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Puppet Show

Unusual Objects from Our Core Exhibition Tell Stories of Jewish Life

King Solomon, the Queen of Sheba, Simeon the Doctor, Ahizar the Servant—these figures belong to the Bible story Solomon and the Queen of Sheba and they bring the great times of the Israelite kingdoms back to life.

Two puppets with crowns and moving parts, which are connected with rivets

Puppets King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, Käte Baer-Freyer (1885–1988), Berlin, ca. 1924, plywood, metals; Jewish Museum Berlin, accession 2017/73/1+2, gift of Eri Heller, photos: Roman März

Käte Baer-Freyer created the figures out of plywood in 1924 and painted them. An accompanying book by her husband Albert Baer was published with the stories in rhyming verse.

The couple supported the Zionist movement and wanted to use their puppet show to prepare children for a possible emigration to Palestine.

“Dearest children, rejoice as one! For I am King Solomon;” audio track from our JMB app

Read along: Biblical Puppet Show

Dearest children, rejoice as one!
For I am King Solomon
A great king both in power and might
My palace splendid, large and bright
I’m wise in judging rights and wrongs
As well as writing beautiful songs
I never err, I rule so well
In Judah and in Israel

King Solomon, the queen of Sheba, Simeon the physician, Ahisar the servant - puppets bring the times of the great Israelite kingdoms back to life.

Käte Baer-Freyer made and painted these plywood puppets in 1924. There was a stick to hold each figure and three wires to move the arms and head. There was also a book to go along with the puppets, written in rhyme by her husband, Albert Baer. Curtain up!

With children’s riddles and a touch of slapstick, the young audience experienced the meeting between the wise King Solomon and the legendary Queen. The biblical story tells how the Queen of Sheba comes to Jerusalem with gold and precious stones, with a view to testing Solomon's legendary wisdom. When he answers all her questions correctly, she praises his God, hands over to him her riches and is presented with a gift in return.

The verses were intended to bring Bible into the lives of the younger generation and, ultimately, prepare them for a potential emigration to Palestine, which was Käte and Albert Baer’s own plan. They emigrated to Palestine with their children in 1933.

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Core Exhibition: 13 Objects – 13 Stories (13)