemy aliens.
By late 1914, debates over the Ausldnderfrage had ceased since Russian Jews were
no longer enrolled at German institutions of higher learning. 40
The broad array of new admission policies imposed on the eve of the First
World War stripped away all pretences that the Ausldnderfrage was about all
foreign students. By continuing the unrestricted admission of Western European
and American students, German authorities made clear that the education of
Motzkin's Participation in Jewish Matters ... 1912-14. See also Brachmann, op. cit., pp. 115-116; Die
Welt, 10th October 1913, p. 1395; AZJ, 15th October 1913, pp. 495-496.
GLA Karlsruhe, 235/4051, memorandum of Education Minister to senates in Heidelberg and
Freiburg dated 6th October 1913.
During this period, technical colleges in all German states further tightened restrictions on
Russians. For a good survey ofHochschule policies on the eve of the First World War, see K.C. Blatter,
1st March 1913, p. 126, and the memoranda from officials in Stuttgart (17th May 1912), Darmstadt
(17th May 1912) and Karlsruhe (6th April 1912) in Dresden, Min. fur Volksbildung, Nr. 15804.
'"'Quotas exceeded: Die Welt, 10th October 1913, p. 395. Over-all decline: K.C. Blatter, July, 1914, pp.
224—225. On developments in Prussia after the outbreak of war: see DZAM, Rep. 77 Tit. 46, Nr. 40,
Vol. I. Das Stadium russischer Staatsangehb'riger an den Preussischen Hochschulen igio-iggz and
B r a c h m a n n , op. cit., p . 118. See also Stenographische Berichte iiber die Verhandlungen des Reichstages,
session of 31st October 1916, vol. 308, for a comprehensive report by Dr. Lewald of the Reichsamt
des Innern that traced the history of decrees issued as early as 30th August 1914 ousting enemy
aliens from all German institutions of higher learning.
Just before the outbreak of the First World War, the Ausldnderfrage controversy gave rise to
debates beyond Germany's borders. The academic senate at the German university in Prague
called for a numerus clausus on "non-German foreigners". Medical students in Basle agitated for
stringent admissions tests for aliens. And their French colleagues demanded the ousting of aliens
from medical schools. It is unclear how these protests related to similar demands in Germany: Were
the French, Swiss, and Austrians reacting to the influx of foreigners who now avoided Germany? Or
were these students merely inspired by the success of their German counterparts? In either event,
Germany had exported the "problem of foreigners at universities". (Prague: Die Welt, 23rd October
1913, p. 1468 and 21st November 1913, p. 1598. France: Die Welt, 18th April 1914, p. 499.
Switzerland: Die Welt, 18th July 1914, p. 922 and 7th November 1913, p. 536.) One may speculate as
to the possible connection between German quotas on Russian-Jewish students and the imposition
of antisemitic quotas at American universities a few years later.
The Auslanderfrage controversy in Germany and other European states shaped the ideological and
political stances of Russian-Jewish students in Western Europe and inspired serious plans for the
creation of a Jewish university. As stated in note 10, these developments will be examined in a
subsequent essay.
Russian-Jewish Students in Germany 203
citizens from competitor nations did not concern them. They focussed instead
almost exclusively on students from Russia. Some states imposed quotas solely on
Russians. Others placed a numerus clausus on all foreigners but in practice shaped
restrictions to curb only Jewish students from the Tsarist Empire: they restricted
foreigners in faculties where the latter predominated — i.e. medicine; they rejected
graduates of Russian Realschulen—which affected Jews who faced quotas at
Tsarist Gymnasia; and most crucially, they required solely of Russians evidence of
prior study at an institution of higher learning in their homeland, a demand that
most Russian Jews could not meet due to Tsarist quotas. The new regulations,
thus, reduced the complex questions posed by the presence of foreigners at
German universities and the particular needs of Russian-Jewish students to a

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

simple matter of curbing unwanted Jews. As new restrictions were formulated, an
official in Berlin's police department clarified the issue dominating the
"Academic life must be protected from the influx of Russians which is 90% Jewish and
therefore unwanted. The well-known arrogance of Russian-Jewish students is growing in
direct proportion to their numbers. This deepens the antagonism between German and
Russian students and will lead to new and more considerable conflict."

