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Selected Texts From Our Catalog

Our major exhibition about the best-known figure in Jewish folklore, the golem, tells a story that has inspired generations of artists, filmmakers, and writers. The exhibition presents the golem, a man-made being endowed with superhuman powers, in its many forms: from its appearances in early Jewish mystical texts to its various manifestations in popular culture.

“It is said that the golem lives everywhere and in all times.” (David Frishman, The Golem, 1922)

Central to the golem legend is the human desire to create, together with a range of themes including creativity, control, power, and salvation.

The exhibition demonstrates the thematic richness of the material, as is apparent from medieval manuscripts, many-layered narratives, and works of art from the last two hundred years.

The golem symbolizes each era's dreaded dangers and hopes for redemption. The exhibition uses the golem figure to examine topics like creativity, creation, power, and redemption.

What is a golem?

Golem, a creature formed out of a lifeless substance that is brought to life by ritual incantations and sequences of Hebrew letters, origin in medieval Jewish mystics

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Whether in painting, sculpture, object art, video, installation art, photography, or illustration, the golem is very much alive and, with it, the question of what it means to be human.

In this catalog, experts from a variety of disciplines describe their associations with the objects in the exhibition. The volume is completed with excerpts from literary texts that have shaped the image of this legendary figure.

The catalogue is published by the Jewish Museum Berlin and the Kerber Verlag, Bielefeld. Its print version is German only, but several texts can be read on our website.

Cover of the Golem catalog.

GOLEM Catalog Cover


  1. Introduction: The Golem in Berlin by Peter Schäfer
  2. Chapter 1: The Golem Lives On by Martina Lüdicke
  3. Chapter 2: Jewish Mysticism by Emily D. Bilski
  4. Chapter 3: Transformation by Emily D. Bilski
  5. Chapter 4: Legendary Prague by Martina Lüdicke
  6. Chapter 5: Horror and Magic by Martina Lüdicke
  7. Chapter 6: Out of Control by Emily D. Bilski
  8. Chapter 7: Doppelgänger by Martina Lüdicke

Citation recommendation:

Jüdisches Museum Berlin/Jewish Museum Berlin (2016), Golem. Selected Texts From Our Catalog.

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