For the first time in its 70-year history, objects from the collection of the international Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem are returning to Germany.
The joint exhibition of the Freundeskreis Yad Vashem in Deutschland e.V., the International Holocaust Memorial Yad Vashem and the Zollverein Foundation displayed 16objects from families or individuals who once lived in Germany and were part of society. The exhibits all came from different cities in the sixteen states of what is now Germany. This is a reminder that all places in Germany lost part of their history, their identity, because of the Holocaust.
Each of the sixteen objects is completely unique: Large like a piano, small like a doll's kitchen, or intimate like a diary. It may be a religious object or an evening bag, some is made of silver, others of a piece of paper. They would have remained everyday objects if they did not represent countless lives and communities that were destroyed by National Socialism. All of these objects are in Yad Vashem's collection today, and each embodies a unique story. The exhibition was curated by Ruth Ur, executive director of the Friends of Yad Vashem, together with Michael Tal, head of the Yad Vashem object collection. At the beginning of 2023, the exhibition was previously shown in the German Bundestag.
The objects were presented in front of a contemporary photograph of their original place of origin. Accompanying the exhibition, a catalog was published with information on all objects and their former owners.
To accompany the exhibition, the Old Synagogue Essen, the Ruhr Museum, the Zollverein Foundation and the Freundeskreis Yad Vashem e.V. offered a extensive supporting program offered. A series of lectures focused on the topic of remembrance culture in changing times. The focus was on historical aspects and concrete ways of future remembrance and commemoration. This question arises when the last eyewitnesses of the Shoah are no longer alive, then mementos and documents become contemporary witnesses. During guided tours, guests learned exciting background information about the objects and their staging in the exhibition. During walks, participants explored the traces of Jewish life in Essen and visit places where the owner of the Essen object lived. For example, the "Roba-Haus" (today "Osram-Haus") in Kruppstraße, where Hermann Bachrach had worked as a business co-owner and furniture manufacturer after 1929.
The Yad Vashem International Holocaust Memorial was established by the Israeli Parliament in 1953. Located on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem, it is dedicated to Holocaust documentation, research, education and commemoration of the six million Jewish men, women and children murdered during the Holocaust and the Jewish communities destroyed.
One of the central tasks of the German Friends of Yad Vashem, founded in 1997, is to anchor the work of the international Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem in Jerusalem in the public consciousness. To this end, the association not only strengthens relations between the Holocaust Memorial and German institutions, but also offers numerous educational and commemorative programs in cooperation with Yad Vashem. www.yad-vashem.de
The Old Synagogue, cultural institute of the city of Essen, is located in the former synagogue building of the Jewish community in Essen. The architectural work of art is one of the largest and architecturally most significant freestanding synagogue buildings in Europe from the early 20th century. Since 2010, the Old Synagogue has hosted a permanent interactive exhibition on contemporary Judaism. In the main room at Edmund-Körner-Platz in downtown Essen, the lecture series on the exhibition takes place. In addition, guests can learn more there about the history of the Bachrach family, from whom the evening bag in the exhibition comes. www.essen.de/leben/kultur_/alte_synagoge/alte_synagoge_startseite.de.html