Though not privy to such candid private correspondence, many contemporaries

understood the intention of government policy. "Practically, it means," wrote the
Frankfurter Zeitung, "that Russian Jews who are as good as barred from university
study in their dear fatherland, now also cannot attend German universities.
Because of this cruelty, we permit ourselves to speak of Russian barbarism at
German Hochschulen."*1


The Frankfurter Zeitung*s editorial was not the only expression of dissent against
the government's handling of the Ausldnderfrage: during public debates, a variety
of groups challenged discriminatory policies and rose to the defence of
Russian-Jewish students. Some employed ridicule to shame German officials into
ceasing their imitation of Russia's discriminatory policies. Others appealed to
national pride, arguing that the presence of foreign students enhanced
Germany's international prestige and attested to the cultural eminence of its
universities. And still others accused governments of illegal actions, citing the
harassment of foreigners and antisemitic discrimination against Jews.
Within the political arena, Progressives (Liberals) and Social Democrats, the
parties that most consistently fought against antisemitism and xenophobia, led
the campaign against restrictionists. Socialist deputies rebuked governments for
allowing Tsarist agents to operate in Germany and protested the harassment of
Russian-Jewish students. Early in the twentieth century, Karl Liebknecht
circulated a questionnaire to Russian students concerning their experiences with
For the comments of the Berlin police official, see DZAM, Das Studium, p. 95, memorandum of 14th
February 1913. A cutting from the Frankfurter Zeitung, 2nd October 1913, appears in GLA
Karlsruhe, 235/7503.
204 Jack Wertheimer
the German police; their responses provided ammunition for fighting
government spokesmen. Both Liberals and SPD deputies viewed the attacks
upon foreign students as a product of reactionary and antisemitic demands. As
Liebknecht put it to the Prussian Chamber of Deputies: "the numenis clausus is
really directed against Russian students and is a reactionary development . . .
born of the antisemitic spirit and aimed at the politically unpopular foreign
students." 42
At the universities, rectors, senates and faculties generally resisted student and
government demands for curbs on foreign students. To be sure, individual
professors openly supported restrictions. However, academic administrators and

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

representatives of the professorate consistently minimised the problems posed by
foreigners and sought to avoid new admissions policies. It is possible to speculate
as to their motives —were they driven by concern for Russian students or for the
principle of academic freedom?-but their opposition to new restrictions was
clearly expressed in correspondence with ministers of education. Individual
professors also took a stand: professors of medicine in Heidelberg, Leipzig, and
Halle wrote letters commending Russian students for their abilities and
contributions. Faculty members in the department of mechanical and electrical
engineering at Karlsruhe's Hochschule fought against a numerus clausus, contending
that Russians had "proven themselves among the most diligent" of students.
According to some professors, native opposition to foreigners was motivated by
jealousy since Russian students tended to work harder and put in longer hours in
laboratories; if anything, the Russians served as positive models for their lazy
German counterparts. Professors also denounced requirements for prior study in
Russia as an importation to Germany of Tsarist antisemitism. And some
university officials submitted pleas requesting that bureaucrats exempt
especially deserving Russian students from restrictions and onerous fees.43
In contrast, there was little student support for the Russian Jews. At the
beginning of the controversy, even the Kartell-Convent der Verbindungen deutscher
Studentenjudischen Glaubens (K.C.), the fraternities of integrationist Jews, were torn
between their loyalties to German co-students and fellow Jews. As patriotic
students, they could hardly object when their fellows justified restrictionist
Liebknecht's speech: quoted in AZJ, 8th May 1914, pp. 218-219. The Liberals' position is best
summarised in numerous editorials printed by the Mitteilungen aus dem Verein zur Abwehr des
Antisemitimus; see, for example, 14th August 1907 p. 251; 16th November 1907, pp. 354-355; 24th
February 1909, pp. 57-60; 13th July 1910, pp. 213-214. A copy of Liebknecht's questionnaire is in
Brandenburgisches Landeshauptarchiv Potsdam, vol. 12778.
Brachmann also concludes that rectors and senates at non-Prussian universities opposed
restrictions on Russian students (op. cit., p. 101). For some examples of opposition, see Dresden,
Min. fur Volksbildung, Nr. 15804, pp. 143-144; and GLA Karlsruhe, 235/7305, protests from the
senate of Karlsruhe's//oducAufc dated 14th May 1909, lOthNovember 1910 and 8th February 1913.
See also letters written by individual professors in support of their Russian students: Jewish
National Library and Archives, Jerusalem, v. 768, file of the Verband der ostjudischen Studentenvereine in
Westeuropa, letters of 14th and 16th August, 1912 by Heidelberg professors; also GLA Karlsruhe,
235/7305, letter from Heidelberg's Chemistry Laboratory dated 16th December 1904; GLA
Karlsruhe, 235/4051, letter of protest by the department of mechanical and electrical engineering at
Karlsruhe's Hochschule dated 21st December 1910; and in the same file, letter from the senate and
rector dated 7th August 1913. Government archives contain numerous other examples of faculty
opposition to new restrictions on Russians.
Russian-Jewish Students in Germany 205
demands on the ground of German national interests. Their sympathies were
further divided by fellow-students who denied any antisemitic intentions. On the
contrary, wrote one student pamphleteer named Wolf Mehrings, out of "delicacy
of feeling" and in order to avoid any semblance of antisemitism, German students
had not pressed their case against foreigners forcefully enough. Mehrings warned
Jewish students that "many Germans . . . become antagonistic when they get to
know Jews of such a low level and have to address them as colleagues. Until now
they knew only the well-situated German Jews." The presence of Russian Jews,
he argued, fostered antisemitism at the universities.44
This type of argument did not long mislead native Jewish students, however.

