Most Jewish refugees did not return; the share of those who did was less than four percent. The statistics of the Jewish Congregation in Hamburg record a total of just under 200 remigrants for the period from 1945 to 1959, i.e., persons who settled temporarily or permanently in Hamburg, a numerically larger group being the Shanghai returnees. In 1959, the group of returnees made up about 14 percent of the Congregation members, composed in the early years primarily of persons who had survived in so-called mixed marriages (Mischehen).  In this context, during the first years, from 1945 to 1948, merely 25 persons returned and only in 1950, the number of returnees exceeded the number of emigrants. The topic of remigration, however, cannot be limited to the question of return migration; rather, it involves complex networks of relationships between exile and the former homeland, between emigrants, remigrants and the majority societies; it is about the significance of places, about questions of survival, of new beginnings, of dealing with the past, about the relationship between Jewish and non-Jewish communities, about questions of belonging.
All of these questions are deeply individual and can initially be considered only on a micro level. A synopsis of different sources, as this dossier aims to achieve, nevertheless points to general structures, sociopolitical parameters, legal hurdles, and emotional ambivalences that can be abstracted from the individual horizon of experience. Thus, our goal is to shed light on the topic of remigration by means of concrete reports of experiences and selected documents, using the example of individual biographies and focusing geographically on the city of Hamburg, to illuminate different groups and perspectives, to raise more questions than provide answers. What were the factors that influenced remigration decisions (family, profession, health, and climate); what were the living conditions in Hamburg for Jewish remigrants; what was the significance that the former hometown had in exile or in the new homeland; and what was the significance the emigrants had for Hamburg?
The thematic dossier aims to make extensive source material available as digital facsimiles and transcripts. Through the online presentation, sources are brought together virtually and made accessible to the interested public. Each source or source bundle is introduced by a short text: In addition to information on provenance and the history of transmission, the introductions explain the content and significance of the sources presented. They also include notes on access to the original sources as well as possible further sources.
The focus of this dossier is on the sources, some of which are being made accessible to the public for the first time. The sources presented are of different provenance, representing various actors and thus at the same time diverse perspectives on the thematic complex of remigration and return. In addition to the personal moments, political, legal, or administrative questions are also addressed. The contemporary documents are supplemented by retrospectives and memories that evaluate decisions in hindsight. In order to depict decision-making processes and developments in their complexity and make them comprehensible, we have decided to present the sources largely unabridged or to reproduce entire sets of sources. Without the cooperation with various archives, this dossier would not have been feasible. We would like to thank the archives of the Hamburg Institute for Social Research, the Hamburg State Archives, the Hamburg University Archives, and the Workshop of Memory (Werkstatt der Erinnerung) at the Research Centre for Contemporary History in Hamburg.
The material provided, which has been specially edited and tagged for this dossier, is supplemented by links to existing contributions in the Key Documents Edition. Martha Glass’ travel diaries are accompanied by a map that traces the stages of her travels and visits to Hamburg.
Notes on the editorial guidelines can be found here: https://keydocuments.net/about/edition
 Cf.: Ursula Büttner, “Schwierige Rückwanderung nach Hamburg. Wie Briten und Deutsche den jüdischen Flüchtlingen im Wege standen,” in: Irmela von der Lühe / Axel Schildt / Stefanie Schüler-Springorum (eds.), ‘Auch in Deutschland waren wir nicht wirklich zu Hause.’ Jüdische Remigration nach 1945, Göttingen 2008, Hamburger Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Juden 34, pp. 40–68, here: p. 66f. In Hamburg, those surviving in so-called mixed marriages made up almost 98 percent, cf.: Ina Lorenz, Gehen oder Bleiben. Neuanfang der Jüdischen Gemeinde in Hamburg nach 1945, Hamburg 2002, p. 19.
 Cf.: Ina Lorenz, Gehen oder Bleiben. Neuanfang der Jüdischen Gemeinde in Hamburg nach 1945, Hamburg 2002, p. 37.
 Cf. also Kirsten Heinsohn, “‘Aber es kommt auch darauf an, wie einen die anderen sehen.’ Jüdische Identifikation und Remigration,” in: Irmela von der Lühe / Axel Schildt / Stefanie Schüler-Springorum (eds.), ‘Auch in Deutschland waren wir nicht wirklich zu Hause.’ Jüdische Remigration nach 1945, Göttingen 2008, Hamburger Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Juden 34, pp. 69–85, here: p. 71.