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Sally Israel with three friends
in Bavarian costumes


Group of people in Alpine costume

Memories of Bad Reichenhall: the photo shows three guests of the Bavarian resort town gathered around Berlin businessman Sally Israel in a photography studio. There are only painted mountains in the background and a few rural props, but the guests make a perfect picture amidst the fake decor. They have shown up in folksy costumes with the most important trappings of Alpine tradition.

With its wild romantic scenery, Bad Reichenhall was a popular resort from the mid-nineteenth century onward. It also found favor among Jewish seekers of rest and relaxation and offered synagogues and kosher restaurants. It was customary for these middle-class visitors, most of whom lived in cities, to pose for souvenir photos in the local costumes, even if these outfits were made expressly for this purpose or provided by the photographers. A favorite backdrop was a fake blue and white sky. Sent as postcards to friends and relatives at home, the photos attested to a pleasant and restful stay.

In early 1920s clouds began to gather on this idyllic horizon. Bavarian spas were not exempt from the virulent anti-Semitism in Germany, which now targeted Jewish holidaymakers. As the years passed, more and more articles appeared in the Jewish press warning travelers to avoid Bavaria. In 1931 Bad Reichenhall was placed on the list of dangerous places to visit.

Sally Israel with three friends in Bavarian costumes
Bad Reichenhall, 1920
Photograph
13.6 x 8.6 cm
Gift of Monica Peiser

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