Did You See My Alps?
A Jewish Love StoryApril 28 – November 15, 2009

The Jewish Museum Hohenems and the Jewish Museum Vienna invite you to rediscover the history of Alpinism. In the course of 2009, together with the Austrian Alpine Association and in cooperation with the Liechtenstein Museum of Fine Arts, we will reflect upon Jewish love of the Alps. The exhibition “Did you see my Alps? — A Jewish Love Story” highlights for the first time the significance of Jewish mountaineers and artists, tourism pioneers and intellectuals, researchers and collectors and their role in the discovery and development of the Alps as a universal cultural and natural heritage.
The experience of the mountains as places of spirituality and sensuality is linked in multiple ways to the Jewish experience and Jewish entry into Europe’s societies. Ever since Moses, the “first” mountaineer in history, Jews have searched at the threshold between heaven and earth, between nature and spirit for spiritual experiences and for the laws and boundaries of reason.

The exhibition will tell about the areas of conflict in Alpinism: — from the significance of the Alps for the Jewish Diaspora to the perception of Jewish Alpinism by the Austrian, German, and Swiss societies, — from the controversies around Folklore dress and Lederhose to the Aryanization of the Alpine Association and the Austrian Ski Association, — about the antagonism between a humanistic perception of Alpine traditions and folklore and racist nationalism, — about the transformation of the mountains as a place of spiritual experience into a site of persecution and escape in National Socialism.

“The Alps are no longer ‘Europe’s playground,’ but an army training field, nature’s splendid stage is not a ‘moral‘ but a military institution,“ as the Viennese mountaineer and musician, Josef Braunstein, wrote in 1936, before his emigration to the US. Here, he had more in mind than just the “battle” around the Eiger North Wall.

Berlin based artists Michael Melcer and Patricia Schon observed orthodox Jewish tourism in Switzerland during 2007 and 2008 and prepared an photographic essay for this exhibition, bridging the time between the gap between the climax of Jewish alpine tourism around 1900 and the present.

An Exhibition of the Jewish Museum Hohenems and the Jewish Museum Vienna in cooperation with the Austrian Alpine Association

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog:
„Hast Du meine Alpen gesehen?“ Eine jüdische Beziehungsgeschichte, Ed. by Hanno Loewy and Gerhard Milchram, 450 pages, richly illustrated, Hohenems: Bucher Verlag, 2009, € 29,80

Exhibited at:
Jewish Museum Hohenems: April 28 – November 15, 2009
Jewish Museum Vienna: December 15, 2009 – March 14, 2010
Alpine Museum Munich: April 22, 2010 – February 27, 2011
Forum Swiss History, Schwyz: April 10, 2011 – October 19, 2011
State Museum Castle Tyrol, Merano: July 5, 2012 – November 30, 2012

Hanno Loewy (Hohenems) and Gerhard Milchram (Vienna)
Michael Melcer und Patricia Schon (Berlin)

Bettina Spoerri (Zurich)
, Martin Achrainer (Innsbruck)
, Rath&Winkler (Innsbruck)
stecher id (Götzis)
Roland Stecher and Thomas Matt
Museum education:
Rath&Winkler (Innsbruck), Tanja Fuchs (Hohenems)
Public relations / organization:
Birgit Sohler (Hohenems)
Gerlinde Fritz (Hohenems), Naomi Kalwil (Vienna)
Text editing:
Kurt Greussing (Dornbirn)
Photography of objects:
Roland Fessler (Hohenems)