The Archive

The fonds and collections of the FZH archives focus on the social and cultural histories of Hamburg and northern Germany in the twentieth century, along with their ‘Mentalitätsgeschichte’ (history of mentalities). The core focus revolves around the Nazi period, including the time before and after, the labour movement, political resistance efforts, and the post-war handling of Nazi injustices.

These research priorities have guided the institute’s collection-activities from the very start. It was in 1949, with the founding of the ‘Research Centre for Hamburg’s History from 1933 to 1945’, that the first collection of primary sources for scholarly investigation was begun, bringing together eyewitness reports, diaries, and copied/transcribed documents from private persons, archives, and official bodies. Initially for internal use only, this collection of materials was systematically expanded and made available to external users from 1960 onwards by what was now the ‘Research Centre for the History of National Socialism in Hamburg’. After the ‘Hamburg Library for Social History and the Labour Movement’ was established under the Research Centre in 1966, large non-current records were received from the local offices of the DGB (German Trade Union Confederation) and the SPD (Social Democratic Party). Over time, the archives began receiving larger personal papers, manuscripts, private archives, newspaper clipping collections, and inactive records of associations and organizations that fell outside the remit of state archives. More recently, our efforts have also been geared towards to safeguard, preserve and make accessible documents dealing with the research of sexuality and gender.

The archive is open to the public and welcomes students, scholars, and private individuals conducting historical research and enquiries. It maintains close contacts with other archives and participates in local endeavours like the AHA (Arbeitskreis Hamburger Archive) and the HÜV-NL (Hamburger Überlieferungsverbund Nachlässe).

Verschnürte Mappe aus grauem Karton
Geöffnete Mappe mit handgeschriebnen Dokumenten auf gelblichem Papier


If you would like to use the archive or consult with us, please send us a written request that details your enquiry as concretely as possible. We will then use our internal finding aids and let you know what documents we have available.

Kirsten Schaper, Archive Head
phone +49 40 431397-36

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