Recommendation: “The First World War in Jewish Memory”-Exibition at Jüdisches Museum Berlin
Until November 16 you still have the chance to visit the Jewish Museum Berlin and see their special exhibition on “The First World War in Jewish Memory”. The exhibition focuses on the life of German-Jewish soldiers and their families during the war. Besides illustrations and photographs the exhibition also features “Crosses of Honor” (Ehrenkreuze) that were given to Jewish Germans as late as 1934.
We spoke with the curator of the exhibition, Leonore Maier.
Because of the centennial of the War there currently are many exhibitions focusing on the First World War. What makes your exhibition different from others?
Marking the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One, we show a representative cross-section of the rich holdings relating to the First World War from the Jewish Museum Berlin collections. On the one hand, we show works of Jewish artists such as Hermann Struck, Jacob Steinhardt, and Ernst Oppler, who were soldiers at the front and captured in particular their encounters with Eastern European Jews in drawings. On the other hand, most of the objects on display in the cabinet exhibition show the everyday life of war. These objects mainly derive from family collections that were donated to the museum and illustrate how memories of the war were kept alive in the families of Jewish veterans.
What is your favorite object in the exhibition?
The Pickelhaube helmet with cover and packaging, belonging to Dr. Max Litthauer (1865 – 1934), a Jewish doctor and medical consultant of Berlin, who directed a military hospital in Lille, France during the war.
What do you hope visitors learn from your exhibition?
“Good Germans and good Jews” – many Jews fought for Germany and demonstrated their patriotism in World War I. Caught in conflict between belonging and exclusion, the First World War provides a central reference point for German-Jewish commemorative culture.