Posts Tagged ‘Berlin’

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Happy New Year

December 11, 2013
Berlin in December

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, December 2013

 

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Exhibit:”Radical Jewish Culture. The New York Music Scene Since the 1990s”

March 29, 2011

The Jewish Museum in Berlin is showing a new exhibit on the contemporary Jewish music scene in New York, from April 8 to July 24, 2011.

From the curators: “Radical Jewish Culture is an avant-garde Jewish music movement that developed in the New York underground scene at the beginning of the 1990s. Musicians such as John Zorn, David Krakauer, Marc Ribot, Anthony Coleman, and Frank London passionately explored the possibilities for a new form of Jewish music, emancipating themselves from conformity and inconspicuousness. Their music blended free jazz forms with klezmer improvisations, experimental music with rock, blues, and punk. The exhibition »Radical Jewish Culture« presents this music scene through audiovisual documents, lots of music samples, and primarily unpublished material.”

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Happy Chanukah

December 2, 2010

The leaders of Berlin’s Jewish community set up a 20-foot (six-meter) tall Chanukiah on Wednesday against the backdrop of one of Germany’s most historically important symbols, the Brandenburg Gate.

The newly elected president of Germany’s Council of Jews, Dieter Graumann, told the daily Tageszeitung that Germany’s aging Jewish community needs to attract younger people and ensure that the Holocaust “should not be the only cement holding Jews together.” The menorah is stationed next to a 56-foot (17-meter) high decorated Christmas tree erected last week.

The Jewish Telegraph Agency writes:

“It marks the sixth year that Chabad of Berlin, with the support of numerous Jewish organizations, has hosted a Chanukah first-night celebration at the Brandenburg Gate. In 2004, [Chabad’s Rabbi in Germany, Yehudah] Teichtal won permission from the German government, arguing that this would be an event of national importance worthy of such a location.

Sure enough, the image of rabbis dancing in front of the Chanukah menorah at the Brandenburg Gate appears in newspapers and on websites around the world. The message is clear: In Germany, the Jews live again.”

 

 

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Final Sale

November 29, 2010

The Leo Baeck Institute in New York will be showing a new exhibit, “Final Sale: The End of Jewish Owned Businesses in Nazi Berlin.”  The exhibit opens December 9 and will run through March 31, 2011 at the Katherine and Clifford Goldschmidt Gallery, Center for Jewish History.

“From 1933 on, Jewish businesses were under direct threat of Nazi persecution and “aryanization.” This culminated in the night of 9-10 November, 1938, when thousands of Jewish businesses were destroyed. By 1945, all Jewish businesses in Berlin had been liquidated or transferred to non-Jewish ownership. In response to increasingly hostile conditions, Jewish business owners developed a number of different strategies. Some tried to take judicial action against their persecutors. Others tried to build up foreign contracts in order to provide valuable foreign currency and secure an escape option. Many explicitly addressed the Jewish market for the first time. This exhibition illustrates the process by which Jews were disenfranchised and their livelihoods destroyed through the example of sixteen Berlin businesses.”

The exhibit originates at the Aktives Museum Faschismus und Wiederstand in Berlin e.V. in Berlin, were it was vandalized and reopened at the end of 2008 after it was temporary closed.

The museum is now showing the exhibit “Varian Fry: Berlin – Marseille – New York.”

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Hitler Exhibit in Berlin Draws Praise

October 23, 2010

Germany’s Central Council of Jews recently welcomed a new exhibition on Hitler and the Germans in Berlin  and warned against worrying parallels between the Nazi era and the current debate about integration in Germany.

Hitler and the Germans: Crime and the People’s Community opened on October 15 in the German Historical Museum in Berlin and runs through February 6, 2011. This is the first exhibit in Germany after the end of the war to focus exclusively on Hitler with the goal to explain the Nazi leader’s personality cult and how it affected the nation during his reign from 1933-45.

It took more than 10 years of planning to stage an exhibit of such nature that doesn’t conflict with the country’s strict laws against displaying Nazi paraphernalia in public. The exhibit curators have mounted more than 1,000 items, including photographs, artworks, uniforms, videos and narrative, to draw the connection between Hitler’s rise to power and the personal cult surrounding him. Approximately 10,000 people attended the opening weekend.

According to Stephan Kramer, the general secretary of the Central Council of Jews,

“The exhibition is going in the right direction, it is dealing seriously with the issue, and I don’t think there is a danger of any form of glorification. […] “The exhibition does not excuse Hitler, nor does it stylize or glorify him. […] The current debate about the integration of people of foreign backgrounds, particularly Islamic, into mainstream society in Germany, should moreover be viewed through the lens of this history. […] The exhibition does not excuse Germans for their role in Nazi Germany.”

The New York Times recently published a lengthy article on the exhibit, under the headline Hitler Exhibition Explores a Wider Circle of Guilt. The paper states,

“The planners began discussing this kind of show 10 years ago [and] an expert committee viewed it as part of a continuum of penance and awareness that historians say began with the Auschwitz trials. […] The exhibit, with all its photographs of young and old adoring Hitler, also sought to dispel the notion that the Nazi spirit was simply impossible to resist.”

 

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Sugar Cones and Bittersweet Memories

October 20, 2010

German-Jews in exile, who fled Germany to escape the Holocaust, shared many memories of their childhood. They remembered friends, the language spoken and the foods they ate. They remembered bullying, being cast aside, harassed or worse.

But childhood memories were also filled with warmth, of remembering a first day in school. German school children carry cardboard cones, filled with sweets and little treats, to their first day in school. The so-called Schultüten are a century-old tradition. There’s not a child in Germany, then or now, that has not carried his or her precious load to school.

That old tradition that unites all school children led to the idea to launch a unique remembrance project, initiated by Carolyn Naumann and co-organized by the Anne-Frank-Zentrum and the Humboldt University in Berlin:  “The sugar cone project” — a collection of photographs of  German Jewish schoolchildren just before they fled Nazi Germany into exile and their stories of life before the war. The idea for the project was born while Naumann accompanied German Jewish refugees on their federally funded visit to their hometown, Berlin, where they shared such childhood memories as standing side-by-side with their non-Jewish school friends, all proudly displaying their cones. (In the picture, the brochure of the project, showing Heinz Goldstein on the left with an unknown friend, ca. 1935, in the Jewish Elementary School Fasanenstrasse in Berlin).

The collection of pictures showing six-years-olds and their sugar cones — just before they were deemed unfit to stay (or were sent to their death) — can help school children of today understand the realities of that time, the brutality of daily struggles, when people were clinging to even a sliver of normalcy.

If you have photos of that time, showing Jewish schoolchildren with their sugar cones, or would like to share your story, please contact Carolyn Naumann, who is also searching for teachers that are interested in the project and would like to help.

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Exhibit About Slave Labor in Berlin

October 13, 2010

The Jewish Museum in Berlin is showing the exhibition “Zwangsarbeit” (Forced Labor: The Germans, the Forced Laborers, and the War). The exhibit is open until January 30, 2011.

In Germany during World War II, forced laborers were exploited on nearly every building site and farm, in every industrial enterprise, and even in private households. Over 20 million men, women, and children were taken to Germany and the occupied territories from all over Europe as “foreign workers,” prisoners of war, and concentration camp inmates to perform forced labor.

The exhibition “Forced Labor. The Germans, the Forced Laborers, and the War” provides the first comprehensive presentation of the history of forced labor and its ramifications after 1945. The historical exhibits and photographs explore the relationship – defined by racism – between Germans and forced laborers, offering insight into its many varying manifestations.