Epilogue: Exile and the Archive

Receipt for Soma Morgenstern
Receipt for Soma Morgenstern's application for a "Carte d'identité", Paris, 1938–1941. // This piece of paper was vital for surviving in exile. This is evidenced by the missing sections, tears and creases. The writer Soma Morgenstern always carried the document with him in France. It was the only document that legalised his stay there.

German Exile Archive 1933–1945 of the German National Library, NL Soma Morgenstern, EB 96/242, thanks to Dan Morgenstern

Epilogue: Exile and the Archive

Even while still in exile, some exiles gathered testimony, documented persecution and attempted to publicise what they had collected. These included exiles who had contributed to the "Bibliothek der Emigrationsliteratur" (Library of Emigration Literature) in the late 1940s, which later became the German Exile Archive 1933–1945.

However, the individual books, letters, life documents and objects reveal not only a particular story of exile. In many cases the items also bear traces of their own history. These include comments of previous owners, or the particular form in which exiles recorded their memories.

Many exiles did not regard their situation as anything special – or explicitly rejected such a status. Much was therefore lost because few could imagine ever being asked.