ADOLF KOHN - Painter of the
Last year the Jewish Museum in Prague put together an exhibition of paintings
of the Prague ghetto by Adolf Kohn. The opening was originally planned
for 14 August 2002 but this was set bacCZKby the August floods. It was
necessary to take down the exhibition immediately and to move the paintings
to the Museum’s upper floor rooms. Due to floodingin the basement area
of the Robert Guttmann Gallery, including the technical facilities for
the air-conditioning units, the exhibition could not be opened until conditions
in the reconstructed gallery had been restored to an extent that met the
strict requirements for the display of rare artworks. The opening finally
tooCZKplace on 26 June 2003. It was curated by Dr. Arno PaříCZKand ran
until the end of September 2003.
It is now a century since Adolf Kohn (1868-1953) began painting his small
pictures of the vanishing Jewish Town during the clearance of the Prague
ghetto. In them he tried to capture the atmosphere of the picturesque
corners of the ghetto, where he was born, raised and spent his entire
life. He continued to paint and, later on, made a remarkable amount of
paintings based on his memories, period photographs and his early pictures.
Relatively few of his works, however, have been preserved and the name
of this artist remains virtually unknown to this day. Although painting
was mainly a hobby for Adolf Kohn, it did give him a modest means of income,
for he used to sell his pictures to neighbours, residents of the town,
booksellers and visitors to Josefov.
exhibition was the first independent display of artworks by Adolf Kohn.
In total, there were about 120 paintings exhibited, mostly from the collect-ions
of the Jewish Museum in Prague, together with loans from the National
Museum in Prague, the City of Prague Museum and private collectors. Visitors
were given their first ever opportunity to compare Kohn’s works dating
from various periods and showing different views of the hidden corners
of the Jewish Town and to appreciate their distinctive naif poetry.
exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue (in English and Czech), which
includes over 100 full-colour reproductions and a list of his major works.
This can be ordered from the Museum’s address, by email: sales(z)jewishmuseum.cz,
or online at: www.jewishmuseum.cz/shop/ashop.htm
ON THE INTERNET
The Museum’s Aleph library catalogue has been available on its website
since April 2003. Of the total number of books in the library collection
(about 100,000), almost 20,000 have been listed in the catalogue so far.
This includes all new acquisitions, books on the Holocaust and the Second
World War and publications kept at the Museum’s Education and Culture
Centre. Earlier literature is being continually added to the catalogue
as part of a re-cataloguing of the collection.
As well as having the opportunity
to search online for records of documents from the library collection,
registered library users are also able to extend loans, order documents
from the library depositories for a specific time or reserve books that
are out on loan.
The catalogue can be accessed at:www.jewishmuseum.cz/en/alibrary.htm
ON JEWISH HISTORY AND TRADITIONS IN THE DĚČÍN SYNAGOGUE
In the north Bohemian town of Děčín is one of the few synagogues in the
Czech border region to have survived the Nazi rampages during the war.
It is being gradually restored by the local Jewish community, which also
uses it as a venue for various cultural programmes, in particular exhibitions
and concerts. On 16 July 2003, two travelling exhibitions – Jewish Traditions
and Customs and History of the Jews in Bohemia and Moravia – opened in
the Děčín Synagogue. Both were prepared by the Jewish Museum in Prague
in an attempt to cater as much as possible to the widespread interest
that has been expressed in this theme by many museums and cultural institutions
throughout the country (see Newsletter 1/2003). The curator is Arno PaříCZK,
an art historian and authority on the history of synagogue architecture
who focuses his research on Jewish art and Jewish artists living in Bohemia
Each exhibition consists of
twelve wall panels which combine text and pictorial information in an
attractive graphic presentation. By viewing illustrations of ritual, historic
and artistic objects and documents, visitors have an opportunity to become
acquainted with the fundamentals of Judaism and the main Jewish festivals
and events in Jewish history. The exhibitions here also feature a group
of ritual objects related to certain Jewish communities in north Bohemia,
in particular Teplice, Děčín and Česka Lípa. Many of the exhibits also
document the contemporary life of local Jewish communities. The items
are being exhibited in display cases that have been donated to the Děčín
Synagogue by the Jewish Museum in Prague.