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

For when they attempted to make common cause with Gentile fellow-students by
urging policies that affected all foreign students uniformly, they found themselves
isolated. In several instances, protest meetings against foreign students
deteriorated into antisemitic rallies. It became increasingly clear that protesters
against foreigners intended to restrict only Russian Jews. 45
After long hesitation and a great deal of soul-searching, leaders of the
Kartell-Convent gradually adopted a more sympathetic stance towards Russian-
Jewish students. It resolved early in 1913 to support demands of striking medical
students, "but to protest energetically against measures . . . which cut off all
possibilities for Jewish youth to obtain an education." For this reason, it rejected
requirements that particularly affected Russian Jews —e.g. the need for previous
study in Russia and quotas. The Jewish duelling fraternities denounced as
antisemitic new policies introduced in 1913; but they continued to urge measures
directed equally at all students from abroad. 46
The Zionist league of student societies (Bundjudischer Corporationen) scathingly
ridiculed the K.C. for its "objectivity" in considering "only the German
standpoint". Zionists viewed new regulations against Russian students as the
prelude to a broader campaign against all Jews. On several occasions B.J.C.
delegations headed by the lawyer Salli Hirsch met with Prussian leaders in an
attempt to moderate new regulations. But the emissaries failed. Bureaucrats in
the Ministry of Education shrugged off accusations of antisemitism and decided
not to introduce special classes for foreigners, as Hirsch had suggested. The only
beneficiaries of these meetings were children of immigrants who could now
submit special applications. (Until then, foreigners whose parents had lived in
Germany and paid taxes for years were treated like all other alien students.) 47
Much like the younger generation, the adult leaders of organised German
Jewry endured inner conflict before they came to the defence of Russian-Jewish
On the conflict felt by German-Jewish students, see the article by Otto Strauss, a medical student, in
AZJ, 7th February 1913, Beilage, p. 1; K.C. Blatter, March 1913, pp. 120-135. See Mehrings's
pamphlet, Russen auf Deutschlands Hochschulen, Munich 1913 in Staatsarchiv Munch en,
Polizeidirektion Munchen, Nr. 4115.
On efforts by K.C. members to moderate student demands that singled out Russian Jews: Judische
Rundschau, 15th March 1907, pp. 116-117; Die Welt, February 1913, p. 141. Zionist students also
attended these meetings and spoke out even more boldly.
^See K.C. Blatter, March 1913, pp. 120-135, May 1913, pp. 175-176, and November 1913, pp. 34-35
for evidence that the K.C. criticised new regulations against Russians as antisemitic.
*7Der Judische Student, January 1913, p. 333; February 1913, pp. 120-122; and Judische Rundschau, 1st
August 1913, p. 317.
206 Jack Wertheimer
students. Social relations between native Jews and Russian students hardly
justified an active role for Jewish organisations during the Ausldnderfrage
controversy. Describing these relations at their best, Chaim Weizmann wrote as
"Towards the end of my Berlin period we had managed to establish a certain relationship with
part of the Jewish community of the city. The German Jews, who had looked upon us
Russian-Jewish students as wild men from the uncivilised East, learned to know us: and they
developed a kind of liking for us or perhaps merely a weakness. We were considered
picturesque and interesting . . . But I cannot say that anything resembling real intimacy ever
grew up between the Russian-Jewish student colony and the Jewish community of Berlin. The
gap between the two worlds was almost unbridgeable."

