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Contemporary History Collection

The Contemporary History collection was established in 2015 to document Jewish life in Germany from 1945 to the present.

Thematic Focal Points

Thematically it covers the history of displaced persons in occupied Germany, the rebuilding of Jewish communities and institutions in East and West Germany, the immigration of Russian Jews to reunified Germany, and Berlin's appeal for young Israelis today. Further emphases include the complex history of German–Jewish relations after the Shoah and the portrayal of Jews and the State of Israel in various media.

Personal Items and Historical Events

Objects and documents that are linked to the history of individuals and families or tell historical events from a personal perspective are of particular interest for our collection. We also document Jewish organizations and special occasions such as rallies, sporting events, and other events in individual communities.

Displaced Person

The term "displaced person" (DP) describes people who after the Second World War, and because of it, resided outside of their homeland and could not return or settle in another land without help.
More on Wikipedia

Private Films and Videos

Another focal point is building up holdings of amateur films and videos. These are an important audiovisual legacy and an asset to both exhibitions and cultural history research. Private film and video footage provides valuable glimpses into everyday Jewish life as well as regional and family religious traditions from past decades.

Objects from Our Museum’s History

The foundation and development of our own institution can also be illustrated using objects of contemporary history such as gifts from visitors, staff ID cards, and architectural models. This collection grows on an ongoing basis.

Help Us Out!

Since this collection is still being developed, we would greatly appreciate your bequests or donations of relevant objects!

Contact

Tamar Lewinsky
Curator of Contemporary History
T +49 (0)30 259 93 458
t.lewinsky@jmberlin.de

Address

Jewish Museum Berlin
Lindenstraße 9–14
10969 Berlin

How can I conduct research using the museum’s archive, collections, and library?

Our Reading Room is open to the public. You can also research using our library’s holdings and some of our collection’s holdings online. To view additional holdings, please contact the responsible curators.

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I would like to depict or borrow an object from your collections. Who should I contact?

Your contacts for photo permissions are Valeska Wolfgram and Birgit Maurer-Porat (T +49 (0)30 259 93 433, email: fotodoku@jmberlin.de). Loan requests must be made at least six months in advance. For questions regarding administrative processes, please contact Katrin Strube (T +49 (0)30 259 93 417, email: k.strube@jmberlin.de).

View full answer

How can I conduct research using the museum’s archive, collections, and library?

Our Reading Room is open to the public. You can also research using our library’s holdings and some of our collection’s holdings online. To view additional holdings, please contact the responsible curators.

View full answer

Contemporary History

Objects of contemporary history in our online collections (in German)

Online Collections

A boy in a dark suit and tie stands next to a toy ark made of wood. A rotunda is visible in the background.

Bar Mitzvah Ark

Learn more about the wooden ark on display in front of our library

Online Feature
2022

mask with glued-on dreidel made from beads

Masks? Cool!

Submissions from a mask contest donated by the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation

Photo Project
2022

A man, a child and a woman sitting in front of a laptop

First Family Self-Portrait during Passover

Tamar Lewinsky talks with the artist who submitted the photo for our collection

Interview
2021

On a wooden table there are various glasses, plates with dishes, bowls and an open book. On a plate lies an orange. Behind the table there is a laptop on a cardboard box, in which a video call can be seen.

Passover in Times of Corona

How did you celebrate in 2020 and what was different in 2021? Explore the submissions so far and contribute to our collection yourself!

Contemporary History Collection
2020/21

Four people standing next to each other

Four Questions

Short Films by Yael Reuveny about Jewish Life in Germany

Video Project
2020

Several people are sitting around a table on which memorabilia and a recording device are lying.

Object Days

Memorabilia and migration stories – portraits of Jews living in Germany

Photo Project
2017

Wire-frame Geese and Elevator Signs

Object Lessons on our Museum’s History by Lisa-Maria Renner

Blog
2016

Men hold Torah scrolls in their hands.

Rededication of the Synagogue at the Jewish Hospital

From our Holdings

Employee ID with photo and stamps

“Service Card!”

Rabbi Martin Riesenburger worked as a prison chaplain during the Cold War

From our Holdings

A man in costume.

Hugo Spiegel as Champion Shot

A photograph by Leonard Freed

From our Holdings

View of a living room model

Our Collections

Areas of interest and subject matter

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The History of the Jewish Museum Berlin

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After 1945

Cover in a foreign country.

In a Foreign Country

Companion booklet to the exhibition about literature from DP camps, downloadable PDF

Online Publication
2015

A banana with the peel removed at the tip.

Snip it!

The exhibition about stances on ritual circumcision also addressed the debate in Germany after the Cologne court ruling of 2012

Exhibition
24 Oct 2014 to 1 Mar 2015

Seven consecutively numbered kitchen stoves are crowded together in a white-tiled kitchen (black and white photo).

Russians Jews Germans

Photographs by Michael Kerstgens from 1992 to the Present

Exhibition
20 Apr to 26 Aug 2012

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