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“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.

Past exhibition

Map with all buildings that belong to the Jewish Museum Berlin. The Libeskind building is marked in green

Where

Libeskind Building, lower level
Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin

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 Scherk, 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 Scherk’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.

Acknowledgments

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.

Scherk (cosmetics company)

More information about the company’s history and the Scherk family can be found on Wikipedia:

More on Wikipedia

Aryanization

The Nazi term “Aryanization” describes the process of dispossession of Jewish propery (companies, stores, house and land real estate, stocks, cash assets) and the transfer of this propertý to non-Jewish private individuals, companies, or to the state.

More on Wikipedia

Exhibition Information at a Glance

  • When

    2 Sep 2010 to 31 Jan 2011

  • Where

    Libeskind Building, lower level
    Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin
    See Location on Map

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