Golden Apple

Exhibition in a Vaulted Cellar on Frankfurt’s Judengasse

We’re pleased to present an exhibition on Frankfurt’s early nineteenth-century Jewish history in a vaulted cellar from the same period. The show invites visitors to examine Jews’ struggle for equal rights and emancipation, while still retaining their tradition.

History of the Building and Its Owners

Keystone from the "Golden Apple" vaulted cellar
The initials on this keystone "IMR 1809" refer to the former owner of the house: Joseph Moses Rindskopf.

In 1809, Joseph Moses Rindskopf acquired a property at the northern end of Judengasse, where five buildings had burned down in the war against France. He paid a sum of 2,072 guilders and 24 kreuzers and built an imposing stone house on the site. One of the destroyed buildings was called “Golden Apple.” Its stones were in all likelihood used to build the vaulted cellar, where a keystone inscribed “IMR 1809” commemorates the builder.

J.M. Rindskopf died following the completion of his house. It was later purchased by the bookseller Isaac Kauffmann, who ran a Hebrew bookstore here along with a printing press. Following the victory over the French revolutionary troops, and after the city of Frankfurt took away rights Jews had already been granted, Rindskopf and his sons, as well as Kaufmann after them, had to fight to be recognized as citizens on an equal footing. Legal equality only came into effect in 1865.

About the Exhibition

We are currently working on an exhibition that will allow visitors to experience the location’s history. It will invite our guests to consider two themes: the contemporary reality of the Jewish struggle for equal rights and the fight for emancipation while maintaining tradition.

The vault itself can already be viewed. Together with colleagues from the Archaeological Museum Frankfurt and a stone restorer, we’ve been examining its individual features. We’ve marked the spots we’re particularly curious about with signs bearing questions and will supply the answers one by one over time. Does the wall have an even older section? What were the closed shafts for?

The location of the cellar in the Judengasse is visualized in a model by architect Maitar Tewel showing the only section of the street in today’s Frankfurt that still follows the historic Judengasse’s original course. It invites us to contemplate present-day urban architecture in relation to a violently repressed past. A photographic film takes viewers through Jewish institutions and private homes and connects intimate spaces with memorials, museums, and locations in Frankfurt where all memory of Jewish life has been erased. With a specially developed immersive VR panorama, visitors can visually and acoustically explore the Judengasse as it was in 1861.

A complementary pop-up presentation brings together the innovative results of the four-year interdisciplinary METAhub project comprising artistic works, digital applications, and Open Educational Resources that enrich and expand the stories of this historic site. Explore the possibilities of post-digital cultural mediation and enjoy the interactive installations by Helgard Haug, LIGNA, and Architectura Virtualis, which blur the boundaries between analogue and digital.

The exhibition will remain on view after the opening as part of the “Mapping Memories—All Together NOW” festival (March 21–24, 2024) and will be gradually expanded to include further multimedia projects.