Event: single


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Collecting Images [07]

From a Judaica Collection in Munich
Mai 7, 2008 through September 7, 2008

In the penultimate exhibition of the series “Collecting Images”, the Jewish Museum of Munich presents an impressive private collection that includes exhibits devoted to ritual Jewish objects. Some of the issues broached in this exhibition are the variety of approaches to collecting, starting a collection, regional collecting, the shift from a functional religious object to an item in a display case, as well as some puzzling questions raised by a few of the items.
In 1878, when for the first time in history a private collection of Jewish ritual objects was put on display for public viewing, a student named David Kaufmann (1852-99), who would later become a professor in Budapest, noted in his diary, “This is culture’s victory over religious ritual.” Whether or not one wishes to go that far, the birth of Judaica collections as such does mark a paradigm shift brought about by mounting secularization. Ritual objects were no longer restricted to being religious tools, but were also seen as artistic artifacts which allow one to identify more closely with Jewish History and Tradition.
Since the Shoah, many collectors have also regarded Judaica as a means of preserving the memory, not only of religious life prior to 1933, but also of destruction, exile, and annihilation. Collecting is thus also a way to save the few remaining vestiges left behind by six million murdered Jews.
Today distinguished Judaica collections can be found predominantly in the US and Israel. The items on display here are from a private collection in Munich—one of the few such collections in Germany—and due to its breadth and quality, this collection may well be considered to be among the most significant. The focus on objects from Eastern Europe and southern Germany reflects the history of the collector and his family, who were originally from Poland and who survived persecution in the Soviet Union before settling in Munich after 1945.

Curator: Bernhard Purin