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Everyday Culture


The everyday culture collection at the Jewish Museum Berlin comprises around 3,000 three-dimensional objects used for non-religious purposes and made of the most varied materials and textiles.

Photo of a toy with a picture of a smoking man

Promotional giveaway for the cigarette brand Moslem by the tobacco company Problem.
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jens Ziehe

Souvenirs and everyday objects from individuals and families are the main focus of the collection. They were mostly donated to the museum as parts of large collections of mixed possessions belonging to families. The personal memories associated with the objects were what made them special to their owners.

The objects of everyday culture point to general themes of German-Jewish history, primarily from the period from 1870 up to the 1930s. Military medals, particularly from the First World War are thus well represented. Decorations, badges, and medals attest to the patriotism and the sense of belonging felt by German Jews. They are of great symbolic importance to the families who donate them.

Photo of an egg scale

Egg scale from Otto Neumann's family poultry farm in New Jersey, 1940-1960.
© Jewish Museum Berlin, gift of Ruth and Harold Neumann

The majority of the everyday objects reflect their owner's bourgeois lifestyle; the collections of the families Plesch and Simon are representative of this. Company products, publicity items and business shingles and insignia are proof of innovation, economic success, and social advancement of all manner of individuals and business concerns.

Many of the objects are related to emigration and life in the countries fled to after 1933. Others are directly connected to persecution and deportation such as Jewish badges ("Judensterne"), Jewish doctors' signs for treaters of the sick ("Krankenbehandler"). Further items were entrusted to neighbors or relatives, and kept in commemoration of their murdered owners before being passed on to the Jewish Museum.

Contact

Leonore Maier
Curator of Material Culture
Tel: +49 (0)30 259 93 455
Fax: +49 (0)30 259 93 409
l.maier[at]jmberlin.de

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