"You've come to a family of perfumers"
The Cosmetic Companies Scherk and Dr. Albersheim
"You've come to a family of perfumers": The Cosmetic Companies Scherk and Dr. Albersheim
Traditionally dominated by the French, the cosmetic industry also gained in importance in Germany during the German Empire. Successful entrepreneurs in the business included Moritz Albersheim, who established the Frankfurt perfumery Dr. Albersheim in 1892, and his former employee Ludwig Scherk. Sherk launched his own cosmetic company in Berlin. In 1911, he married Alice Carsch, Moritz Albersheim's niece. The exhibition You've come to a family of perfumers told the story of these two companies connected by family ties.
In seven sections, the exhibition retold a chapter of Berlin and Frankfurt business history while tracing the lives of two middle-class German-Jewish families in the twentieth century – from the German Empire to West Germany's 1950s "economic miracle." Both firms survived "Aryanization," the war years, restitution, and reconstruction and continued operating into the 1960s. For that reason, many Germans still remember Sherk products.
"You've come to a family of perfumers" – this is how Fritz Scherk, the second-born son of perfumery owner Ludwig Shirk, was enthusiastically greeted by his family at his birth. Fritz Scherk, who rebuilt the company after the war, was a focus of the exhibition. The photographs, documents, and Alice Sherk's interwar diary entries testify to the lives of a highly secular family who had little interest in religious rites but set great store by moral principles.
We are sincerely indebted to Irene Scherk for the bequest of her father’s estate, and to a private collector in Berlin for lending us more than one hundred product packages and containers.
The exhibition was curated by Dr. Iris Blochel-Dittrich and Leonore Maier. The exhibition was designed by Kaiser Matthies Kommunikations- and Ausstellungsdesign.