News / Europe

Exhibit at Berlin Jewish Museum Stokes Debate

Exhibit at Berlin Jewish Museum Stokes Debatei
X
April 15, 2013 8:45 PM
An exhibit at Berlin's Jewish Museum aims to educate museum-goers about Jews in Germany today. Nearly 180,000 German Jews were killed in the Holocaust, almost the entire community in Germany in the lead up to World War II. Today, the number of Jews in Germany has grown but the percentage of Germany's total population is still miniscule. One display in the show has a Jew sitting in a plexiglass box answering questions about Jews from visitors to the museum. Some critics say the show is degrading, and headline writers have dubbed the exhibit "Jew in a Box." But the show, as Michael Scaturro reports from Berlin, seems less controversial to those visiting the museum.
Michael Scaturro
— An exhibit at Berlin's Jewish Museum aims to educate museum-goers about Jews in Germany today. Nearly 180,000 German Jews were killed in the Holocaust, almost the entire community in Germany in the lead up to World War II.  Today, the number of Jews in Germany has grown but the percentage of Germany's total population is still miniscule.

One display in the show has a Jew sitting in a plexiglass box answering questions about Jews from visitors to the museum. Some critics say the show is degrading, and headline writers have dubbed the exhibit "Jew in a Box." But, the show seems less controversial to those visiting the museum.
 
The exhibit at Berlin’s Jewish museum seeks to answer frequently asked questions about Jews.     
 
Are all Jews religious?  What makes food Kosher?
 
What do Jews wear on their heads and why? And who can become a Jew?

One display is a plexiglass cube, open at the front, where a Jew sits every day but Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, answering questions from museum-goers.  

On a recent day, Signe Rossbach, a Jew from Berlin, sat in the cube and talked to non-Jews who approached. She said she wanted to participate because most Germans have never met a Jew.

"They don't meet any Jews, most of them, and I thought this was a great idea," she said.,

A German-Canadian couple were surprised by the cube, but they liked it.

"I always seem to find that Germans, my husband being one, and his family, are very undereducated when it comes to knowing who the victims at their hands in the Second World War were," said Karen. "They don't really have any understanding of what a Jew is culturally."

"We come from that generation, we still have part of that guilt in us, even, even though we never did anything personally," her husband Robert said.

Curator Michal Friedlander, also Jewish, says she was motivated by the fact that many young Germans say the Holocaust was so long ago, there's no need to discuss it anymore.     
 
"We want them to remember the terrible history but perhaps there is a new way to enter into dialogue," he said.  
 
Historian Alexander Hasgall, another visitor, said the box is a good idea.
 
"This exhibition is an experiment. It can really fail, when we see everyone’s just laughing, and nothing else," he said. "But maybe it opens new ways to deal with Judaism, taking into account that German society is evolving, and Jews are a part of this society.”

The exhibit runs until September 1 this year.

You May Like

China Announces Corruption Probe into Senior Ex-Leader

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, being probed for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid