"Dem Deutschen Volke" (To the German People)
The Story of the Loevy Bronze Foundry from Berlin
Everyone knows the inscription "Dem Deutschen Volke" on the Reichstag building, but few know its history. It was mounted on the western facade in 1916 more than 20 years after the completion of the building in 1894. The company S. A. Loevy - one of the most renowned bronze foundries of the time - was commissioned to cast the inscription.
In its temporary exhibition, the Jewish Museum Berlin told the story of the bronze-foundry-family Loevy spanning four generations: its ascent to bourgeoisie, its futile attempts at being regarded as equal Germans, and its fate after 1933 when numerous family members were persecuted, murdered, or forced to emigrate. These include Leo Kopf, composer and choral conductor in several Berlin synagogues, and Erich Gloeden who was sentenced to death by the Volksgerichtshof (People's Court) in 1944 for hiding a General involved in an attempt to assassinate Hitler.
The exhibition also presented the entrepreneurial and artistic achievements of the company. Founded in 1855, S. A. Loevy received commissions for numerous prominent buildings, among them the German Embassy in St. Petersburg. From 1923 onwards he was also commissioned by Walter Gropius to produce the famous Gropius door handle - a design icon of the 20th century. Traces of the company - forgotten since 1933 - can still be found in numerous buildings in Berlin.
21 March 2003 - 15 July 2003
Accompanying the exhibition, we published a book of essays by Michael S. Cullen, Joachim Schlör, Armin D. Steuer, Harald Wetzel, and Raymond Wolff and a catalogue on CD-ROM.