Jewish Life in Germany

June 20, 2018 by Danielle Kamien
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Melbourne’s Jewish Holocaust Centre is to present a new exhibition: ‘Jewish Life in Germany Today’.

This exhibition combines the historical and contemporary aspects of living as a member of the Jewish community in Germany. Curator Jayne Josem says “Against the shadow of a dark history a vibrant Jewish community is emerging, and it is important that we engage with this fact and discover what possibilities reconciliation hold when a nation takes responsibility for atrocities committed.”

Over the past two decades, the Jewish population in Germany has grown from fewer than 30,000 in 1990 to more than 200,000 today. Jewish Life in Germany Todaybrings these numbers to life. In concise and striking statements visualised with 25 poster panels, Jews explain what living in Germany means to them, how the history of the Holocaust influenced their personal lives, and the dreams they have for their future in Germany. From students to best-selling authors, to rabbis and entrepreneurs, their biographies reflect the diversity of the German-Jewish community today and are a testament to the transformation that Germany has undergone as a nation since WWII.

This exhibition showcases a number of Jewish young professionals, creating a life and career in Germany. Alexa Karolinska, a stage director has said ‘I meet people from around the world and from all generations without questions about origin or religion playing a role’. Sharon Adler, a publisher and photographer adds, ‘I have found it important to naturally integrate Jewish life into my online women’s magazine.’

Leah Lothringer, a young Jewish professional in her 30s lived and worked in Germany for 2 years. Leah says of her experience in Germany; “you gain a greater appreciation for the role of history, and the responsibility that it confers. My day-to-day work and social life in Germany did not typically see me reminded of my Jewishness, and in that way, seemed similar to times I’ve spent living and working in other parts of the world. Walking along Hamburg’s romantic, Venetian canals, you can easily feel removed from recent history; the cities and the lifestyle are that idyllic”.

“I never had reservations about going to Germany; prior to moving there, I’d visited many times before, usually in my capacity as a heavy metal music fan. I already had a community there who made me feel welcome”.

Throughout this photographic exhibition, people will get a glimpse into people’s lives as Jews living in Germany today. Curator Jayne Josem adds that “it is especially heartening to consider the stories in this exhibition in light of the recent appointment by the German Federal Cabinet of Ambassador Felix Klein as Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Anti-Semitism. How will this impact their lives?”

During the exhibition, the JHC will be holding a number of programs. The launch will take place on 1 July 2018 with Mark Dreyfus QC, MP launching the exhibition. There will also be a screening of the excellent, informative documentary “Germans and Jews” on Sunday 8 July at 3pm with guest speaker Dr Helen Light. Coinciding with the 80thanniversary of the Evian Conference, Prof. Paul Bartrop will hold a public lecture on Thursday 12 July at 7.30pm.


What: Jewish Life in Germany Today

By: Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Jewish Holocaust Centre

Where: Jewish Holocaust Centre

13-15 Selwyn St, Elsternwick

When: Monday 2 July 2018- Sunday 15 July 2018

Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 10.00am to 4.00pm

Friday 10.00am to 2.00pm

Sunday 12pm to 4pm

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