Posted by on 3. January 2013

What was the event of the year 2012 for you?

Employees of the Jewish Museum Berlin answer the question.

drawing of the logo of the paralympics“My public events of the year were the Olympic and the Paralympic Games in London. (An extra: black-striped cross-eyes the next morning.) There were incomparably more pictures of the Paralympics than ever before: the photos of people sprinting with artificial legs had a particular symbolic power for me: flying over hurdles!”
Ines Rösler, Collections
(editor’s note: Our blog posting for the 31. August 2012 was dedicated to Ludwig Guttmann, father of the Paralympics.)

“For me the discussion about the bestowal of the Adorno Prize on Judith Butler was the event of the year, because the verbal chasm between Butler’s style of argumentation and the colloquial style of the critics who questioned her worthiness to receive the prize deeply dismayed me. A few meals with friends during those late summer weeks threatened to turn into evenings of heated discussion, with all the charm of a plenary assembly for ASTA.”
Mirjam Wenzel, Media
(editor’s note: Four days after the Adorno Prize event, on 15. September 2012, a long-planned panel discussion with Judith drawing of the Good Friday Procession in PerpignanButler and Micha Brumlik discussed “Does Zionism Belong to Judaism?”)

“My event of 2012: the Good Friday procession in Perpignan with its bells and drums.”
Johannes Rinke, Visitor Services

The Gregorian calendar, according to which we are now counting the year 2013, begins on circumcisio domini, the day on which Jesus was circumcised. Last year, the act of circumcision was at the center of a political debate which discussed the relationship between non-Jewish Germans, German Jews and Muslims and Jews in Germany. The editors of the Jewish Museum’s website nominate the so-called circumcision debate as the event of the year 2012.

“One event of 2012 is still visible all over the city in 2013: The bancruptcy of the drugstore chain “Schlecker.” Empty store windows on every corner promising better quality of life in the neighborhood. But most will likely end up being storerooms for fitted kitchens.”
Martina Lüdicke, Exhibitions

Ludwig Guttmann, Father of the Paralympics: A Pioneer like Robert Koch, a Visionary like Coubertin

Just a few weeks ago in Stoke Mandeville, England, a large bronze statue was unveiled in honor of a Jewish physician from Breslau, who – despite his moving story, his pioneering efforts, and the international significance of his work in Germany – is virtually unknown here:

athlete racing in a wheelchair

Marc Schuh, wheelchair racer (medium distance), member of the German team at the London Paralympics, 2012 © Behinderten-Sportverband Berlin e.V.

Ludwig Guttmann, the father of the Paralympic Games that were opened in London on 29 August. More than two and a half million spectators will cheer on the over 4,000 athletes there. Guttmann is well-known in Britain, where he was awarded the Order of the British Empire and where the BBC made a film about him entitled “The Best of Men.”

Ludwig Guttmann was born to an orthodox Jewish family in Tost, Upper Silesia in 1899. He grew up in Chorzów, where he worked at the hospital for the first time with paraplegics. Following his medical training in Breslau and Freiburg, he specialized in the young field of neurosurgery from 1924 and was soon considered one of its leading doctors. After Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, Guttmann was no longer permitted to practice in a public hospital. Despite several offers from America, he stayed in Germany and took up a specialist post at the Jewish Hospital in Breslau where he later became director. When he learned of the violent excesses during the November Pogrom in 1938, he instructed his staff to admit all refugees to the hospital without examination. In spite of a Gestapo investigation at the hospital, he was able to save 60 Jewish citizens from arrest and deportation to a concentration camp.  continue reading

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