The Expulsion of the Jews from the East Prussian Region from 1933 onwards.
This temporary exhibition deals with the escape and emigration of Jews from East Prussia. In addition to personalities from Königsberg, family stories from Tilsit, Gumbinnen, Insterburg, Eydtkuhnen and Gross Kakschen will be presented. The exhibition, which will open in May 2023 (Museums Night) in Kaliningrad, will travel to other cities after the summer season.
And there is so much optimism in that…. After all, it is an experienced moment that gives us something to draw conclusions from!
In Kaliningrad, the new exhibition “Königsberg from a Jewish Perspective” is receiving such a good response that now the well-known Instagram blogger Kristina Ilyina also produced a post with the curator of the exhibition for her followers in the Kaliningrad region in the series Livelyconversation. >>> Link to Instagram, The conversation took place in Russian.
On the occasion of the opening of the museum in the Kaliningrad Synagogue on October 9, 2022, journalists from the Kaskad TV channel summarize impressions and opinions of the organizers and guests from the cultural and tourism industry.
Start of Operation
On September 18 2022, the Jewish Museum in the Kaliningrad Synagogue started its operation. The first visitors were the children of the Jewish congregation. They were introduced by Julia Oisboit to the various themes and stories about the Jews of Kaliningrad. After that, many participants from the anual congregation meeting gathered for a tour. Now a modern museum is available, which tells about the Jews of Königsberg. This exhibition was realized mainly with the funds of the German Foreign Office by the association Juden in Ostpreussen e.V.
On September 14, we completed the installation of the exhibition in the synagogue in Kaliningrad. A wonderful local team made this possible within a very short time. But it was also the creative craftsmen in Germany who implemented these ideas and packaged them well.
It took quite a while in these times for the cargo to go through all the bureaucratic hurdles in several countries. The first box with the exhibition was unpacked in front of the synagogue on August 25. Here now unites the stories of the former Jews of the city with today’s history…..
The website of the museum is ready! Here you can get an impression in four languages – the continuous multilingualism is very important to us, because there is always the interest of the descendants all over the world in the present activities in the former home of the ancestors. [Link]
The exhibition goes on a journey from the workshops in Germany to the synagogue in Kaliningrad. We thank all the service providers who took care of it!
The exhibition is packed and waits for the transport to the synagogue in Kaliningrad.
Feb 24 – final acceptance of the exhibition for the Museum in the Kaliningrad Synagogue in the workshop of Büchner Möbel GmbH, Reichenbach in Thuringia. Good cooperation of all participants led to a professional result.
On the picture (from left to right) Michael Leiserowitz (Association Jews in East Prussia); Ulrich Haselhuhn (Model maker, Co. IMMModell, Lichtenstein); Andreas Baumbach (Co. Kocmoc, Leipzig); Prof. Ruth Leiserowitz (Association Jews in East Prussia); Ambassador Mrs. Michaela Küchler (Special representative in the German Foreign Office, Berlin); Konstantin Richter (Co. Kocmoc, Leipzig); Florian (Co. Büchner Furniture Carpentry, Reichenbach). #jmkaliningrad
Plans become reality. Before the end of the month construction is completed. The exhibition walls have been covered with the large print, inside the many varied displays get light and sound, the exhibition islands were equipped with glass panels and the luminous graphics.
The construction phase becomes more and more intensive, walls, tables, media productions and models are created at the same time. Everything is coordinated and comes together in the end. We thank the Federal Foreign Office for allowing us to turn plans into a real and diverse exhibition.
Three unusually formatted islands interrupt the harmony of the museum hall.
Here, stories of the crimes are told.
They are about the deportation of East Prussian Jews to extermination, the locations of labor camps for Jewish concentration camp prisoners in East Prussia, and the death march and massacre of Palmnicken.
We are combining historical photos and interviews with media designers to create a collage that will tell visitors about the fates of boys and girls from the Jewish School in Königsberg.
Klaus Günther Wessolowski comes from the small village of Schittkehmen (today Żytkiejmy, Poland) 150 km from Königsberg. He is the only Jewish child in the village. Therefore his parents decide to send him to school in Königsberg. He is given board and lodging with a family unknown to him until then. He attends the Jewish school in the synagogue/orphanage from 1936-1939. Only during the vacations he can go home, when his father picks him up by car. In November 1938 he sees the burning synagogue from his bedroom window. In 1939 he emigrates to Shanghai with his parents and uncle, and in 1943 he celebrates his bar mitzvah in Shanghai. In 1947 Klaus Günther leaves Shanghai with his parents and arrives in San Francisco by ship. He becomes a citizen of the USA and changes his name to Claude Wilton
Just before Hanukkah we went to Israel and Leipzig – the Journey led to Israel and Leipzig. Descendants of the great Königsberg banker family Marx live in Israel. An old family item, a “besamim” spice container, which has a function in the Sabbath exit ceremony, is lent to the exhibition. Representatives of another branch of the family presented the association with lithographs by Hermann Struck showing Gertrud and George Marx. These are to find their way back to the place where they were made after about 100 years. The family very much welcomes the fact that today’s Jews in Kaliningrad will commemorate the city’s Jewish history with a museum in the magnificent rebuilt synagogue. In Leipzig, at the exhibition company Kocmoc, the first model of the small “show houses” hangs. In them, stories about Jews of the city of Königsberg are told and presented in many different ways. #jmkaliningrad#jewsineastprussia
The museum’s exhibition planner, the Leipzig-based company Kocmoc.net, has now been on site for the first time and has been able to coordinate with technicians to ensure that the planned museum experience can be realized. Despite all the current pandemic-related travel obstacles, the preparations are going ahead with all their power.
What happened at the site of the synagogue? The exhibits in the museum tell about it (Preview of examples of the finished design).
Talks were held in Kaliningrad, technical details were discussed and the room – color – concept was presented. Despite the current difficult travel opportunities, the project is progressing well.
Our association has received a notice of grant from the (German) Federal Foreign Office for this year to finance the first stage of a permanent exhibition “Museum New Synagogue Kaliningrad/Königsberg”.
We will tell the story of the Jews in East Prussia at this special place, which has been an interface between East and West throughout the ages. The members of today’s Jewish community have managed to rebuild the magnificent synagogue and make it a center for religious life – a landmark of the city that was destroyed by brutal force 80 years ago. For over 20 years descendants of East Prussian Jews from all over the world have been telling us stories and opening their family albums, and we have found documents in archives in several countries. The museum will also be a place of remembrance of Jewish forced labor and the Shoah in the East Prussian region.
Soon we will provide more detailed information about the upcoming museum and report progress on the first stage of the permanent exhibition.
Decision to set up a museum foundation in Kaliningrad to establish a museum, with the involvement of the Association Jews in East Prussia for helping with fundraising and curating many parts of the exhibition.
Eighty years after the destruction of the Linden Street Synagogue in Königsberg during the Night of the November pogroms in 1938, the inauguration of the rebuilt synagogue in Kaliningrad took place. Link
We still are looking for photos, postcards, documents, letters and whole biographies to include them into a planned museum and information center for Jewish heritage in Kaliningrad / Königsberg.
We are also working on a database of people from Königsberg and would like to collect as much material as possible and make it centrally accessible as an information centre and library for the current inhabitants of Kaliningrad and for descendants from Königsberg living all over the world.
#jmkaliningrad #jewsineastprussia #ostpreussen #kaliningrad #koenigsberg