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NEW EXHIBITION - ROBERT HORVITZ: THE ESSENCE
is one of those artists for whom the creative process itself plays a
primary role, with every-thing down to the smallest detail being subordinate:
HELP IN THE SEARCH FOR LOST NEIGHBOURS
Following on from the Education and
Culture Centre's project and exhibition Lost Neighbours (see Newsletter
4/2001), the Museum has addressed the general public via the Czech media
with a request for assistance in gathering information and material
relating to the lives of Jews in Bohemia and Moravia. We aim to bring
together as many pieces of previously unknown information and documents
as possible, in particular from the period of the second world war,
a time that for many is still linked to memories of family and friends.
project was launched in mid-December 2001 and has already produced significant
results. By mid-February 2002 we received a number of personal and official
documents, testimonies and family photos, as well as several historical
objects, from about 150 respondents. All the material is being gathered
by the Museum's Holocaust documentation department.
The Museum has recently filed hundreds
of photographs and various written documents, including family correspondence,
letters from the Terezín ghetto, concentration camps and transport assembly
points, and personal documents (issued both illegally and officially).
As only a small portion has actually been donated to the Museum, the
bulk of the material will be copied and subsequently returned to the
owners. For the purposes of the Museum and donors, we are also searching
for information on Bohemian and Moravian Jews to which the above documents
and photographs relate.
On the basis of the tremendous response
we have received so far, the project is expected to continue for a few
more months. Afterwards, all the material will be inventoried, catalogued
and included in the relevant collections of the Museum.
Aside from the sheer wealth of fascinating
and often valuable material, what is significant is the highly positive
response we have received from the public. Almost 60
NEW ACQUISITIONS IN 2001
Last year the Museum's collections were
enriched by a number of high-quality artworks, most of which were added
to the collection of paintings, drawings and graphic art. This collection
is focused primarily on the work of modern Jewish artists from Bohemia
of the most interesting acquisitions is a portrait of the painter Jules
Pascin by the Prague graphic artist Emil Orlik (1897). Of documentary
significance is a sketch of the interior of the Old-New Synagogue by
Oldřich Blažíček (1912). Noteworthy acquisitions also include a large
group of drawings, water-colours, pastels and oil paintings by Jewish
modern artists from 1920s and 30s Prague. These include a large water-colour
by Alfred Justitz, a seascape by the famous exponent of the Paris School
Georges Kars, and a large painting (Church on the Lakeside) by
the Prague expressionist Bedřich Feigl. Work by the younger generation
of Jewish artists in the Museum's collection include drawings by Ender
Nemes and pastels by Géza Szóbel and Pavel Fleischmann.
Clearly the most valuable acquisitions
are works by two prominent Prague-based Jewish artists of the post-war
generation: two remarkable portraits by Pavla Mautnerová from around
1950 and a large painting (Forest) from 1954 by Robert Piesen, a leading
exponent of 1960s abstract art. Another major boon for the art
The Museum also received two donations
in 2001: a set of 5 pictures for the Jewish calendar 5762 (2002-3) by
the U.S. artist Mark Podwal and a group of 34 paintings by the Slovak -born
artist Dr. Vavro Oravec which were exhibited at the Museum in January
2001. Altogether, 70 works were added to the collection of paintings,
drawings and graphic art.
The collection of Metal works was also enlarged, although to a lesser but still significant extent (donations included three medals from the Jewish sports club Hagibor and two spice boxes), as was the textile collec-tion (with the purchase, for example, of a woman's veil dating from the second half of the 19th century and most likely stemming from the Middle East).
In association with the Simon Wiesenthal
Center in Los Angeles, the Museum is currently involved as one of the
main lenders of material to a major exhibition of the artist
Friedl Dicker-Brandeis entitled A Life for Art and Teaching. This exhibition
project is exceptionally broad in scope, for it is the first complete
display of work by Friedl Dicker-Brandeis. This former Bauhaus disciple
is presented here not only as a "teacher of Terezín children",
but also, for the first time, as a unique artist whose work arguably
ranks among the best produced by the European avant-garde in the inter-war
years. A de luxe catalogue to accompany the exhibition has so far been
published in German, Czech, French and English.
