New Exhibition on Jewish Berliners in Weimar Germany held in Ambassador’s Residence


(© / Zacarias Garcia)

On Monday, March 17, Ambassador Peter Ammon hosted the opening of a new Leo Baeck Institute exhibition at his residence. “Advancing Modernity: Jewish Berliners in Weimar Germany, 1919-1933″ was curated by the Leo Baeck Institute from its extensive collection of personal papers, books and other artifacts.

The exhibit features the outstanding achievements of several Jewish Berliners in a time full of political, social and economic turbulence.

“Be it in commerce or in politics, in arts and music or in publishing, prominent Jewish Berliners set standards in their fields of expertise,” the Ambassador said at the opening. He underscored it was and is to Germany’s great loss that this multi-faceted Jewish life in Berlin was almost completely extinguished under the National-Socialist dictatorship.

In his remarks, Ambassador Ammon expressed sincere thanks to the Leo Baeck Institute for continuing the fine tradition of sharing some of its vast archives for an exhibition in the Residence. Since 2008, the Leo Baeck Institute has regularly brought exhibitions to the Ambassador’s Residence, on various facets of Jewish life in Germany before the Holocaust.

Rabbi Dr. Ronald B. Sobel, the President of the Leo Baeck Institute, thanked Ambassador Ammon for the cooperation over the years. He noted that, “with each exchange we help to overcome the rift created by the past.”


Prof. Michael Meyer, Trustee of the Leo Baeck Institute(© / Zacarias Garcia)

In his historical introduction, Prof. Michael Meyer, trustee of the Leo Baeck Institute, outlined how German Jews gained prominence in many fields in the aftermath of World War I, turning Berlin into a cosmopolitan Weltstadt and magnet for avant-garde artists of all kind. He highlighted contributions by Else Lasker-Schüler, Lesser Ury and Leo Baeck.

Guests then heard a selection of German songs by Jewish composers from that time, performed by pianist Tal Balshai and singer Yvonne Ambrée. In their concert, they recreated the Zeitgeist of the Golden Twenties and were rewarded with enthusiastic applause.

The new exhibition presents the achievements of Jewish Berliners in the fields of commerce, politics, publishing, arts, music and film. The design of the cabinets was inspired by paintings of Paul Klee and Piet Mondrian in Bauhaus style.

Download the brochure from the exhibit at “Advancing Modernity: Jewish Berliners in Weimar Germany, 1919-1933″

Text courtesy

LBI News No. 95 — Summer 2014


In this issue, Federal President Joachim Gauck of Germany accepts the Leo Baeck Medal at LBI’s first award Dinner in Berlin. CJH Conservator Felicity Corkill discusses her work cleaning and repairing a delicate 18th century megillah, and LBI archivists and librarians test out some recipes from the many cookbooks in the library collection.

Mahlzeit! German-Jewish Cuisine in LBI Collections

A plate from, Morgenstern, Lina. Illustriertes Universal-Kochbuch für Gesunde und Kranke. Berlin. 1907.

As anyone who has traveled abroad knows, food is one of the most important aspects of culture. Many a journey, and a good bit of global trade, was launched in search of new flavors. For the displaced, uprooted, or simply homesick, familiar foods provide a comfort and connection to home that is second perhaps only…

Federal President of Germany, Joachim Gauck, Awarded Leo Baeck Medal in Berlin

Federal President Joachim Gauck accepts the Leo Baeck Medal on May 14, 2014 in Berlin.

On May 14, 2014, LBI President Dr. Ronald B. Sobel presented the Leo Baeck Medal to the Federal President of Germany, Joachim Gauck. It was the first time LBI awarded its highest honor in Berlin, at a dinner to mark the opening of an LBI New York office in the German capital.

Longing, Prayer, Surrender: Diary of an Incredible Journey Translated into English

An essay entitled "Asia: Children's Paradise" by Kellermann with illustrations by Schneider-Kainer in "Die Dame"

The year she turned 41, Lene Schneider-Kainer divorced her husband, closed her fledgling business selling designer lingerie to upper class Berlin ladies, and embarked on an 18-month journey to the near East, India, Southeast Asia, and China. Jewish publishing pioneer Rudolf Mosse’s liberal daily, the “Berliner Tageblatt,” had hired Schneider-Kainer to illustrate dispatches from an epic journey along the route traveled by Marco Polo in 1271.

Honoring Federal President Joachim Gauck

Federal President Gauck (l) and Dr. Ronald B. Sobel. Photo: Michael Fahrig.

On May 14, 2014, Joachim Gauck, Federal President of Germany, accepted the Leo Baeck Medal. LBI President Dr. Ronald Sobel made the following remarks at LBI’s first Award Dinner in Berlin, held to honor Gauck.

LBI at Limmud Germany

At Limmud Germany, workshops were presented in German, Russian, and English, a mix that reflects the diverse backgrounds of the participants. Photo: Nathan Frank.

Limmud Germany held its seventh annual festival at a resort outside Berlin from May 29–June 1, 2014. About 400 participants attended workshops that spanned topics from Hebrew language, Jewish cuisine and a workshop by Dr. Frank Mecklenburg of LBI which covered the topic of German-Jewish history before 1933.

Wikipedians Write the Book on LBI Collections

“If you don’t think Wikipedia is good enough, create an account and make it better!” —Leonora Lange, CJH Archivist

At the first public CJH Wikipedia Edit-a-thon on Saturday, May 4, 2014, about 30 volunteers, including CJH and LBI staff, members of the local NYC Wikimedia Chapter, and scholars and librarians from other institutions spent an afternoon creating and improving Wikipedia articles related to women in Jewish History.

Edythe Griffinger Art Catalogue Will Improve Access to LBI Art Collection

Works by Eduard Magnes, Max Liebermann , and others in LBI's storage facility at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan. Photo: Jon Pack.

Thanks to a gift from a trust under the will of Edythe Griffinger, LBI has begun work on a project that will highlight its art collection. This grant will allow LBI to make the collection more accessible through the creation of a virtual art catalogue and a web portal that will allow the public to view artworks and artifacts that are rarely if ever on public display.

Erhard Roy Wiehn— “Wer schreibt, der bleibt!”

Erhard Roy Wiehn is the editor of the Edition Schoah und Judaica

Erhard Roy Wiehn, born 1937 in Saarbrücken, is a Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Constance. His “Edition Schoah und Judaica,” is one of the largest series of monographs about Jewish life in Europe and now encompasses nearly 280 books, mostly autobiographical accounts of Jewish life in Europe before, during, and after the Holocaust. We spoke to him about memory, authenticity, and obsession.