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Activity Number: 589 - Learning from the Past – a History of Censuses
Type: Invited
Date/Time: Thursday, August 1, 2019 : 8:30 AM to 10:20 AM
Sponsor: Government Statistics Section
Abstract #300296
Title: The Role of German Census Taking in the Holocaust: Facts, Obscurities, Legacy
Author(s): Hans Kiesl*
Companies: OTH Regensburg
Keywords: history of statistics; census; official statistics

The German census of 1939 is infamous for its attempt to create comprehensive listings of Jewish citizens. Whether these listings played a crucial role in the Holocaust is still a matter of debate; it is beyond dispute that these lists were finally transferred to the local administrations, which was a severe breach of the code of practice for official statistics. This experience made the post-war generation in Germany suspicious of transferring data from the census to any administrative authorities. In 1983, the Constitutional Court stopped the (West German) census because of governmental plans to update local population registers using census information. In 2018, the Constitutional Court had again to decide on the legitimation of the latest census. In this talk, we will review the history of German census taking and show that the 1939 census still impacts census legislation of today.

Authors who are presenting talks have a * after their name.

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