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

Less empathetic German Jews frowned upon the students and were particularly
dismayed at their radical and Zionist politics. (Eugen Fuchs, Chairman of the
Centralverein, deutscher Staatsbiirger jiidischen Glaubens portrayed Jewish radicals in
Russia as "silly boys. . . " ) 4 8
The controversy over Russian students, however, pushed these considerations
of taste and temperament into the background and confronted German Jews with
difficult political choices. On the one hand, native leaders wished to help
Russian-Jewish students acquire a higher education since, it was often claimed,
the suffering of Eastern Jewry resulted from a deficiency of Bildung (education in
its broadest sense); German Jews felt obliged to aid their Eastern co-religionists
to better themselves. On the other hand, it was awkward and potentially
damaging for German Jews to identify closely with aliens from the East who were
portrayed as enemies of the Reich. German Jewry's leaders ultimately chose to
fight restrictions against Russian Jews on the grounds of self-interest: they
regarded the unequal treatment of any Jews in Germany as a dangerous
precedent for discrimination against all Jews. Hence, out of concern for the
principle of Jewish legal equality, German Jews opposed restrictions that singled
out Russian-Jewish students. 49
During the Ausldnderfrage controversy, organised native Jewry united in
defence of Russian-Jewish students. Newspapers running the gamut from the
Orthodox Der Israelit to the liberal Allgemeine Zeitung des Judentums, from the
integrationist Im deutschen Reich to the Zionist Jiidische Rundschau viewed the
"question of foreigners at Hochschulen" as a euphemism for the "Jewish Problem".
Jewish newspapers editorialised about ideals of academic freedom; they pleaded
for hospitality toward aliens; and they rejected the notion that Russian students
posed a threat to universities or German national interests. Some Jews even urged
universities to enlarge lecture-rooms or add new courses, if the problem was
really one of space shortages. In Berlin, 1,200-1,500 Jews attended a protest
meeting when Prussian quotas were imposed. The stance of native Jews —at least

•^Weizmann, op. cit., p. 39. Fuchs's remark was made in 1905 and is quoted in his Urn Deutschtum und
Judentum, Frankfurt a. Main 1919, p. 216.
On the critique of Jewish culture in the East and Eastern Jewry's alleged lack of Bildung, see my
doctoral dissertation, German Policy andJewish Politics: The Absorption of East Europeanjews in Germany,
i868-igi4, Columbia University 1978, Chapter Ten. See the references cited in the next note for
evidence of German Jewry's conflicts and perceptions during the Ausldnderfrage controversy.
Russian-Jewish Students in Germany 207
officially-was one of total support for the right of Russian Jews to study in
Germany. 50
Despite the vehemence of their protests, Jewish organisations, academic
representatives, and Liberal politicians neither prevented nor ameliorated new
restrictions on Russian students. In part, their efforts failed because more
powerful and vocal groups exerted greater pressure on government officials; the
array of German students, professional associations, and Tsarist officials
combined to form a strong lobby for restrictions. But ultimately, none of these
groups controlled events. Instead, government bureaucrats resolved the
Ausldnderfrage through administrative regulations. Whereas pressure groups and

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

public opinion undoubtedly influenced government decisions, officials in
ministries of education, acting on their own prejudices and wielding broad
administrative powers determined the fate of Russian-Jewish students.

