“Faith isn’t something you can see from the outside.”

A Visit with Sister Katharina at Karmel Berlin

Transparent bust wearing a black veil.

Sister Katharina donated this veil to us for our exhibition; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Katharina Erbe.

Covering one’s head has almost entirely disappeared from Christian women’s devotional practice. In Germany, you only actually see veils on the sisters of Catholic religious orders. In preparing for the exhibition Cherchez la femme (more about it on our website) we all agreed early on that we wanted a nun’s veil.

So I set out for Karmel Regina Martyrum in the northern part of Berlin’s Charlottenburg district, a convent of Discalced (or Barefoot) Carmelites. The convent’s wardrobe mistress, Sister Katharina, greeted me at the door. After some discussion, her view on the matter emerged as fairly sober: some people may ascribe specific spiritual meaning to certain items of clothing but it was very personal issue. In any one community you can meet with a wide variety of attitudes and practices.

Our conversation about the meaning of their religious dress began with Sister Katharina sharing an anecdote:  continue reading


Horror and Magic in the Silent Golem Movies

Scene: the golem looks at a half-lying dancer

In the light comedy The Golem and the Dancing Girl from 1917, Paul Wegener satirizes his own 1915 film The Golem; photo: Deutsches Filminstitut, Frankfurt a. M./estate Paul Wegener – collection Kai Möller

In January of 1915 the figure of a golem appeared for the first time on the silver screen, on Berlin’s Kurfürstendamm. The public was captivated by a truly modern monster. At the same time, southeast of the Belgian city of Ypres battles of the First World War were raging. Following on the heels of this first silent golem movie came two more in 1917 and 1920, also debuting in Berlin. The lead role of the golem was played in all of them by Paul Wegener, who had also come up with the idea for the projects and written the screenplays.

In the current exhibition GOLEM (more on www.jmberlin.de/en/golem), a theme room has been dedicated to these three silent movies.  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