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23 March to 15 July 2012 Jewish Migrants from Eastern Europe in the 1920s

David Koigen

View of Street
Mommsenstr. in 2012 © Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Gelia Eisert

Black-and-white photo of the family: mother, son, and father
Koigen family
Naturalization document, signed by the Prussian police commissioner
David Koigen’s naturalization document from 1927 © private collection of Mira Zakai, Israel—Helene und David Koigen’s granddaughter

Map showing the escape route from Kiev to Berlin
Escape route taken by the Koigen family © chezweitz and partner

Civil War and Pogroms:

World War I and the Russian Revolution of 1917 dramatically changed the political map of Europe. When the great multiethnic empires collapsed, Jews got caught between the fronts of the new nation-states. As a minority, they were often suspected of espionage.

During the Russian Civil War, the warring parties carried out around 1,500 pogroms at 1,300 sites on the territory of the present-day Ukraine. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed and half a million lost their homeland. They fled the cities and villages of both the Russian Empire and the Habsburg Monarchy, taking circuitous routes to Berlin.

Book cover with title and horsemen (including a skeleton on a horse)
David Koigen: Apocalyptic Horsemen: Notes from Recent Jewish History, 1925 (Erich Reiss Verlag Berlin, cover design by E. Peffer)

Underside of a silver bowl (with engraving)
Bowl dedicated to the Grunewald Group, from the private collection of Helene Koigen,
© Professor Mira Zakai, Givataim