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The Ury Department Store


Shopping window with folded laundry, February 1930
© Jewish Museum Berlin

Ury was the first department store in Leipzig. It was founded by the brothers Moritz and Julius Ury on 24 March 1896. Innovative ideas, modest prices, a good selection, and excellent service led to great success. Comprehensive reconstruction resulted in a magnificent six-storey building around a courtyard in 1913/14. The original range of notions, linen, and woollen goods was expanded considerably.

The department store was a very attractive workplace, as the Ury brothers looked after their staff well from the outset. There was a staff library, a training center and obligatory training courses were organized for young employees, who had access to all the necessary materials free of charge. Furthermore, a foundation fund existed for staff in financial difficulty and every employee received a savings account book after five years of employment. Annual vacation with full pay was three weeks as early as 1913.

The "White Weeks"
The photograph shows a night shot of the front of the Ury department store during the "White Weeks" in February 1930. During this sales campaign founded by the businessman Hermann Tietz in 1901, the prices of underwear and other white articles were reduced in a bargain sale. Outdoor electric lights, illuminated advertisements, and elaborate shop window designs bathed department stores in radiant white from inside and out during the "White Weeks."

Demise
In 1938 as a result of "Aryanization," the Ury department store was turned into a fabric trade fair hall with a wholesale flower market and a tax authority office, owned by Leipzig’s government office responsible for trade fairs.
The founders Moritz and Julius Ury were forced to resign from their business in 1937. The building was destroyed in December 1943.

Object Details:
The Ury department store in Leipzig during the "White Weeks"
02.1930
Silver gelatine print on baryt paper
16,2 x 22,2, cm

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