The role of government ministers and bureaucrats during the Ausldnderfrage

controversy bears significance for the exploration of several broader themes in the
history of Imperial Germany. Developments during this controversy, for
example, shed light on relations between state and university in Wilhelminian
Germany. For the "problem of foreign students" was not resolved by academic
representatives, but by bureaucrats in ministries of education who imposed their
policies upon universities and technical schools often against the expressed
wishes of faculties, senates and rectors. This interference in academic affairs by
government bureaucrats further attests to the loss of independence sustained by
German institutions of higher learning before the First World War. 51
The "problem of foreigners at institutions of higher learning" also has
implications for the study of antisemitism in the Second Empire. Thus far,
discussions of anti-Jewish behaviour at German universities have revolved
around the bigotry of nationalist fraternities and the discrimination practised by
universities in judging Jews for academic appointments. Boisterous student
rallies against Russian Jews and restrictive admissions policies aimed specifically
at Jewish victims of Tsarist quotas, surely added another dimension to university
anjisemitism. Moreover, the wider national debate over the Ausldnderfrage and
actions taken to resolve this controversy, constituted an as yet unremarked
victory for antisemites in Imperial Germany.
Significantly, this victory was achieved neither by antisemitic ideologues nor
by parliamentarians of the anti-Jewish factions; rather, state officials abetted the
agitation against Russian Jews both through their passive and active conduct.
Instead of acting to allay irrational fears and judiciously resolve the complex
^The position of Jewish groups is clear from every newspaper I have examined. The following are but
a few examples of such expressions by specific groups: Orthodox: Derlsraelit, 16th January 1913, p. 2
and 23rd January 1913; Liberal: AZJ, 18th July 1902, Beilage, p. 1, 2nd May 1913, p. 207; Zionist:
Judische Rundschau, November 1907, p. 508, 10th January 1913, p. 11; C.V.: Im deutschen Reich,
November 1913, p. 505. See also, Israelitisches Familienblatt (Frankfurt), 17th January 1913, pp. 1-2;
Israelitisches Familienblatt (Hamburg), 30th January 1913, p. 5. Protest meetings: Die Welt, 7th
February 1913, p. 174.
Increasing state interference in academic affairs forms a central theme ofCharles E. McClelland, op.
tit., especially, Part IV.
208 Jack Wertheimer
issues posed by foreign students, in general, and Russian Jews, in particular,
government leaders fuelled the controversy. They disseminated antisemitic
stereotypes about subversive Jews from Russia and acceded to demands for
discriminatory admissions policies issued by xenophobic and antisemitic student
The behaviour of government officials during the Ausldnderfrage controversy
attests to the contribution of the state to the antisemitism of the Imperial era.
Recent historical scholarship has taken up this theme, noting that the equal legal
status of Jews in Germany did not eliminate governmental discrimination against
Jews. Members of the judiciary, cabinet ministers, and state bureaucrats vented

