The Last Europeans
The last Europeans. Jewish Perspectives on the Crises of an Idea | The Brunner Family. An EstateOctober 4, 2020 until October 3, 2021

Jewish Perspectives on the Crises of an Idea
75 years after the end of World War II, Europe is threatened by a relapse into nationalist and xenophobic ideologies.
The European imperative “Never Again!” is being challenged by many, also here in Austria. At the same time, Europe’s nationalists are discovering their own fantasy of the “Christian-Jewish Occident”—as a battle cry against immigration and integration. The values of the Enlightenment, which constituted the foundation of European rapprochement in the wake of the catastrophes of the 20th century, are reversed into their opposite and turned into means of isolation and exclusion. Against this background, the Jewish Museum Hohenems looks at Jewish individuals who, in the face of the destruction of Europe and the attempted extermination of European Jews in the 20th century, crossed national and cultural borders and once again vehemently demanded the universal validity of human rights. Based on their commitment to a united and peaceful Europe, this exhibition explores at the same time the threats that it is facing anew.

The Brunner Family. An Estate
An extensive donation to the Jewish Museum Hohenems enables a comparative view of a European century on the basis of individual and family history. Starting point for the exhibition “The Last Europeans” is the estate of Carlo Alberto Brunner, consisting of letters and documents, memorabilia and everyday objects from the Brunner family who left Hohenems for Trieste in the first half of the 19th century to contribute to the rapid development of the Habsburg Mediterranean metropolis. The family’s steep social and cultural ascent ended with Europe’s evolution into a continent of mutual hatred and in the devastation of two world wars, which scattered parts of the family throughout the world.

The Very Central European University
Parallel to this, the museum will be – for a year – the venue of open debate on the future of Europe, calling for a discourse on the real and ideal substance of the European Union, on potential threats and opportunities, on forward-looking and outdated concepts. The European Enlightenment will be a topic of discussion as well as its offspring: secularization and modernity, emancipation and participation, nationalism and counter-enlightenment, colonialism and capitalism. The European Summer University for Jewish Studies, which has been held in Hohenems every year since 2009 in cooperation with six universities from Austria, Germany and Switzerland, will also be under the sign of the “last Europeans” in 2021. For one year Hohenems will thus become a “Very Central European University”.

Michaela Feurstein-Prasser (Wien)
Felicitas Heimann-Jelinek (Wien)
Hannes Sulzenbacher (Wien)
Project lead
Hanno Loewy (Hohenems)
Exhibition architecture
Martin Kohlbauer (Wien)
Exhibition design
atelier stecher, Roland Stecher, Thomas Matt (Götzis)
Kassegger und Partner, Günter Kassegger (Dornbirn)
Gerhard Kohlbauer

Manuela Cibulka, Hubert Dragaschnig, Walter Fink, Timo Hampson, Felicitas Heimann-Jelinek, Michael Köhlmeier, Hanno Loewy, Paul Milstein, Noah Scheiber, Brigitte Walk

Raphael Einetter, Anika Reichwald (Hohenems)
Angelika Purin, Judith Niederklopfer-Würtinger, Claudia Klammer (Hohenems)
Public relations work
Birgit Sohler (Hohenems)
Lilian Dombrowski (Raanana)
Gerlinde Fritz (Hohenems)

Museom Service GmbH, Christian Chochola, Heinz Erdner, Stephan Troll (Wien)
Technical assistance
Dietmar Pöschko (Hohenems), Dietmar Pfanner (Andelsbuch)
tonwelt GmbH, Johannes Maibaum (Berlin)
Milan Loewy (Wien)
Niko Hofinger, Innsbruck
Object Photography
Dietmar Walser

Elograph (Röthis)
Printing matters
Bucher Druck (Hohenems)
Martin Blenke (Hohenems)
Paint works

Malerwerkstätte Alfons Mathis (Hohenems)