More than 70 years after the Berlin Zoo forced Jewish shareholders out of its ranks, the institution is trying to come clean about its own dark chapter during the Nazi era.
A Berlin historian is combing through thousands of names to identify members made to sell their shares back to the zoo at a loss under the Third Reich, and has begun tracking down their descendants ahead of publishing her findings.
“Jews were very important for the zoo,” said historian Monika Schmidt, who estimates up to a quarter of the zoo’s 4,000 shareholders in the 1930s were Jewish. “But they were pushed out step by step by the zoo itself, before the Nazi state asked any institution to do those things,” said Schmidt.
Their exclusion is just one example of how Jews were pushed out of public life in 1930s Germany and stripped of their assets.
The zoo’s actions pale in comparison to other atrocities committed in Hitler’s Germany, but historians say there is value in documenting them.
“It’s very important to see that this discrimination and these Nazi crimes were not only done by some people, but in all parts of society,” said Johannes Tuchel, a professor of political science at the Free University of Berlin.
1. come clean v. phr.
說出真相；全盤供出 (shuo1 chu1 zhen1 xiang4; quan2 pan2 gong1 chu1)
例: He’s finally come clean about his role in the scandal.
2. push out v. phr.
逼退 (bi1 tui4)
例: I felt I was being pushed out of the job.
3. pale v.
相形見絀 (xiang1 xing2 jian4 chu4)
例: His accomplishments pale beside those of his father.