Challah and Comfortable Shoes: A Year of Civil Service at the Jewish Museum Berlin

Janik Petersdorff in front of the W.M. Blumenthal Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin

Going to work; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Anne Richter

Finally finished with school and no idea what next? Perhaps a year abroad or right to university? Or a traineeship? I was asking myself these questions when I graduated high school. Given my interest in Berlin’s museums and cultural and social work, it made sense to gain experience in these fields during a year of civil service. The Jewish Museum Berlin wasn’t actually my first choice; I applied for and was invited to an interview at the Archäologisches Zentrum (Berlin State Archeology Center), which matched my particular interest in ancient Egyptian history. I was therefore extremely disappointed when I was declined. Additional offers were slow to materialize.  continue reading


Towards an Online Platform for Jewish History and Culture

The mid-term online strategy of the Jewish Museum Berlin

photo of a workshop at we are museums 2014

At a wearemuseum’s workshop in Warschau 2014 CC-BY-SA wearemuseums

At the moment, the conference “we are museums” is taking place in the rooms of our Academy. I have been working for days on my keynote lecture in which I take stock of recent developments at our museum. It is almost two years to the day since my colleagues and I first sat down together to discuss the web presence then in place and the cornerstones of its renewal. For while our online activities had been steadily expanding and diversifying, external assessment and target group evaluation revealed that visitors were finding it increasingly difficult to navigate our website. So it was evidently high time to  continue reading


“A symbol of hope and brotherly love”

An extraordinary gift

Golden pendant with the depiction of a women’s head

Medallion with the image of a saint © Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jörg Waßmer, gift of Fred Kranz

Last week, museum benefactor Fred Kranz accepted our invitation to participate in two workshops in our archives. He met with two classes of schoolchildren, one from Döbeln in Saxony and the other from Berlin’s Tegel district. It was the fifth time in recent years that Mr. Kranz – who was born in Berlin in 1938 – came back from the USA to speak to students and their parents about his life. The Kranz family, which consisted of Fred and his parents, survived the war living on a farm that belonged to a former employee of his father, in the village of Kallinchen on Motzener See (Lake Motzen) in Brandenburg.

In 2004, Fred Kranz donated a collection of documents and photographs to the museum that provide an impressive record of Jewish life in the years immediately following the war. During his most recent visit, he gave us a very special – a truly unique – object. Here is the story of this piece, in his words:  continue reading