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

their animosities and prejudices towards Jews. And in areas where officials
wielded discretionary powers in matters not clearly defined or regulated by law,
they at times discriminated with impunity against Jews. Under diverse
circumstances, government officials exercised their broad authority to harm Jews
and their interests.52
Such was the case when bureaucrats in ministries of education responded to
the influx of Russian-Jewish students. In cabinet meetings, bureaucratic
correspondence, and parliamentary debates, they repeatedly expressed
stereotyped views concerning Jewish youths from the Tsarist Empire. They,
then, acted upon their bigotry, wielding their bureaucratic powers to impose
discriminatory admissions policies. During the debate over "foreign students",
government officials promoted antisemitic prejudices and institutionalised
discrimination against a particular category of Jews residing in Germany. The
Ausldnderfrage controversy thus provides further evidence of state complicity in
the development of Germany's Judenfrage in the post-Emancipation era.
For two major articles that survey the historiography of German antisemitism, see Ismar Schorsch.
'German Antisemitism in the Light of Post-War Historiography', in LBI Year Book XIX (1974), pp.
257-271, and Shulamit Volkov, 'Antisemitism as a Cultural Code. Reflections on the History and
Historiography of Antisemitism in Imperial Germany', in LBI Year Book XXIII (1978), pp. 25-46.
Note especially the scholarly agenda set forth by Schorsch in his concluding remarks: "Our task
should be to reconstruct the theory and reality of governmental policy toward the Jews throughout
the modern period, in all areas where the state was required to deal with Jews as individuals or as a
group." (loc. cit., pp. 270-271). Two notable studies that pursue this theme are: Marjorie Lamberti,
'The Prussian Government and the Jews. Official Behaviour and Policy-Making in the
Wilhelminian Era' and Werner T. Angress, 'Prussia's Army and the Jewish Reserve Officer
Controversy before World War I', both in LBI Year Book XVII (1972).
Government actions regarding Jewish immigrants from the East represent another aspect of
bureaucratic antisemitism. See my essay, "The Unwanted Element". East European Jews in
Imperial Germany', in LBI Year Book XXVI (1981), pp. 2S-46.
Students at Prussian Universities
la: Total Number of Students
Total Jewish FJ% FJ% Total RJ % of RJ%
Semester St Body Jews % ofSt FJ ofj FS ofFS Russians Russians ofFS
Winter 13,641 1,305 9-57 150 11-49 896 16-74 188 44 23-40 4-91
1889-1890 e e e e c c
Summer—Winter 15,885 1,465 9-22 265 18-09 1,087 24-38 — — — —
1899-1900 a a a a
Winter 18,677 1,675 8-97 455 27-16 1,388 32-78 332 148 69-2 10-66
1902-1903 b a a a a a a
Winter 20,813 1,904 9-15 483 25-37 1,743 27-71 767 381 49-67 21-86
1905-1906 d d d d d d
Winter 28,446 2,545 8-95 916 35-99 2,525 36-28 993* 681* 68-58 26-97
1911-1912 f f f f f f
*=Women students not included. Key To Abbreviations of Tables
&=Zeitschrift fur Demographie und Statistik derjuden, I, No. 9 (1905), pp. 12-15. I, II, III
b=David Preston, 'The German Jews in Secular Education .. .\ Jewish Social Studies, Spring 1976, p. 103. St=Students
c=DZAM, Rep. 76 Va, Sekt. 1, Tit. 1, Nr. 28, Der Andrang ..., pp. 4-5. TS=Total Student Body
d=Preussische Statistik {P.S.) vol. 204, Abschnitt I, pp. 4ff. J=Jews
e=P.S., vol. 116 (1894), pp. 8-9. FJ=Foreign Jews
f=P.S. vol. 236 (1913), Abschnitt I, pp. 10-11 and Abschnitt IV, pp. 194-95. FS=Foreign Students
RJ=Russian Jews
R=Russians o
—=No data available

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

By Universities
Winter 1889/1890 1899-1900 1902-1903 1912-1
* FJ% FJ% FJ% FJ% RJ% RJ%
TS Aliens Russians TS Aliens of of TS Aliens oj of oj of
e e d b b 7 Total Aliens b b 7 Total Aliens TS Aliens Russians RJ Total Aliens
Berlin 5,165 515 121 35 5,472 675 211 3-86 31-26 5,979 861 326 5-45 37-86 9,806 1,217 510 499 509 41
c c c c
Bonn 1,119 61 5 0 1,944 56 2 •10 3-57 2,247 65 2 •09 308 4,179 — 46 — — —
f f
Breslau 1,296 24 4 1 1,592 42 12 •75 28-57 1,763 47 19 108 34-04 2,633 151 99 85 3-23 56-29
c c c c
Gottingen 986 76 10 2 1,260 86 6 •48 6-98 1,361 96 13 •96 13.54 2,660 — 42 — — —
f f
Greifswald 906 6 4 0 780 11 0 0 0 745 19 7 •94 36-84 1,260 — 6 — — —
f f

Halle 1,490 15 27 2 1,455 118 9 •62 7-63 1,537 154 15 •98 9-74 2,906 270 120 68 2-34 25-19
c c c c
Kiel 477 15 0 0 840 17 1 •12 5-88 1,060 13 — — — 1,500 19 10 8 •53 42-11
f f f f
Konigsberg 786 9 10 1 791 41 21 2-65 51-22 927 66 59 6-36 89-39 1,758 240 230 200 11-38 83-33
c c c c
Marburg 866 19 7 3 1,102 41 3 •27 7-32 1,200 49 5 •42 10-20 1,002 — 19 — — —
f f
Munster — — 0 0 603 — — — — 991 9 0 0 0 2,154 — — — — —
•Enrolment figures of TS and Alien students are not available for 1889/90. For comparative purposes, figures are provided on enrolments during the Winter
semester 1886/87.
a = Verdjfentlichungen des Bureaus fur Statistik der Juden, I, 1905. d=DZAM, Rep. 76, Sqkt 1, Tit. 1, Nr. 28 Der Andrang ..., pp. 4-5.
b=compiled from ZJ.D.S., II, No. 9 (1905), p. 15. e=Preussische Statistik, vol 102 (1890), pp. 86ff.
c=ZJ.D.S., X (1914), p. 61. f=Compiled from Table II.

