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The First World War in Jewish Memory

Cabinet Exhibition

Exhibition Trailer© Jewish Museum Berlin

Caught in conflict between belonging and exclusion, the First World War provides a central reference point for German-Jewish commemorative culture. Marking the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One, we show a representative cross-section of the rich holdings on this subject from the Jewish Museum Berlin collections.

Drawing of a half-naked woman with her hand on her forehead in front of grave stones

Max Liebermann: "The 10,000 Jewish soldiers who fell at the front," charcoal, pencil, paper, around 1923
© Jewish Museum Berlin, donated by Dr. Walter and Hadassah Schwarz, photo: Jens Ziehe

Rows of seats in a theater occupied by men in German uniform

Seder table of Jewish soldiers in World War One, Jelgava, 6 April 1917
© Jewish Museum Berlin, donated by Lore Emanuel, photo: Jens Ziehe

Etching of people in a synagogue in mount with signature

Ernst Oppler (1867-1929): Great Synagogue in Munkacz, etching, around 1915
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jens Ziehe

Cigarette case with the inscription “The DUKE OF EDINBURGH is now called Flaggengala”

Garbáty cigarette box for the brand "Flaggengala," Berlin 1914-1918
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jens Ziehe

Award certificate of the Iron Cross, Second Class “for bravery in the face of the enemy”

Award certificate for the Iron Cross, Second Class for Willy Stern (born 1891), award date: 15 January 1915
© Jewish Museum Berlin, donated by Marian Stadelman

Iron Crosses and other medals

Orders, decorations, and emblems of Julius Fliess (1876-1955) from the First World War
© Jewish Museum Berlin, donated by Dorothee Fliess, photo: Jens Ziehe

Orders, decorations, and emblems of Julius Fliess (1876-1955) from the First World War
© Jewish Museum Berlin, donated by Dorothee Fliess, photo: Jens Ziehe

Of particular importance in this context are the works of Jewish artists such as Hermann Struck, Jacob Steinhardt, and Ernst Oppler, who were soldiers at the front and captured in particular their encounters with Eastern European Jews in drawings.


3 July - 16 November 2014


Libeskind Building, basement, Rafael Roth Learning Center


with the museum ticket (8 euros, reduced rate 3 euros)

Most of the objects on display in the cabinet exhibition, by contrast, show the everyday life of war – military documents, letters, photographs, diaries, medals, and private sketchbooks. They were given to the museum as private donations and are part of family bequests. The stories of the descendants and benefactors are part of the history of these objects. Shaped by the subsequent collapse of civilization, they testify to how participation in the First World War was remembered by emigrants and surviving families.

Recollections of War
Screenshot of the page Online-Showcase

Screenshot Online-Showcase
© Jewish Museum Berlin

The collections of the Jewish Museum Berlin contain numerous artifacts related to the First World War. What was its meaning in German-Jewish commemorative culture? How was the war represented at the time? And how did future generations hear about it? Curators of the collections and the archive address these and other questions. Find the answers in one of the eight short movies in our Online-Showcase.

Program Accompanying the Exhibition
3 September 2014, 7.30 pm
Forgotten Soldiers?
German Jews and the Legacies of the Great War
Lecture by Tim Grady (in English)

Public memory of the sacrifice of German-Jewish soldiers in the Great War has been gradually subsumed into the much greater catastrophe of the Holocaust. Tim Grady’s studies focus on the multifaceted ways in which these Jewish soldiers have been remembered and forgotten from 1914 through the Cold War.
Tim Grady is an historian of modern European and German history at the University of Chester.

More information on the event ...

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