When a Certificate Was Not Only a Piece of Paper

– How Jewish Memory Objects Preserve Chinese History

One of the elegantly designed Chinese marriage certificates described later on in the text

Chinese marriage certificate for Irma Bielschowsky (1902–2000) and Albert Elias Less (1887–1952), 1944; Jewish Museum Berlin, gift of Gert and Brigitte Stroetzel

I recently shared my view on several objects from Shanghai in the museum’s collection on this blog. Now, I want to draw your attention to a few marriage certificates that caught my eye not just because of their elegant design and well-preserved condition after more than 70 years, but also because I was amazed how Chinese cultural elements had entered and influenced the life of Jews who fled the Nazi rule, even though the Jews largely maintained their own cultural and educational activities in Shanghai with newspapers, Jewish schools, concerts, sport activities, theaters (e.g. Delila, Nathan der Weise, etc.), and parties (e.g. a not so sober celebration of Purim).  continue reading


Israelis in Germany – Ideological Debates and Changing Identities

Three Question for Anthropologists Dr. Dani Kranz and Katja Harbi

A man with woolen hat and warm jacket in front of a graffiti

Photo: Katja Harbi

Our Academy programs regularly introduce new scholarship examining contemporary issues of migration and diversity. On May 4, University of Wuppertal anthropologists Dr. Dani Kranz and Katja Harbi will be presenting the results of the study they conducted, entitled Israeli Migration to Germany since 1990, with a lecture and show of photographs at the Jewish Museum Berlin. The research was largely about these immigrants’ identities and the significance of the Shoah for their lives in Germany, as well as the political and ideological debates occurring around them in Israel and Germany. We put three questions to the two anthropologists in advance of their presentation:  continue reading


Friends Sixteen Times Removed and a Camel on a World Tour

A Visit to the Photographer and Architect Birgit Glatzel

Birgit Glatzel with her Rolleiflex camera on her balcony

Birgit Glatzel with her Rolleiflex camera; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Mariette Franz

It’s a warm summer’s day when I visit Birgit Glatzel in Prenzlauer Berg, the same kind of day it must have been when she shot her photograph “Angela and Me,” which, like her short film “Going to Jerusalem,” has been available in our art vending machine since April (more information on our website).

“Angela and Me” is part of a series in which the artist portrays herself with a friend in self-timed pictures. All the photographs are taken with a 1937 Rolleiflex camera, and the location and backdrop are always chosen together with the friend in question. Birgit embarked upon the project shortly before her emigration to Israel in 2007 – she wanted to take photos to remember her friends in Germany. “Memories play an important role in Judaism, for example an original piece is always left in a newly refurbished apartment,” explained the artist, who trained as an architect and works as such to earn her living.  continue reading