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Material Culture Collection

Our objects from material culture recount Jewish life stories from Germany, attesting to athletic achievements, weddings, professional and military careers, but also disenfranchisement, persecution, and emigration.

  • Blue and white flag with Star of David on the blue background.

    Flag with the Star of David

    In 1935, Martin Friedländer hung a blue and white flag from his window, making a confident statement against the racist Nuremberg Laws

  • A bag filled with several letters.

    Frieda Neuber’s Leather Pouch

    Shortly before being deported to Theresienstadt, Frieder Neuber gave this leather pouch to her niece. The letters inside it document her desperate attempts to leave the country.

  • Various crumpled documents with Hebrew letters, a shoe and a bag

    Memmelsdorf Genizah

    In February 2002, workers renovating a house discovered a burlap sack filled with papers and personal items when they opened up a section of the ceiling. The house had been owned by Jews from 1775 to 1939.

  • Model of a ship.

    Model of the Cargo Steamer Max

    The Hamburg shipowner Arnold Bernstein received this model of his first ship in 1929 as a gift for his company's tenth anniversary. Eight years later, his career ended abruptly. He was detained and only managed to escape Germany at the last minute.

  • A blue sign with text.

    Dr. Oscar Hirschberg’s Office Signs

    A total of seven office signs used by Dr. Oscar Hirschberg document both his career as a practicing physician and the political changes and antisemitic exclusion during the period of Nazi rule.

  • Bronze statue of a rower.

    Challenge Trophy from the Oberspree Jewish Rowing Club

    The member of the Oberspree Jewish rowing club who logged the most kilometers in the water over the course of a year was awarded a challenge trophy. Fred Eisenberg won the award three years in a row.

  • A hammer with counting stamp.

    Stamping Hammer, Invented by Gustav Maletzki

    This stamping hammer, made around 1930, is one of the patented inventions for which the apparel furrier earned several awards. In 1938, Gustav Maletzki was forced to escape Germany and brought the hammer to exile in Bolivia.

  • Brown-leather wallet with thirty-one keys spread out.

    The Sommerfelds’ Thirty-One Keys

    Thirty-one keys – that's all that remains of the luggage the Sommerfeld family took with them when they emigrated from Berlin. They only managed to leave for England at the very last minute – just before the Second World War broke out.

  • Photo of three medals on a velvet cushion.

    Max Haller’s Collection of Medals

    Max Haller fought in the First World War for the Imperial German Navy. When SA members threatened him during the April Boycott of 1933, he pointedly placed a velvet cushion with his military distinctions in the shop window.

  • Dark-brown cardboard key containing a rolled-up piece of paper

    Cardboard Key for the Korants’ Wedding

    Margarete Apt and Georg Korant received an unusual gift for their wedding on 4 October 1903 in Breslau. The dark brown key is made of cardboard and can be opened.