A Clock Made of Clay and Cocoa in a Pot of Feathers

Orange glazed clock with black numerals

Clock, designed by Greta Heimann-Loebenstein.
Gift from the heirs of Greta Heimann-Loebenstein.
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Nadja Rentzsch

“I chose this clock,” says Leonie* (8 years old) pointing to the showcase. The clock is red and the numbers look a bit strange. She laughs. “A clay clock!” She’s never seen anything like it. The children study the cups, pots, and vases in the big cabinet intently. They gaze, curiously, at the shapes, colors, and designs. They’re supposed to pick the object they like best. Then they’ll learn the name of the ceramicist who made it, its purpose and appearance.

A girl looking at a showcase with ceramic objects

Children’s tour through the cabinet exhibition “Tonalities. Jewish Women Ceramicists from Germany after 1933”
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Nadja Rentzsch

Jona (7) exclaims: “I like this bowl best. Grete made it.” “I think that design is lovely. What would you put in the bowl?” Anna (43) asks him.

Anna is guiding the children from a Berlin elementary school through the cabinet exhibition “Tonalities. Jewish Women Ceramicists from Germany after 1933.”  Without hesitating, Jona answers: “Apples or bananas, or even nuts.” “Maybe even pears, or bread!” calls out Elsa (8).

A girl cutting out something from a cardboard

Workshop at the studio in the Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Nadja Rentzsch

Her favorite object is a candlestick. It’s beige and was made by the ceramicist Hanna. Anna asks the class, “Do you all know what celebration this candlestick would be used for?” Leonie’s hand flies up; she knows the answer: Hanukkah. She has just participated in a candle-dipping workshop for the Jewish Festival of Lights in December.

After the tour, the children start working on their own projects.  continue reading


“That Was Not Our Germany”

Fred Stein was only twenty-four years old when he had to flee Germany in 1933. A rabbi’s son and member of the Socialist Workers’ Party, he had studied law and hoped to work as an attorney, defending people’s rights. When he learned by chance that the Gestapo was planning to arrest him, he and his wife Lilo fled to Paris under the pretext of taking a honeymoon trip. In exile, the young couple was obliged to rethink its future.

Fred Stein, behind him signs saying "Welcome to Berlin" (in German)

Fred Stein, Berlin 1958
© Estate of Fred Stein

A Leica camera, the wedding present they had bought for themselves, proved to be the key to a new career. Fred Stein began taking photographs: street scenes in downtown Paris and portraits of celebrities, many of whom were German emigrants. In 1941 Fred and Lilo Stein, who by then had a little daughter, managed to flee a second time. They reached New York on one of the last ships out. There, Fred Stein once again devoted himself to shooting portraits and street scenes.

In 1958 Fred Stein returned to Germany for the first time in twenty-five years. He was prompted to do so by Will Grohmann’s planned publication of the book Deutsche Porträts [German Portraits]. Fred Stein was commissioned to photograph Konrad Adenauer, Heinrich Lübke, Ludwig Erhard, and other politicians, as well as artists, authors, and publishers, such as the young Axel Springer, or Rudolf Augstein. Yet apparently, many a German head he portrayed for the book posed a dilemma for him.  continue reading


The story of Uri Kozower

Photo of Gisela and Phillip Kozower with their baby in 1932

Gisela and Philipp Kozower with their daughter Eva in August of 1932
© Friends of the Jewish Museum New York, Princeton; photographer: unknown, donated by Klaus M. Zwilsky

Lawyer Philipp Kozower was 37 when he married the 23-year-old medical student Gisela in 1931. A year later she gave birth to their first child, a daughter called Eva. The new parents had their picture taken with their baby in Berlin’s Monbijou Park: wearing a bright dress and straw hat, Gisela holds the baby towards the camera somewhat awkwardly, as if the picture should document that Eva exists.

By the time Eva’s sister Alice was born in 1934, the National Socialists had already enacted numerous laws against Jews as well as taken measures to exclude them from public life. Our online project “1933: The beginning of the end of German Jewry” presents a variety of source materials from the Jewish Museum Berlin’s archives that bear witness to the disenfranchisement of German Jews. A display case with photographs and letters in our permanent exhibition details the Kozower family’s story:  continue reading