200 and 20 – the library of the Jewish Museum

Two hundred years ago, as a sign of his sincere gratitude and great regard for the entire Israelite nation, the printer Anton Schmid gave it 133 volumes of Hebrew books printed by him. This donation in 1814 marked the start of one of the oldest Jewish community libraries. The exhibition in the Annex of the Jewish Museum Vienna gives an insight into the library archive, which includes over 200 rare books. Apart from a number of valuable first editions, such as the Kabbala text Sefer yetsira (Mantua 1562), Meor Enayim, the main work of the Renaissance scholar Azariah de Rossi (Mantua 1574), and De immortalitate animae (Hebrew: Sefer nishmat hayim) by Menasse ben Israel (Amsterdam 1651), magnificently illustrated editions from the collection will also be shown. All of the books are in the Jewish Museum library, which opened 20 years ago on November 24, 1994. To mark the 20th anniversary the Jewish Museum Vienna is presenting these outstanding rarities, which are normally too fragile to put on show.

Curator: Domagoj Akrap
Design: Bernhard Denkinger