Oct 2004 Journal

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'German-Jewish Refugees around the World': A Berlin Jewish Museum project

The Jewish Museum of Berlin is planning for 2006 an exhibition on Jewish emigrants who left Germany between 1933 and 1941. The more than 400,000 German and Austrian Jews who began a new life after an often difficult emigration became immigrants in many countries. We will be focusing on the everyday life of these immigrants in the years following their arrival in a foreign country. We will, of course, be dealing with countries such as Israel, the USA and Argentina, but we are also keenly interested in countries such as India and Kenya.

Before emigration

From which town did your family come and what was your parents' occupation? Did Jewish religion play a role in your family life? Was there an immediate cause that made you decide to leave Germany? Was it difficult to organise the emigration? How did you choose your country of refuge? Did you/your parents prepare for the emigration with special training? Which possessions were you able to take with you? How did your flight and arrival proceed?

Life as a refugee/ immigrant

Where and how did your family live after the arrival? Was your country of refuge as you expected it to be? Which jobs did you/your parents do after the arrival? Were you supported by relief organisations? Did your parents try to help relatives get out of Germany or Austria? What experiences did you have as a refugee or 'enemy alien'?

Everyday life until around 1950

When did your country of immigration become a new 'Heimat' for you? Were there things/habits in your new country which you liked very much (for instance, food, landscape, music)? Were there things/habits from Germany which you missed? Were you more in contact with the local people than with other refugees? Did your family become active in a German-Jewish organisation or a synagogue community?

We are also searching for family photos as well as documents and objects which accompanied the emigration (for example, official letters, maps, ship tickets). Unfortunately, most people did not keep everyday objects such as furniture, clothes or toys. We would like to put on display some of these objects as private loans.

Please do contact me. I am at your disposal (from 12 October) should you have any questions.

Dr Bettina Englmann
Jüdisches Museum Berlin
Lindenstrasse 9-14
10969 Berlin

Tel: +49 (30) 2599 3430
Fax: +49(30) 2599 3409
email: b.englmann@jmberlin.de

previous article:Recreation of Kindertransport journey planned for young children at Beth Shalom
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