»"The Whole Truth … everything you always wanted to know about Jews" sets a new question record

Press Information

Press Release, 30 August 2013

"I´m a living exhibition object"

A showcase at the Jewish Museum Berlin has become famous. It is part of the current exhibition "The Whole Truth ... everything you always wanted to know about Jews", which ends on 1 September. Since March of this year, daily except Saturdays, a total of 181 Jewish guests took their seat in this plexiglass showcase. The open showcase was part of the exhibition and created as an answer to the question "Are there still Jews in Germany?" The guests in the showcase answered questions and exchanged views with the visitors. This concept has been the source of worldwide enthusiasm, discussions, and criticism. After the opening of the Jewish Museum Berlin in 2001, for example, the ARD correspondent in Tel Aviv Richard C. Schneider said: "I am a living exhibition object. People … who in their contact with me are encountering a Jew for the first time in their lives, tend to react with confusion. […] Suddenly I am seen as in a showcase, as a rare example of a species under glass […]."

Katharina Schmidt-Narischkin
Senior Press Officer
+49 (0)30 259 93 419
+49 (0)30 259 93 400

Jewish Museum Berlin Foundation
Lindenstraße 9–14
10969 Berlin


Old Building, level 1

Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin

More than 53.000 visitors asked 50.000 questions

With over 53.000 visitors since its opening on 22 March, "The Whole Truth ... everything you always wanted to know about Jews", ranks among the most visited exhibitions of the museum. Visitors are confronted with 30 selected questions and clichés revolving around Jewish life. They were chosen from the many questions that repeatedly crop up in forums and museum guestbooks and are fielded by museum staff. The questions were answered with the help of 180 objects, texts and installations. Open questions were left by visitors on the post-it wall at the exit. Alternatively, visitors asked the Jewish guests in the showcase.

In the epilogue to the exhibition, visitors were asked to post their questions and comments on a wall. Later visitors reacted to these, commented on or questioned the posted messages. Over the duration of the exhibition, 50.000 questions and comments were left on the post-it wall. Some questions were answered in the museum´s blog „Blogerim": „How does a kippah stay on?", "Why do some Jews rock back and forth while they pray?", "What role do gender themes play?", "Do Jews have their own language?", "Are there gay Jews?"

1.800 Tweets from the exhibition to the Wailing Wall

Regarding the question "What happens to the notes in the Wailing Wall?", 1.800 visitors used the tablet computer provided by the museum to send their message to the portal "Tweet Your Prayers". The Israeli Alon took them to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem every week.

38.750 Chips for voting

"Cast your vote or go shopping". In a witty, easygoing and provocative manner awareness is raised for stereotypical perceptions and patterns of thought. The museum provided four voting columns into which visitors could put their coins: "Are Jews good businesspeople, animal-loving/influential/intelligent/beautiful?" For some visitors, "The Whole Truth" was in these columns: With 2500 chips, the "business-minded" and "intelligent" columns were filled up to the rim twice, the column "beautiful" once.

"Ask me, I am not Jewish" on the final day of the exhibition

On the final day of the exhibition on 1 September, visitors are invited to a special event: Under the motto "Ask me, I am not Jewish", people whose appearance or ethnic background is often associated with certain stereotypes will take a seat in the showcase. They will answer questions regarding their way of life, their religion or ethnic background.

12 am to 1 pm Pater Tobias Zimmermann SJ, member of the Jesuit order since 1990.
1 to 2 pm Tuba Arikan is a Muslim woman of Turkish descent and a German citizen.
2 to 3 pm Johanna Straub has been a vegetarian since 1990 and a vegan since 2013.
3 to 4 pm Samuel Schidem lives in Berlin and combines many different identities: Israeli, Palestinian, Arabic, Hebrew, Muslim and Jewish.
5 to 7 pm Reception in the exhibition rooms for all showcase guests who engaged in discussions with visitors over the past months. Some of them will talk about their experience.

The exhibition at the Jewish Museum Berlin has been organized in cooperation with the Jewish Museum Hohenems. It has been generously supported by the Deutsche Klassenlotterie Berlin.

Media Partners:
Wall AG, zittyBerlin, Yorck Kinogruppe, Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus


Old Building, level 1

Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin