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Brave Protest against Racist Laws

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Martin Friedländer, a 29-year-old textile wholesaler from Berlin, hung this flag out of the window of his apartment at Linienstrasse 196 on 1 October 1935, the Jewish New Year festival of Rosh Hashanah, taking a bold stand against the racist Nuremberg Laws.

Blue-and-white flag with a Star of David on a blue background

Flag with Star of David; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jens Ziehe

The Blue and White Flag, an Emblem of Resistance

The passing of the Nuremberg Laws on 15 September 1935 made Jews in Germany second-class citizens. One of their provisions forbade Jews from hoisting the Reich flag, whereas "displaying Jewish colors" was explicitly permitted. In protest, Martin Friedländer had a Star of David sewn on this blue and white flag. Blue and white were the traditional colors of Zionism, the Jewish national movement that aimed to establish a Jewish state.

Response in the Nazi Press

A photographer from the Nazi hate sheet Der Angriff took a picture of the house. The accompanying article commented derisively: "On this day, a Jewish holiday, the Jewish national flag was displayed for the first time at a house in northern Berlin. The colors are blue and white with a six-pointed star. This finally puts an end to the speculation on how the Jewish flag actually looks."

Emigration to Australia

Martin Friedländer managed to emigrate to Australia in June 1939. His flag was in his luggage. In his new home country, he changed his name to Fried-Lander. He married an Australian and ran an import business with her until 1966. In 1980, Martin Fried-Lander donated the flag to the Jewish department of the Berlin Museum, the predecessor of the Jewish Museum Berlin.

Title Flag with Star of David
Collection Material Culture
Location and year of origin Berlin, 1935
Medium Cotton
Dimensions 115 x 90,5 cm
Acquisition Gift of Martin Fried-Lander
Rosh Hashanah

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Nuremberg Laws

The Nuremberg Laws were passed at the Nazi Party Convention in 1935. The two “race laws” (the Law for the Protection of German Blood and the Reich Citizenship Law) excluded Jews from Reich citizenship and treated them as foreigners by law. The laws also prohibited marriage and extramarital intercourse between Jews and non-Jews.

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This Jewish national movement emerged in the late nineteenth century in Europe. It advocated Jewish settlement in Palestine with the goal of an independent Jewish state. The State of Israel was founded in 1948.

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Selected Objects: Material Culture Collection (10)

Material Culture Collection

Our objects from material culture recount Jewish life stories from Germany, attesting to athletic achievements, weddings, professional and military careers, but also disenfranchisement, persecution, and emigration.

Flag with the Star of David

In 1935, Martin Friedländer hung a blue and white flag from his window, making a confident statement against the racist Nuremberg Laws.

Frieda Neuber's Leather Pouch

Shortly before being deported to Theresienstadt, Frieder Neuber gave this leather pouch to her niece. The letters inside it document her desperate attempts to leave the country.

Memmelsdorf Genizah

In February 2002, workers renovating a house discovered a burlap sack filled with papers and personal items when they opened up a section of the ceiling. The house had been owned by Jews from 1775 to 1939.

Model of the Cargo Steamer Max

The Hamburg shipowner Arnold Bernstein received this model of his first ship in 1929 as a gift for his company's tenth anniversary. Eight years later, his career ended abruptly. He was detained and only managed to escape Germany at the last minute.

Dr. Oscar Hirschberg's Office Signs

A total of seven office signs used by Dr. Oscar Hirschberg document both his career as a practicing physician and the political changes and antisemitic exclusion during the period of Nazi rule.

Challenge Trophy from the Oberspree Jewish Rowing Club

The member of the Oberspree Jewish rowing club who logged the most kilometers in the water over the course of a year was awarded a challenge trophy. Fred Eisenberg won the award three years in a row.

Stamping Hammer, Invented by Gustav Maletzki

This stamping hammer, made around 1930, is one of the patented inventions for which the apparel furrier earned several awards. In 1938, Gustav Maletzki was forced to escape Germany and brought the hammer to exile in Bolivia.

The Sommerfelds’ Thirty-One Keys

Thirty-one keys – that's all that remains of the luggage the Sommerfeld family took with them when they emigrated from Berlin. They only managed to leave for England at the very last minute – just before the Second World War broke out.

Max Haller's Collection of Medals

Max Haller fought in the First World War for the Imperial German Navy. When SA members threatened him during the April Boycott of 1933, he pointedly placed a velvet cushion with his military distinctions in the shop window.

Cardboard Key for the Korants’ Wedding

Margarete Apt and Georg Korant received an unusual gift for their wedding on 4 October 1903 in Breslau. The dark brown key is made of cardboard and can be opened.