Ronny Loewy,

10 April, 1946 – 9 August, 2012

Ronny Loewy with the director Louis Malle and Daniel Cohn-Bendit

Ronny Loewy (in the middle) with the director Louis Malle (r.) and Daniel Cohn-Bendit (l.) at the German premiere of “Au revoir les enfants,” 1987, courtesy of Gisela Geier-Loewy

On August 9 of last year, film historian Ronny Loewy died. He was a remarkable person and a friend of this museum, who supported and inspired our work from the beginning: it was Ronny who selected many of the film excerpts that appear in our permanent exhibition or appeared in the special exhibition “Home and Exile”. He also published, among other things, Tereska Torrès’s film diary Unerschrocken: Auf dem Weg nach Palästina (Unafraid: On the Way to Palestine) about the illegal emigration of Displaced Persons to Palestine in 1947 and 48. Ronny was a colleague and friend, with whom we not only worked but also shared many experiences and much laughter, who constantly opened our eyes to the new and unusual, the forgotten and overlooked, little details from films, and above all to the people behind these moving pictures.

We therefore wish to dedicate space on this blog today to remembering him and his life, one year after his death:  continue reading


Atheism and a Critique of Religion in a Children’s Book

During the week of October 21 to 27, 2013 the Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin, in cooperation with Kulturkind e.V., will host readings, workshops, and an open day for the public with the theme “Multifaceted: a book week on diversity in children’s and young adult literature.” Employees of various departments have been vigorously reading, discussing, and preparing a selection of books for the occasion. Some of these books will be introduced here over the course of the next few months.
Multifaceted books for children and young adults

In order to be able to recommend books, we had to choose a focus and select appropriate books. It was clear from the start that finding good books about migration and coexistence was important to us. And we also considered the meaning of religion as a topic. Interestingly, everyone in our reading group agreed that we should include books with Islamic themes as well as Jewish ones. At the beginning, we hesitated as to whether to add books about Christianity, but ultimately decided to select narrative children’s and young adult books that represent all three religions. And we hope to be able to recommend a number of them.

It was in this context that I came across the book, Wo bitte geht’s zu Gott?, fragte das kleine Ferkel (Which is the Way to God, Please? Little Piglet Asked) by Michael Schmidt-Salomon with pictures by Helge Nyncke.  continue reading


A Library Leaps Across the Street

We have been nudged, with some pizzazz, into a situation of good luck: at last we have an open-access library. After various construction delays, we finally had a date set to move. We were supposed to be transferring from our secluded rooms on the third floor of the Libeskind Building to the new Academy Building across the street from the museum, also built by Daniel Libeskind.

Book shelves in the back and a Reading Room sign in the front

Reading room of the library and the archive at the Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Mirjam Bitter

While some of us were directing the book-packers in the warehouse, others were confronting the question of how to set up this new reading room with open access. Visitors would at last be able to come and go without signing in. Missing shelf labels needed to be replaced with makeshift printouts from our classification system. Information about our opening hours had to be hung at the entrance. In addition, the transport needed to be organized of rare materials from the warehouse across the street to the new reading room. On top of all this, we could not lose track, in the midst of the moving boxes, of a set of packages containing an extensive new donation to our collection. When we finally opened our doors, we learned that there would be a press event:  continue reading