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L’amitié au coeur

Unusual Objects from Our Core Exhibition Tell Stories of Jewish Life

During the Second World War, the Nazis stole this sculpture from Baron de Rothschild’s collection in Paris and took it to Hermann Göring’s hunting lodge, Carinhall. In the late 1950s, the Rothschild family was awarded compensation for its lost assets by the Federal Republic of Germany. This sculpture was considered lost until fragments were discovered in the early 1990s. Its arms and head are still missing.

Female statue with traces of rust, missing the head

L’amitié au coeur (Friendship of the Heart) by Étienne-Maurice Falconet (1716–1791), Paris, 1765, marble; Jewish Museum Berlin, loaned by the Federal Republic of Germany, photo: Roman März. For provenance research see: www.provenienzdatenbank.bund.de.

Can I introduce myself?

If in the exhibition you touch the heart of the statue, L’amitié au coeur introduces itself; audio track from our JMB app.
L'amitié au coeur's heart; Jewish Museum Berlin, accession L-2018/1/3, loaned by the Federal Republic of Germany, photo: Roman März. For provenance research see: www.provenienzdatenbank.bund.de.

You touch my heart – can I introduce myself? They call me L‘amitié au cœur or ‘heartfelt friendship’.

I held my heart in my hands once.

I am already several hundred years old. Perhaps you’re asking yourself why my head and arms are missing, and how I arrived in the Jewish Museum Berlin?

The sculptor who made me in 1765 was called Étienne-Maurice Falconet. I was made from marble for Madame Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV.

My unaffectedness and grace were celebrated when I was first presented in Paris. Later, I found myself in the Maurice de Rothschild family art collection.

My time in France came to an abrupt end in 1940. The Nazis looted me and took me to Hermann Göring’s ostentatious Carinhall hunting lodge northeast of Berlin, which is where Göring displayed his stolen art treasures. Sculptures, paintings, old masters and tapestries were all violently seized from Jewish owners across Europe.

In April 1945, shortly before the end of the war, Göring ordered his estate to be blown up and I lay smashed and buried in an air-raid shelter. I was considered missing until I was recovered in the 1990s.

Who I belong to today is a difficult question to answer. The Rothschild family, my actual owners, were compensated by the West German state at the end of the 1950s for the loss of their assets. So today I am, officially, the property of the German state.

History has left its unmistakable mark on me and on my marble. Maybe now I'm a symbol of abduction, loss, destruction… and of the impossibility of justice ever really being fully restored.

Core Exhibition: 13 Objects – 13 Stories (13)

13 Objects – 13 Stories

A Torah shield, a sculpture, a cushion: 13 unusual objects tell 13 stories of Jewish life. One of the tours of the JMB app leads right through the exhibition to eye-catchers of all kinds, some small, some big. What would a museum be without its many objects, each rich in meaning? You can get a sneak peek of the objects here on our website.

L’amitié au coeur (Friendship of the Heart)

by Étienne-Maurice Falconet (1716–1791), Paris, 1765, marble

Finds from the Memmels­dorf Genizah

Memmelsdorf (find site), ca. 1725–1830, paper, ink, fabric, leather, porcelain

Torah Shield

donated by Isaak Jakob Gans (1723–1798), Hamburg, 1760–1765, silver

Shevirat ha-Kelim (Breaking of the Vessels)

Anselm Kiefer, 1990–2019, lead, iron, glass, copper wire, charcoal, Aquatec

Manheimer Family Portrait

by Julius Moser (1805–1879), Berlin, 1850, oil on canvas

Puppet Show

King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, Käte Baer-Freyer (1885–1988), Berlin, ca. 1924, plywood, metals

Decorated Cushion

“ISRAELI, JEW, and now SEVERELY DISABLED ...,” Daniel Josefsohn (1961–2016), Berlin, 2014/15, textile

Silver Formerly Owned by Jews

Provenance: up to 1939 unknown Jewish owners, 1939 Hamburg Tax Authority

Going-away Present

Bruno Heidenheim, Album to bid farewell to Margot (1913–2010) and Ernst (1898–1971) Rosenthal, Chemnitz, 1936

Hand Washbasin

Manufacturer: S. & D. Loewenthal, Frankfurt am Main, 1895/96, silver

No Longer in the Country

Unclaimed membership cards for the Jewish community Frankfurt am Main, 1949

Composition

by Otto Freundlich (1878–1943), 1938, tempera on cardboard

Yellow Star

of the Lehmann family, Berlin, 1941–1945