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Berlin Zoo seeks Jewish members stripped of shares during Nazi era

General December 3, 2013

People are seen buying tickets at the main entrance of the Berlin zoo, on December 2, 2013More 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. Their exclusion is just one example of how Jews were pushed out of public life in 1930s Germany and stripped of their assets.

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