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Exhibition review

East End

Taking a Look Into a Jewish Quarter / 09/13/2020 - 11/29/2020

In the night from the November 9 to 10, 1938, the National Socialists destroyed Jewish institutions with the active support of sections of the population. The splendid synagogue of the Israelite Religious Society (IRG), consecrated in 1907, also fell victim to the destruction. In 1942/43 the City of Frankfurt had an aboveground bunker (Hochbunker) built on the site. The Jewish Museum has installed the exhibition "East End. Taking a Look Into a Jewish Quarter" on the ground floor of that bunker.

Frankfurt Ostend

Kosher butcher shop Albert Stern on Sandweg Frankfurt in the 1950s. Photo: Leonard Freed, Deutsche Juden heute, Munich 1965
Kosher butcher shop Albert Stern on Sandweg Frankfurt in the 1950s. Photo: Leonard Freed, Deutsche Juden heute, Munich 1965

Frankfurt’s Ostend ("East End") developed to the east of the city ramparts on ground used as gardens and fields. As of the mid–19th century, a residential area emerged here for members of the middle class working in trading, small businesses, and handcrafts.

When the Frankfurt ghetto was liberated around 1800, a large part of the Jewish population chose to move to the East End. Many families settled close to existing religious and social institutions, kosher shops, and Jewish neighbors. From 1850 on, the Jewish Community and the newly-founded IRG began to have new buildings constructed. Around 1895, almost half of the population of the East End was Jewish.

Under National Socialist rule, Jewish life was systematically destroyed. From 1938 onwards the Frankfurt city administration forced remaining and newly arrived Jews into what were called "Jews’ Houses", most of which were in the East End. From October 1941 Jewish men, women, and children were forcibly brought to the wholesale market, the Großmarkthalle, and deported from there to ghettos, concentration camps, and extermination camps set up by the National Socialists. Only very few of them survived the Holocaust.

The Aboveground Bunker on Friedberger Anlage

During the November pogrom of 1938, National Socialists also set fire to the synagogue on Friedberger Anlage. It was the largest synagogue in Frankfurt at the time. The Jewish Community was then forced to sell the site on Friedberger Anlage far below its value. In 1942/43 the city administration had the remaining synagogue walls removed and an aboveground bunker built on the foundations.

That wartime relic of World War II remained undamaged and to this day is a "foreign body" in its surroundings, a "mark of violence, suffering and terror," as Salomon Korn, architect and chairman of the board of the Jewish Community, once described it.

The Exhibition

The exhibition in the bunker recalls everyday Jewish life in Frankfurt’s East End since the 19th century and its destruction between 1933 and 1945. The exhibition was conceived in the year 2000 as a temporary exhibition for the Jewish Museum. In 2004 the Jewish Museum and the Initiative 9 November decided to show the exhibition permanently on the ground floor of the bunker. In 2016 it was reworked in terms of content and form.

The themes of the exhibition are the history and institutions of the IRG, everyday life in the East End, Jewish welfare institutions, and the commercial character of this city district. In the section on the Nazi era, the main focus is the November pogroms and mass deportations from Frankfurt’s Grossmarkthalle from October 1941 onwards. After liberation, Jewish life cautiously began again in the East End. The last section of the exhibition is devoted to the district as a place of remembrance, with its memorial site Neuer Börneplatz in the eastern part of the inner city, the commemorative site in Frankfurt’s Großmarkthalle, the "stumbling blocks," the street names and the plaques indicating the location of former Jewish institutions.

For purposes of orientation, there is a large-scale city plan with the addresses mentioned in the exhibition.

Opening Hours and Guided Tours

The exhibition is open from May to November, every Sunday between 11 am and 2 pm. Warm clothes are recommended, as it is quite cool in the bunker. Admission is five Euros. Every Sunday at 11:30 am a guided tour in German is available for an additional 1 Euro.

This is in collaboration with the Initiative 9. November e.V.

Are you interested in an individual guided tour for a group in English, German, or Modern Hebrew? Then please contact:

Event location:
Bunker at Friedberger Anlage

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  • Admission
    5€
  • With guided tour
    6€
Link to location Link to location

Friedberger Anlage 5/6, 60314 Frankfurt am Main