The show first opened in autumn 1999 in the Pallais Harrach in Vienna. After great success it subsequently toured to Graz (Austria), Český Krumlov (Czech Republic), Paris, Stockholm and Berlin. It was on display in Atlanta, Georgia, between November 2001 and March 2002 and has since moved to Japan where it can be seen at the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum until October 2002. The Museum has loaned 9 oil paintings (out of a total of 37 works) for the show in Japan. At the end of this year the final presentation is to take place in Los Angeles.
EMPTY SITES IN MĚLNÍk
An exhibition entitled Empty Sites was
on display at the District Museum in Mělník between 17 October and
24 November 2001. This marked the culmination
A number of events were held as part
of this project in the course of 2001. School children took part in
work -shops focusing on the celebration of the Sabbath and the main
Jewish festivals and on recent Jewish history. In addition, there were
a number of excursions to sites of former Jewish communities and monuments
in the region (e.g., Rychnov nad Kněžnou and the Terezín ghetto), as
well as tours of local Jewish cemeteries (e.g., Kralupy, Kostelec nad
Labem, Byšice, Liběchov, Všetaty, Litice, Spomyšl, Bosyně, Vojkovice).
Although the Mělník region had a relatively weak and scattered Jewish
settlement, it was in fact the birthplace of a host of prominent figures,
including the writer Vojtěch Rakous (1862-1935), the opera singer Emil
Pollert (1877-1935) and the painters Georges Kars (1880-1945) and Max
The main part of the exhibition itself
was devoted to Holocaust victims from the Mělník region. In certain
cases, it was possible to piece together the fate of entire Jewish families
from extant photos and documents. The opening of the exhibition was
attended by some of the surviving members of these families. The second
part of the exhibition featured synagogue and ritual objects from the
Jewish Museum in Prague which originally stem from former Jewish communities
in the region.
The exhibition was accompanied by a
comprehensive catalogue with photographs of Jewish cemeteries, tombstones
and synagogues (now mostly demolished) in the Mělník region. This catalogue
is intended to fill in the "empty sites" and to commemorate
their former inhabitants.
The timing of the exhibition was of symbolic significance. On the one hand, its opening and closing dates marked the 60th anniversary, respectively, of the first Jewish deportations and the first transport of Jews to Terezín. On the other, the exhibition coincided with the major Jewish festivals Rosh ha-shanah and Yom Kippur followed by Sukkot and Simhat Torah. These festivals were therefore highlighted in that part of the exhibition dealing with the Jewish religion.
This is a collection of published lectures
from a series that was presented in the Museum's Education and Culture
Centre from January 2000 to December 2001. It has been compiled by Dr.
Miloš Pojar and contains 24 papers by scholars from the Czech Republic,
as well as from France and Slovakia. Providing a general overview of
the Shoah (Holocaust) throughout Europe, individual papers are arranged
chronologically to highlight the order in which European countries were
occupied by Nazi Germany. The book ends with a group of papers dealing
with European countries (with the exception of Vatican City and Ireland)
that were neutral during the war. For understandable reasons, there
is no section on Great Britain, the only European enemy of Nazi Germany
not to be occupied.
The appendices to the book include
a letter of 16 September 1919 written by Hitler on the request of the
army officer Karl Mayer, in which he speaks of anti-Semitism and the
attitude of Germans towards the Jews. There is also a copy of the Nuremberg
Laws of 1935, the protocol of the Wannsee Conference and excerpts from
a speech that Himmler made to Gauleiters on 6 October 1943 in Poznan.
The book is in Czech with certain appendices in German. pp 315.
To order the above title, please contact the Jewish Museum in Prague.
THE HISTORY OF THE JEWS IN BOHEMIA AND MORAVIA
Published in English, this brand new
catalogue is centred around the individual topics of the Maisel exhibition
and is accompanied by 105 reproductions of the rarest exhibits, some
of which are being featured for the first time in print, including the
To order the above title, please contact the Jewish Museum in Prague.
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