Books

Children’s Literature

AM Silbermann and Emil Bernhard Cohn edited this “Children’s Haggadah” in Berlin in 1933. Intended to involve children in the seder, it features “moving picture” illustrations by Erwin Singer. Children are invited to “pull slowly” on tabs connected to inserts in the illustrations, which move to reveal hidden elements of the pictures. The book also contains songs by the composer Arno Nadel (who served as Choir Director of the Jewish Community in Berlin) and other contemporary artists.

Children’s literature digitized by LBI reflects efforts by German-Jewish communities to educate children about Judaism, and even Zionism, an increasingly relevant topic following the Nazi seizure of power in 1933. Some, like the illustrated “Childrens’ Haggadah” remain enduring favorites today.

Augenspiegel (Recommendation on whether to confiscate, destroy, and burn all Jewish books) (1511)

Reuchlin, Johann. Augenspiegel (1511).

This early defense of religious tolerance was written by the Christian Hebraist Johannes Reuchlin in rebuttal of a widely discussed proposal to ban all Jewish books.

Jüdisches Ceremoniel (1726)

Jewish Customs and Accoutrements - from Juedisches Ceremoniel

Jüdisches Ceremoniel (1726), a beautifully illustrated description of Jewish religious ceremonies, rites of passage and feast days intended as a primer on Judaism for 18th century German audience. Its author, Paul Christian Kirchner, was a convert from Judaism who sought to persuade other Jews to follow his example and believed that an informed German public would be more effective at winning converts.

The Complete Horse Connoisseur (1764)

Der Vollkommene Pferdekenner, Tab IV

What is extraordinary about this veterinary work designed for equestrians, “Der Vollkommene Pferdekenner”, is the “Anhang” or Appendix, which consists of 36 pages of Hebrew words and phrases which were used by Jewish horse-traders, transliterated into Gothic letters and provided with German definitions. It was intended to give German horse buyers an extra edge in negotiations in an era when many horse dealers were Jewish.