The Restitution of the Banquet

– The Story of a Search

Oil paining in gold frame depicting a banquet

This oil sketch entitled Das Gastmahl der Familie Mosse (The Mosse Family Banquet) was restituted to the community of heirs of Felicia Lachmann-Mosse; Photo: Jewish Museum Berlin, Jens Ziehe.

Today is the International Holocaust Remembrance Day when we also remember the consequences of the criminal Nazi regime, which can still be felt today. One of these consequences is that a lot of museums are still holding cultural artifacts that were unlawfully confiscated from their owners during the Nazi era. Thus the Jewish Museum Berlin restored the oil sketch Das Gastmahl der Familie Mosse (The Mosse Family Banquet) to the heirs of Felicia Lachmann-Mosse in December last year. How was this decision reached? Provenance research has attracted increasing attention in recent years and caused frequent rumblings in the media – but how is it actually carried out?  continue reading


A Golem is Going Around Berlin

The golem, a character from Jewish mythology, is currently present in an interesting exhibition at the Jewish Museum Berlin. But not only there.

Photograph of men dancing with dancing female robots

Yves Gellie, Human Version 2.08, Dancing Robot, Tohoku University, Japan; photo: Yves Gellie, galerie du jour agnès b

Guest article by Roberto Giardina, www.ildeutschitalia.com

In the foyer of the Museum for Communication, three robots – reminiscent of chess figures – are roaming around. They talk to the people walking up to them, stop and take a different route if you block their way, or accompany you when you walk next to them. Adults are just as fascinated as children. A visit to Berlin museums is fun, and doesn’t necessarily require you to speak German.

After playing on the ground floor at the Museum for Communication, you can visit the special exhibition on the Golden Section and have your forgotten school knowledge entertainingly refreshed (the exhibition Göttlich Golden Genial (godly golden genius) runs until 26 February, more on the Museum for Communication website (in German)).

Robots are fun to play with, but they have been the stuff of nightmares since time immemorial – will they take our jobs away from us soon?  continue reading


Wire-frame Geese and Elevator Signs

Object Lessons on our Museum’s History

Young woman wearing blue gloves organizing old tags of staff members of the museum

Trainee Lisa Renner performing inventory; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: David Studniberg

I still remember my first day of work at the museum well, some months ago. Together with two new colleagues, I rode the elevator one floor down, we passed through two secured doors, and there we were: in the warehouse. There on two iron shelves towered bulging boxes and cartons as well as all kinds of objects — and with them, my job for the next eight months as an academic volunteer at the Jewish Museum Berlin: to set up a little special exhibition on the history of the museum itself.

Somewhat at a loss, I rummaged through a hodgepodge of exhibition papers, invitations, and photographs of people I didn’t know, and asked myself what a wire-frame goose on skateboard wheels or an old elevator sign were doing in a museum.  continue reading