No Revolvers in the Jewish Museum

drawing of a Revolver“Weapons and Dignity” is the title of the chronicle of an object in the recently published 25th anniversary brochure of the German Historical Museum. It is about a revolver that was offered as a donation to the Jewish Museum, met with great interest there, but finally found its way into the collection of the German Historical Museum. Why?

The story: a woman in Berlin during the National Socialist era, fearing for her life because she was ‘half-Jewish,’ obtained a revolver so that, should she be threatened with deportation, she could end her life instead. She survived the era of persecution and kept the revolver as a souvenir, eventually giving it to a neighbor. He in turn made contact with the Museum when he was to be required by changes in the law regulating weapons possession to register the weapon or surrender it to authorities. For an institution like the Jewish Museum Berlin, where biographical narratives play an important role in the collections and in the permanent exhibition, this revolver would have been a very welcome ‘strong’ object, given the immediacy of its provenance.  continue reading


lace plate-mats

Two doilies from the Plesch family household, from the first half of the 20th century, given by Janos and Melanie Plesch in memory of Prof. Dr. Peter H. Plesch.

You can often find a number of Jewish Museum employees in the lunchtime crowd at the canteen of the European Patent Office at Hallesches Tor in Berlin. The food there is excellent; the noise, on the other hand, is excessive: rattling silverware, clattering dishes, and the voices of diners whirring together into one great drone.

In the dining room of the Berliner doctor family Plesch such a hubbub would have been unthinkable. Their secret: clatter-doilies.  continue reading