Jewish Museum Berlin Celebrates 10th Anniversary

The Daniel Libeskind Building, the newest addition to the Jewish Museum Berlin, was designed by world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind. "It thematizes and integrates, for the first time in post-war Germany, the history of the Jews in Germany, the repercussions of the Holocaust and spiritual displacement," Liebeskind says.

The Daniel Libeskind Building, the newest addition to the Jewish Museum Berlin, was designed by world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind. "It thematizes and integrates, for the first time in post-war Germany, the history of the Jews in Germany, the repercussions of the Holocaust and spiritual displacement," Liebeskind says.

Burkhard Katz/Jewish Museum Berlin hide caption

itoggle caption Burkhard Katz/Jewish Museum Berlin

During the past 10 years, the Jewish Museum in Berlin has hosted over 60 exhibitions, hundreds of events, and has developed a large educational department.

Thirty percent of the visitors are under 30 years old, says Aubrey Pomerance, the chief archivist for the Jewish Museum. Pomerance has been working there since the museum first opened in September of 2001.

"Most of the material comes to us from private individuals, from German-Jewish emigrants and their descendants," Pomerance says, "and I am very happy to say that most of this materials has been donated. They've placed a lot of trust into the museum and think that the museum is a very good place for their papers and records to be kept."

A young visitor explores the Kippot cabinet. In the last 10 years, the museum has hosted over 60 exhibitions and hundreds of events. i i

A young visitor explores the Kippot cabinet. In the last 10 years, the museum has hosted over 60 exhibitions and hundreds of events.

Soenke Tollkuehn/Jewish Museum Berlin hide caption

itoggle caption Soenke Tollkuehn/Jewish Museum Berlin
A young visitor explores the Kippot cabinet. In the last 10 years, the museum has hosted over 60 exhibitions and hundreds of events.

A young visitor explores the Kippot cabinet. In the last 10 years, the museum has hosted over 60 exhibitions and hundreds of events.

Soenke Tollkuehn/Jewish Museum Berlin

In collecting and documenting German-Jewish history, Pomerance has had many personal encounters over the last 10 years. One of his most memorable moments was meeting Tessa Uys, the daughter of a pianist, who, while selling her family's house in Cape Town, South Africa, stumbled upon her family's Jewish history.

Uys came to the Jewish museum in Berlin to find out more about her mother's life and donated her mother's piano to the museum, which she shipped back to Germany.

"It was restored at the company in Leipzig where it was manufactured in 1910," Pomerance says. "The donor herself, Tessa Uys, gave the inaugural concert on the piano here in the museum, and the piano is on display in the permanent exhibition since 2004."

The Jewish Museum in Berlin covers 2,000 years of German-Jewish history and consists of two buildings. The baroque Kollegienhaus is a former courthouse, and the new addition, designed by world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, is defined by a zigzag shape, reminiscent of a warped Star of David.

It was one of the first buildings designed after German reunification.

Daniel Libeskind says the museum, "thematizes and integrates, for the first time in post-war Germany, the history of the Jews in Germany, the repercussions of the Holocaust and spiritual displacement. It is also just a museum with exhibits on the walls."

All this week, the Jewish Museum in Berlin will be celebrating its 10th birthday. It begins with a gala concert with Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin.

"There will be guided tours through the exhibition. There will be a salon by the Leo Baeck Institute, which Daniel Liebeskind will also attend and introduce. The big birthday party will be on Sunday, the 30th. Quite a number of prominent guests will talk about their favorite objects in the permanent exhibition. There will be a number of tours in the museum also given in English," Pomerance says.

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