In 1617, the Imperial Counts of Hohenems issued a letter of protection for twelve Jewish families who settled in Hohenems. 400 years later descendants of Jewish families from Hohenems, living today all over the world, came together for their third Reunion. Since the last meeting of descendants in 2008, the network of Hohenems descendants on all continents has grown substantially – thanks to the genealogical research of the museum and by the families themselves. Many have visited us during the past years, looking for traces of their family histories. And they returned again and brought along their families.
The Reunion provided the opportunity for moving and thrilling encounters: among the families, between descendants and locals from Hohenems and the region – and with a Jewish Quarter and a former “Christian’s Lane,” in which new urban life is starting to prosper in the last years.
Guided tours and hiking, a boat tour on the lake, special programs for children and youth, lectures about the history of the Hohenems Diaspora and concerts provided just a few highlights of an unforgettable experience. And we had a focus on the families who once shaped Hohenems and made their way into the world from here – and who are connected with each other in the present day.
Jessica Piper-Rosenthal spent the summer 2016 with us, being the first fellow of the Internship-Program of the American Friends of the Jewish Museum Hohenems. Working with us on the Reunion she brought this blog to life: “Letters from the Hohenems Diaspora” ►.
The Reunion was organized by the Committee of Descendants – together with the Jewish Museum. Presently the Committee is formed by: Nicole Angiel (Brunner), San Francisco (USA); Yves Bollag (Landauer), Lugano (Switzerland), President of the Association for the Preservation of the Jewish Cemetery in Hohenems; Pierre Burgauer, Rehetobel (Switzerland), Member of the board of the Association of the Jewish Museum Hohenems; Nadia Follmann (Rosenthal), New Jersey (USA); Tim Hanford (Hirschfeld), Washington (USA), President of the American Friends of the Jewish Museum Hohenems; Jürgen Hefel (Hirschfeld), Bregenz (Austria); Luisa Jaffé (Brunner), Brussels (Belgium); Ayalah Kahn, Schaan (Liechtenstein); Inge Neumüller (Hirschfeld), Kempten (Germany); Yves Niquil (Löwenberg), Anthony (France); Jessica Piper (Rosenthal), Brunswick (USA); Kelsey Piper (Rosenthal), Stanford (USA); Peter Reichenbach, Zurich (Switzerland), Member of the Advisory Board of the Jewish Museum Hohenems; Esther Reiss-Mossel (Rosenthal), Jerusalem (Israel); Sue Rosenthal Shimer, New York (USA), Editor of the Newsletter of the American Friends of the Jewish Museum Hohenems; Susan Swinbourne (Sulzer), Glen Iris (Australia); Uri Taenzer, New Jersey (USA), Treasurer of the American Friends of the Jewish Museum Hohenems; Wendy Wollner (Rosenthal), Ossining (USA)