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011


By Faculties

Law Medicine Philosophy

Year TS Jews Aliens FJ/RJ ofTS TS Jews Aliens ofTS TS Aliens mi ofTS

Winter 2,220 205 95 7 •32 3,633 734 173 39 1-07 3,515 385 444 83 2-36
1886-87 b b b b b b b b b b b b
Winter 2,713 214 91 10/4 •37 3,632 763 218 44/16 1-21 4,084 392 469 96/24 2-35
1889-90 d d d d/c d d d d/c d d d d/c
Winter 5,282 490 143 31 •59 2,795 551 354 182 6-5 7,576 636 791 243 3-21
1902-03 a a a a a a a a a a a a
Winter 5,934 578 192 39 •66 2,403 569 448 250 10-4 9,871 637 850 194 1-97
1905-06 a a a a a a a a a a a a
Winter 5,854 613 179 37 •63 3,140 611 455 224 7-1 11,667 616 903 139 119
1908-09 a a a a a a a a a a a a
Winter 5,792 559 227 61/34 1-05 5,086 628 922 572/474 11-2 15,188 473 1,058 160/58 1-05
1911-12 e e e e e e e e e e e e

a=Compiled from Z.f.D.S., 1913, pp. 114-115.

b=Preussische Statistik (P.S.), vol. 102 (1890), pp. lOff.
c=DZAM, Rep. 76 Va, Sekt. 1, Tit. 1, Nr. 28, Der Andrang ..., pp. 4-5.
d=P.S., vol 116 (1894), pp. 2-3, 8-9.
c=P.S., vol 236 (1913), Abschnitt I, pp. 10-13 and Abschnitt IV, pp. 194-195.
Note: Figures in this table do not tally exactly with those in Table la because they represent an average for the year.

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

212 Jack Wertheimer

Russian-Jewish Students at German Institutions of Higher Learning, 1912-1913. *

Ha: Universities

Jewish % RJ% RJ%

Total of of of Total
Institution Students Aliens Russians RJ Russians Aliens Students

Berlin (a) (—b) 9,806 1,217 510 499 97-84 41-07 509

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

Bonn (d) 4,179 — 46 — — — —
Breslau (a) 2,633 151 99 85 85-86 56-29 3.23
Erlangen (b) 1,307 32 11 8 72-73 25-00 •61
Freiburg (a) 2,627 177 92 53 57-61 29-94 2-02
Giessen (a+b) 1,338 52 31 26 83-87 50-00 1-94
Gottingen (d) 2,660 — 42 — — — —
Greifswald (d) 1,260 — 6 — — — —
Halle (b) (—a) 2,906 315 146 95 65-07 30-16 3-27
Heidelberg (a) 2,264 301 161 124 77-02 41-20 5-48
Jena (a+b) 1,842 140 57 42 73-68 30-00 2-28
Kiel (b) 1,500 19 10 8 80-00 42-11 •53
Konigsberg (a) (—b) 1,758 240 230 200 86-96 83-33 11-38
1,742 — 231 190 82-25 — 10-91
Leipzig (e) (—a —b) 5,351 784 409 298 72-86 3801 5-57
Munich (a) 6,759 752 320 288 90-00 38-30 4-26
Marburg (d) 1,002 — 19 — — — —
Minister (d) 2,154 — — — — — —
Rostock (b) 881 24 16 13 81-25 5417 1-48
Strassburg (a) 2,063 191 121 98 81-99 51-31 4-75
Tubingen (b) 1,898 — 17 8 4706 — •42
Wiirzburg (d) 1,455 — 7 0 0 0 0
Russian-Jewish Students in Germany 213
lib: Technische Hochschulen

