Exhibition preview

New Permanent Exhibition in the Rothschild Palais

Jewish Frankfurt from Emancipation to the Present Day / 10/21/2020 -

The Jewish Museum Frankfurt is currently closed due to construction and renovation. We’re working on a new permanent exhibition that will open on October 21, 2020 in the renovated Rothschild Palais.

Our new permanent exhibition will be presented in an authentic location: in the historic home of the Rothschild family. Spanning three floors and spread out over an area measuring more than 16,000 square feet of exhibition space, we tell the story of Frankfurt’s Jews from the Enlightenment and Emancipation around 1800 to the present day. Thus, the exhibition ties in with the permanent exhibition in the Museum Judengasse, which focuses on everyday Jewish life in Frankfurt in the early modern period.

Frankfurt: A Center of Jewish Life in Europe

Frankfurt was and remains one of Europe’s most important centers of Jewish life. The exhibition narrates how Jews shaped the city’s cultural, economic, and social development while addressing the Jewish experience of discrimination and violence. One of our chief aims is to offer personal insight into the diversity of Jewish lifestyles both in the past and present.

A Connection to the Present

Film still from the interactive welcome production of our new permanent exhibition.
Film still from the interactive welcome production of our new permanent exhibition.

The exhibition begins with present-day Jewish life; through personal stories, it explores the re-emergence of Jewish life after the Shoah. Again and again, we pick up on current questions and present them to our visitors in interactive ways: How do we envision living together? How do we care for our traditions? What role does family memory play in our lives?

Three Floors, Three Perspectives

The permanent exhibition extends over three floors in the Rothschild Palais; from a variety of perspectives, it illuminates different aspects of Jewish history and culture in Frankfurt. How did life change at the beginning of the nineteenth century, after Jews were no longer forced to live in the Judengasse? What sense of self did Jewish citizens develop during the nineteenth century? What changes did the transformation from Jewish tradition to religion bring? What consequences did National Socialist rule carry for Jews in Frankfurt? Our new permanent exhibition revolves around these and many other questions, presenting arts and crafts, personal notes and records, photographs and films, historical documents, and everyday objects as it invites visitors to formulate new questions.

Third Floor: Past and Present

The exhibition begins with Jewish post-war history to the present day. The following rooms tell of how Jews helped shape the city of Frankfurt in all areas of life following the abolition of the ghetto. Taking selected biographies as examples, we address the time of National Socialism and its consequences.

Second Floor: Tradition and Ritual

Benno Elkan (1877 – 1960), Hanukkah Menorah "The Five Maccabees"
Benno Elkan (1877 – 1960), Hanukkah Menorah "The Five Maccabees", Frankfurt am Main, around1925, Bronze, 68,8 × 77,5 cm © Jewish Museum Frankfurt

Im zweiten Obergeschoss geht es um den Wandel jüdischer Traditionen in der Moderne. Im 19. Jahrhundert entstand in Frankfurt mit der Neo-Orthodoxie eine neue religiöse Strömung, die heute weltweit von Bedeutung ist. Wir legen daher einen Fokus auf die Entwicklung der verschiedenen Strömungen und laden Sie dazu ein, die Sinnlichkeit der jüdischen Zeremonialkultur zu erleben. Abschließend werfen wir die Frage auf, was heute heilig ist.

First Floor: Family and Everyday Life

The first floor is dedicated to the history of three Frankfurt families: the famous Rothschild banking family, the middle-class merchant family Frank, and the Eastern European family of the well-known author and communist Valentin Senger. Jewish culture is largely cultivated within the family and passed on from generation to generation; memories and family customs play a key role in this process. Both are often tied to everyday objects that are passed down within the family. The displays on this floor tell the story of this family heritage.

Frank Family Center

The last room of the exhibition presents objects and documents belonging to Anne Frank’s family. It is the first presentation of everyday objects, letters, paintings, and photographs of this kind worldwide and offers insight into the family history of the world-famous Frankfurt native.

Visual Arts

Oil painting by Moritz Daniel Oppenheim (1800–1882), Moses withe the Tables of the Law
Moritz Daniel Oppenheim (1800 – 1882), Moses withe the Tables of the Law, Munich, 1817/18, oil on canvas, 197 × 130 cm, on permanent loan of the Adolf und Luisa Haeuser Stiftung für Kunst und Kulturpflege, Frankfurt am Main © Jewish Museum Frankfurt

Visual arts play a central role in the new permanent exhibition. The third floor spans three gallery rooms in which paintings and drawings are on display. On the second floor, changing exhibitions present the work of contemporary artists. A sculpture on the first floor reflects feelings and sen-timents related to stories of migration in a family context.

Mixed Media and Hands-on Stations for Children

On all three floors of the new permanent exhibition, visitors will find interactive stations and media-based presentations as well as historical objects and valuable works of art. Art and handicraft, personal notes and records, photographs, films, historical documents, and everyday objects are joined by supplementary educational offers aimed at a wide variety of visitors. Among these offers are media stations, video installations, slideshows, and historical films. There are also hands-on stations and labels for children, as well as touch objects and orientation maps for disabled guests.

Museum to Go

[Translate to English:] Museum-To-Go Logo
[Translate to English:] Museum-To-Go Logo

Upon entering the museum, all visitors are given a special gadget called "Museum to Go." This allows you to take films, photos, and other information from the exhibition home with you and access it again on your own personalized website. In this way, you can revisit the exhibition and deepen your experience after your visit.

Supporting Publications

New permanent exhibition catalog, cover
New permanent exhibition catalog, cover

A hands-on booklet for families and children will be published by Beck Verlag to accompany the exhibition, as well as a bilingual volume titled Jewish Frankfurt, a catalogue of around 280 pages and over 160 color images.

Event location:
Jewish Museum Frankfurt

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Bertha-Pappenheim-Platz 1, 60311 Frankfurt am Main

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