Diese Lithografie zeigt das Jüdische Krankenhaus in Frankfurt um 1830

Collection of Everyday Objects

Jewish life in objects and graphics

Frankfurt Jewish history and culture are expressed not only in valuable objects such as fine artworks and ceremonial items. The life of Frankfurt Jews finds expression also, and above all, in things of everyday life: objects, textiles and graphics, which families have preserved and passed down through generations.

The majority of these everyday objects date from the 19th and 20th centuries. Many objects were donated to us as part of the estates of Frankfurt Jews, along with photos and records preserved in the archive. These are often utility items that document how Frankfurt Jewish families lived throughout history. As mementos of people and families, they are an important part of our collection.

Objects as storytellers

Dieses Schild hing in den 1930er Jahren an der Wohnungstür des frisch getrauten Ehepaars Gundersheimer in Frankfurt am Main.
This sign used to hang on the door of the apartment of the newly-wed couple Gundersheimer who fled from Nazi-Germany in 1939. They took thise sign from the door of their Frankfurt apartment to America with them.

The collection chronicles important historical events that left their mark on, or can be associated with everyday objects. Persecution and escape from Nazi Germany thus play a major role. Mementos people took with them as they fled into exile, suitcases, diaries and photo albums that speak of the difficulty of daily life. Documents that record the search for missing family members. All of these things vividly recount the experiences of the years 1933-1945 and preserve the memory of Frankfurt Jews.

The collection of objects bears witness to both modern anti-Semitism and how Jews have fought against it since the period of National Socialism. Objects relating to economic history constitute another of the collection’s focal areas. These objects bear witness to the diverse activities of Jewish merchants, bankers and entrepreneurs in Frankfurt.

One curiosity of the collection can be found in the items relating to Jewish duelling fraternities. Fraternity colour sashes, cap and watch chain ribbons and other articles displaying fraternity insignia or designated colours tell of this conservative trend among Jewish students in the first half of the 20th century.


Jewish places and personalities: graphic art

Another focal point in the collection of everyday objects are documentary graphic artworks depicting historical events, portraits of prominent personalities and historical scenes from Jewish life. Of particular note are the topographical representations of Jewish heritage sites in Frankfurt and Europe. Of major importance are the many drawings of the Judengasse, which reflect the–predominantly non-Jewish– view of the Frankfurt ghetto.

We need your support!

We are expanding the collection related to everyday Jewish culture. We need your help to do this.
We are primarily interested in objects that tell the stories of people and families. Such objects usually come from private owners and have often been found, long forgotten, in attics and cellars. They need not be objects of value at all. Everyday items are often very interesting holders of memories. Such objects enable us to tell the stories of Frankfurt Jews, to remind viewers of the previous owners who defined and left their marks on Jewish Frankfurt. We would be very pleased if you own any such mementos or objects whose history you would like to entrust to the museum. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

In addition to personal mementos, we are also looking for objects to do with company and business history and items documenting the post-war period.

Please contact Sabine Kößling....