Jewish % RJ % of
Total of RJ% Student
Students Aliens Russ. RJ Russ. Aliens Body

Berlin (b) 2,110 476 64 — — — —

Braunschweig (b) 371 44 32 21 65-63 47-73 5-66
Breslau (d) 184 184 7 — — — —
Cothen in Anhalt (b) 461 166 34 34 3505 20-48 7-38
Darmstadt (a) 1,250 410 164 164 70-69 40-00 13-12

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

Dresden (e) 1,169 — 40 11 27-5 — 0-94
Friedberg i.
Hessen (b) 200 80 50 25 5000 31-25 12-50
Hanover (b) 835 62 6 — — — —
Karlsruhe (a+b) 1,701 346 174 46 26-44 13-29 2-70
Mannheim (b) 350 90 52 — — — —
Mittweida (c) — — 223 42 18-83 — —
Munich (a) 2,766 541 123 78 63-41 14-42 2-82

Missing: Aachen, Danzig, Stuttgart

He: Business Schools

Jewish % RJ % of
Total of RJ % Student
Students Aliens Russ. RJ Russ. Aliens Body

Berlin (b) 509 178 65

Cologne (d) 530 — 69 — — — —
Leipzig (c) 550 — 109 68 62-39 — 12-36
Mannheim (b) 125 15 6 — — — —
Oflfentliche Handelslehranstalt (c)
(Dresden) — — 2 1 50-00 — —
OfFentliche Handelslehranstalt (c)
(Leipzig) — — 8 6 75-00 — —
214 Jack Wertheimer
Hd: Other Institutions

RJ % of
Total Jewish % RJ % Student
Students Aliens Russ. RJ of Russ. of Aliens Body

Academy of Art (c)

(Dresden) — — 2 2 100-00 — —
Agricultural School (b)
(Berlin) 707 107 38

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

Music Conservatory (c)
(Dresden) — — 23 13 56-52 — —
Music Conservatory (c)
(Leipzig) — — 96 70 72-92 — —
Mining Academy (b)
(Freiberg) 399 138 91 28 30-77 20-29 7-02

This listing of institutions of higher learning is incomplete.

*Most figures in this table date to the Winter Semester 1912/1913; where such data were
unavailable, figures for the Summer of 1912 or 1913 are provided.
+ = combination of sources utilised.
( — ) = Indicates the existence of conflicting data; the source of these additional data is then noted.
(a)=Z/.Z).S., X (1914), p. 61.
(b)=DZAM, Rep. 76 Va, Sekt. 1, Tit. 1, Nr. 28, Der Andrang ..., labelled "Bericht der O.K." It is
unclear who compiled this list. (The same document is also in the Central Zionist Archives Jerusalem,
A126/19, Motzkin files.)
(c)=Brachmann, op. cit. No. 49, pp. 195-196.
(d) =Central Zionist Archives, Jerusalem, A126/19, Motzkinfiles,undated. A typed list in Russian
providesfigureson the "Total Students" and "Russian students" at each of 47 German institutions of
higher education. The figures in this document tally with data for the period 1912-1913.
(e)=Dresden, Min. fur Volksbildung, Nr. 10084 and Nr. 10085.

Distribution of Russian-Jewish Students in University Faculties, 1912/1913.'

Medical Faculty All other Faculties

Russians Russian Jews R Percentage of I
Total Total RJ studying S"
%of %of %of 3
University Students Absolute TS Absolute Russians Students Russians TS RJ Medicine

Berlin 2,083 383 18-4 380 99 7,723 127 2 121 75-9

Breslau 579 81 14-0 76 93 2,054 18 1 3 96-4
Freiburg 1,064 51 4-8 43 84 1,563 41 3 10 83-6 r
Halle 289 73 25-2 60 82 2,617 50 2 8 901
Heidelberg 869 82 9-4 67 82 1,395 79 6 49 62-6
Konigsberg 590 209 35-4 189 91 1,168 21 2 11 950
Leipzig 947 265 28-0 250 98 4,404 143 3 66 800
Munich 2,137 247 11-5 235 95 4,622 73 2 53 82-0
Strassburg 457 101 22-1 93 92 1,606 20 1 9 91-8
Total 9,015 1,492 16-5 1 ,393 93 27,152 572 2 330 81-9

•Compiled from Z.f.D.S., X (1914), p. 61.

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011

Downloaded from by guest on January 20, 2011