Return of the Café Nagler

On the trail of a coffee shop

It was a very special moment for me when I got to unpack recently a new collection for the Archive. A small package from Tel Aviv lay in front of me. The sender was Mor Kaplansky, an Israeli film-maker, with whom I had been corresponding since spring of this year.

Jörg Waßmer presenting a phototograph of the former Café Nagler

Unpacking the collection of the Family Nagler; Jewish Museum Berlin; photo: Ulrike Neuwirth

It had all begun in March, at the finissage of Nosh, the Jewish Food Week. In a small café in Kreuzberg, the documentary film Café Nagler had just been shown. The film is about a coffee shop of that name, which had once stood on the Moritzplatz. While in Berlin today, there is no evidence that the café ever existed at the site, descendants of the Naglers in Israel have kept its memory alive right through the present day. The film moved me greatly. I was excited to see on the screen that Naomi, grandmother of the film-maker, had preserved certain treasures such as a coffee service with the emblem of the café and a set of silverware bearing the initials “N”. I also noticed various photographs and documents.

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“And next Sunday, no one will be thinking of the election anymore”

The 1930 German Federal Election

Black-and-white photograph of a man wearing a suit and glasses reading a newspaper while sitting at a table

Heinz Arzt reading the newspaper, 1920; Jewish Museum Berlin, gift of Hilde Pearton, née Bialostotzky

Recently I was leafing through the inventory listing of a family collection that has been in our archives for many years. I wanted to rework the index in order to bring it up to our current standards. The collection included documents, photographs, and objects from the Arzt and Bialostotzky families. In the twenty-three page inventory, a letter was listed for the Berlin liqueur manufacturer Heinz Arzt (1866–1931) in the category “correspondence,” but neither a sender nor recipient was listed, to say nothing of its contents. The extremely brief description went: “Letter: hand-written, 14 Sept. 1930.”

So I went into the archives and pulled the document numbered 2001/219/28 from box 451 to complete the listing. Suddenly, I was holding a fascinating piece of history in my hands: the so-called letter turned out to be a brief report on the Reichstag election eighty-seven years ago.  continue reading

Exhibition Tip: Shalom. 3 Photographers Look at Germany

Readers of our blog may be interested to learn that from 5 May to 3 September, the Museum in the Kulturbrauerei is hosting the exhibition Shalom. 3 Photographers Look at Germany. Holger Biermann | Rafael Herlich | Benyamin Reich. Here is a snippet from the exhibition announcement:

A kosher food store in Berlin, a rabbi’s family with a new-born, police officers standing guard at a Frankfurt synagogue – scenes from everyday Jewish life in Germany. These photographs by Holger Biermann, Rafael Herlich and Benyamin Reich from 2000 to 2015 document Jewish life and culture from different perspectives – not only showing children in a Talmud School or practicing Jews celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, but also anti- Semitic graffiti daubed on a synagogue.

The exhibition encourages visitors to engage with the question: How far is Jewish life taken for granted as a normal part of German society 70 years after the Shoah?

Opening times: Tues-Sun 10 am–6 pm, Thurs 10 am–8 pm
Free admission

More information, on supplementary offerings for example, can be found on the website of the Museum in the Kulturbrauerei (in German).