Moving Encounters

Photograph: A boy on a bull

Walter Brill on a bull in the town of Herzebrock, ca. 1913
© Jewish Museum Berlin, courtesy of Brill Family Archives

I first met Ralph Brill at the Jewish Museum Berlin in 2009. He was accompanying a donor, and it was only incidentally that I learned of his own interesting family history. Some months later he sent me copies of family photographs and documents, and I immediately realized that this impressive material was of historical importance. We were in frequent contact since then. In early 2013 Ralph Brill decided to donate all of his family holdings to the Jewish Museum Berlin. It was a most memorable day in May, when he visited Berlin with his children, Micah, Loren and Wade. The three young Brills had just obtained German citizenship, in addition to their American nationality. Present legislation assures this option to all, whose lives were affected by National Socialist persecution, as well as their descendants. The trip to Berlin was motivated by Micah, Loren and Wade’s interest in learning about their ancestors. It was the first time any of the three had set foot on German soil.  continue reading


Virtually Every Form of Human Coexistence

During the week of 21 to 27 October 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 have already been introduced here over the course of the last weeks.
Multifaceted books for children and young adultsWhen my little 6-year-old daughter said to me, “you know, Mama, being gay seems strange to me,” I didn’t discuss it with her for too long. Instead I headed out and bought a copy of Alles Familie! Vom Kind der neuen Freundin vom Bruder von Papas früherer Frau und anderen Verwandten (All in the Family! About Daddy’s ex-wife’s brother’s new girlfriend’s kid and other relatives) since nothing is strange in this book. Every form of cohabitation that people engage in is introduced completely impartially:  continue reading


Half a Birthday, Double the Joy

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
Why celebrate a half-birthday? Because no one can wait till Oscar’s first real birthday, that’s why!

Book cover with little Oscar and a birthday cakeOscar is the little hero of the 2005 illustrated children’s book Oscar’s Half Birthday by Bob Graham. So, since no one can wait, Oscar’s mother, father, and sister Lilli – with fairy wings on her back and a dinosaur doll in her hand – prepare a picnic and take Oscar and their dog Boris to the park. On the way there they watch cars from a pedestrian overpass, wait for the eleven-fifteen train on a downstairs platform, and listen to the wind move through the treetops in the forest.  continue reading