“Our City! Jewish Vienna - Then to Now”
From November 19, 2013, visitors to the Jewish Museum Vienna are able to experience the new permanent exhibition “Our City! Jewish Vienna – Then to Now.” The exhibitions opening took place wenty-five years after its (re-)establishment and twenty years after moving into the Palais Eskeles, the Jewish Museum is once again setting an innovative standard.
The journey starts from 1945 to the present. It describes the tedious progress after 1945 towards the rebuilding of the Jewish community – a community that just seven years earlier had been the largest German-speaking Jewish community in the world and the third-largest in Europe – to its present-day modest but highly dynamic presence. It shows quite clearly that the Jewish community after World War II could not rely on the Austrian government(s) – quite the contrary, in fact. It has been able to grow to its present size only through the arrival of Jews from Eastern Europe.
The title of the exhibition has an exclamation mark, reminding visitors of the questions regarding the geographical and historical relationship of the Jews of Vienna to their city: What were their prospects in the various epochs in which they have lived here? In spite of the anti-Semitism in all its changing manifestations and in spite of the repeated expulsions, can they – and have they ever been able to – consider Vienna as “their city,” a city where they have had a marked presence, not only in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century? The title also asks important questions about urban life in today’s global village: what and who is “our city”? And whom and what do we recall when we think of the history of “our city”?
“Our City!” public campaign
The new permanent exhibition “Our City! Jewish Vienna –Then to now” makes the city itself a subject of reflection, presented in a series of posters that carries the exhibition and discussion into the public sphere. The posters will show items from the new permanent exhibition, each of which in some way references “Our City!” through the personalities and history presented.
• the bicycle ridden by Zionist visionary Theodor Herzl (1896)
• Ludwig August Frankl, hero of the 1848 Revolution, with a black/red/gold sash and flag
• the Hakoah swimmers Fritzi Löwy, Lucie Goldner, and Hedy Bienenfeld with their trainer Zsigo Wertheim
• Margit Dobronyi, photographer of the Jewish community from 1960 to 2000, on the gangway of an El Al airplane in May 1968
• a “Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Ring” street sign, taken down in 2012
• the twelve-year-old Maximilian Reich a few days before his deportation in March 1941 in a Vienna photo studio with St Stephan’s Cathedral as a background