Library Profile

The international reputation of the library is anchored in its founding mission; it is considered the most important special library for the history of the National Socialist movement and dictatorship. However, the library's profile has long since evolved to encompass the entire German and European contemporary history in its international references.

The collection areas in detail:

German History from 1918

  • Weimar Republic
  • Nazi dictatorship
  • Germany under Allied occupation
  • Federal Republic of Germany (FRG)
  • German Democratic Republic (GDR)
  • Federal Republic of Germany from 1990

European History

  • Inter-war period
  • Post-war period
  • History of European integration
  • History of individual countries

History of International Relations

  • Inter-war period
  • Second World War (political history)
  • Post-war period
  • World politics since 1989/90
  • History of the superpowers

Thematic Focal Areas Include:

  • Political history and political systems
  • Legal and constitutional history
  • Economic and social history
  • Social and political movements
  • Extremism, violence, terrorism
  • Cultural and mentality history
  • Women’s and gender history
  • Culture of remembrance

The Collections are Supplemented by Selected Literature on Topics Including:

  • General history
  • History of the German Empire
  • First World War (political history)
  • Military history
  • Religion and church history
  • Art, literature, and music history
  • History of ideas
  • Philosophy of history
  • Theory and methods in historical studies
  • Political science
  • Sociology
  • Literary depictions

Contemporary writings and academic depictions are collected with similar focus. Publications from the period roughly between 1920 and 1950 are particularly well represented.


The collection of journals includes major international journals for general history as well as a large portion of journals for contemporary history from within Germany and around the world. Numerous German-language and several other journals for current politics are part of the collection as well. Of the approximately 300 journals of the ongoing collections, around 240 are systematized by content. An increasing number of electronically published journals are also included in the collection.



The library has increasingly added databases relevant to contemporary history for use on location at IfZ. A wealth of freely accessible databases, with content relevant to contemporary history, history, and politics, is also available via the database information system.