"Taxidermied Jews?"
History, Present, and Future of Jewish Museums

German Edition | Ed. Felicitas Heimann-Jelinek and Hannes Sulzenbacher
Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2022 | 448 Pages | 120 Illustrations |  32,00 € | ISBN 978-3-8353-5259-9

When the then chairman of the Jewish Community, Paul Grosz, was asked many years ago what he thought of the establishment of a Jewish Museum, he asked a bitter counter-question. Whether Jews should be marveled at there “like taxidermied Indians“?

Today, there are over 120 Jewish museums worldwide. However, even the definition of their designating adjective is by no means uniform. There are those to whom the institution itself is a Jewish one, to others the institution’s topic is Judaism – from the most diverse perspectives. For some, the adjective “Jewish” is unambiguous, for others, it is not just ambiguous but even full of contradictions. The question of definitions and perspectives are decisive for content and practices of museums – and thus also on the sovereignty of interpretation of what is “Jewish” in a social public sphere. The exhibition illuminates the history and present of the institution “Jewish Museum,” its collections and its canon – and thus reflects the urgent question of its role in society in the future.

With contributions by:
Iskandar Ahmed Abdalla, Avril Alba, Inka Bertz, Micha Brumlik, Gottfried
Fliedl, Olga Gershenson, Reesa Greenberg, Alina Gromova, Felicitas Heimann-Jelinek, Shelley Hornstein, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Martin Kohlbauer, Cilly Kugelmann, Hanno Loewy, Léontine Meijer-van Mensch, Duygu Özkan, Daniela Schmid, Emile Schrijver, Jeffrey Shandler, Barbara Staudinger, Hannes Sulzenbacher, Vladimir Vertlib, Liliane Weissberg, Melissa Yaverbaum, Mirjam Zadoff.

Catalog accompanying the exhibition in the Jewish Museum Hohenems from June 26, 2022 until March 19, 2023 in cooperation with the Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig, Dresden und Herrnhut