“When for three days in August 1998 Rosenthals, Brettauers, Brunners, Tänzers or Hohenemsers walked around in Hohenems, this event had a certain unreal quality – as if the town is dreaming a dream of times passed for long. But this dream moved a lot.”
In August 1998, 168 descendants of Jews from Hohenems from 15 different countries met at the great descendants reunion in Hohenems. The idea and intitiative for this meeting came from Felix Jaffé, who succeeded in engaging members of many families in this project. Previously in 1993 about 60 descendants of the Brunner family had met in Niederösterreich, invited by Teddy Reitlinger.
Now members of virtually all the Hohenems families got together. The committee, including Felix Jaffé, Stephan Rollin and Yves Bollag, together with the Museum invited more than 250 descendants and their families and organized a three day program, focusing on the reencounter with Hohenems and its history and fostering new ties between the descendants. In addition, the descendants made friends with local people, enjoying a cultural program including the music of Salomon Sulzer, Schubert and Harry Weil, the last cantor of Hohenems, and readings of literature.
The reunion made possible an intensified collaboration between the Jewish Museum and descendants all over the world. The American Friends of the Jewish Museum Hohenems, founded after the 1998 reunion, became a strong partner of the Museum. And genealogical research, done by several descendants became a substantial support of the Museum activities too.