The exhibitions are complemented
by a large group of artworks by Josef Císařovský, which are on display
in the synagogue gallery. Most of the paintings are inspired by the Jewish
cemetery in Hostouň, Central Bohemia, from where the artist comes. This
project was prepared for the European Day of Jewish Culture.
RENOVATION OF THE ÚŠTĚCZKSYNAGOGUE
September 2003 saw the completion of a ten-year renovation project at
the ÚštěCZKSynagogue, which was organised by the Federation of Jewish
Commu-nities in the Czech Republic. A permanent exhibition comprising
two parts is currently being installed here. The first part will feature
the building’s original appurtenances and decoration which have been reconstructed,
together with exhibits from the Jewish Museum in Prague and several panels
containing basic information on the history of the synagogue and the ÚštěCZKJewish
community. The second part will provide an untraditional view of the history
and organisation of Jewish education in Bohemia, as well as of prominent
teachers and rabbis. In this way the ÚštěCZKSynagogue will create the
atmosphere of an authentic Jewish school – a heder, which, according to
local sources, was based here from 1851 onwards.
This important Jewish monument
has been rescued largely thanks to support from the Regeneration of City
Heritage Zones programme and a contribution from the International Fund
for the Help of Holocaust Victims. The permanent exhibition was put together
thanks to the help of the Jewish Museum in Prague and its Foundation.
EUROPEAN DAY OF JEWISH
As it does every year, the Museum once again tooCZKpart in the events
connected with the European Day of Jewish Culture (held on 7 September
2003). This year the Museum provided free access to the Jewish cemetery
in Žižkov and gave lectures at the Education and Culture Centre – Arno
PaříCZK: “The Prague Globetrotter” (about Robert Guttmann) and Michaela
Hájková: “The Jewish Presence in Contemporary Visual Art”.
DONATION OF 69 ORIGINAL DRAWINGS
BY EMIL ORLICZKThe Museum has acquired a set of 69 original drawings
by the important Jewish graphic artist and painter, Emil OrliCZK, a native
of Prague. These are portrait sketches of the participants of the March
1918 peace conference in Brest, Lithuania, where Emil OrliCZKwas sent
as a reporter. Among those portrayed are many important political figures
of the day, aristocrats, diplomats and military leaders (such as the chief
negotiator for Austria-Hungary Count Ottokar Czernin, Prince Leopold of
Bavaria, the chief negotiator for Germany Richard von Kühlmann, the Chief
Admiral of Turkey Hussein Raouf Bey).
OrliCZKlater used these precise
sketches, drawn in pencil and blacCZKchalCZK, as a basis for lithographic
portraits. His lithographs, which are more like caricatures than realistic
portraits, were printed in an album entitled “Brest-LitovsCZK1918”.
The set of drawings from the
OrliCZKestate were generously donated to the Museum by the artist’s niece
Anita Bollag from North Caldwell, New Jersey. This was arranged via the
Project Judaica Foun- dation, which is run by a long-term supporter of
the Museum MarCZKTalisman, and with the help of another long-term friend
of our institution, Rabbi Norman R. Patz, Chairman of the Society for
the History of CzechoslovaCZKJews. Some of the drawings will be on show
at an exhibition of OrliCZKportraits that the Museum will be presenting
to the public at the beginning of next year.
This donation significantly
enriches the large collection of OrliCZKs works in the Museum’s collection
and is of particular importance as a unique historical document.
ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF JEWISH COMMUNITIES, SETTLEMENTS AND MEMORIAL SITES IN
THE CZECH REPUBLIC
Despite growing public interest, the history of the Jewish community of
Bohemia and Moravia is still being documented in a fragmentary way; often,
the only available material for those interested in this topic are pre-war
publications and specific articles which are being supplemented only gradually
by more recent research. In an attempt to satisfy the needs of many inquirers,
the Museum has decided to gradually publish on its website the “Encyclopaedia
of Jewish Communities, Settlements and Memorial Sites in the Czech Republic.”
This worCZKis being put together by Museum employee Jiří Fiedler on the
basis of his private archive. It is the result of more than thirty years’
worCZKthat Mr. Fiedler has carried out in various localities, archives
and libraries, which formed the basis of his earlier booCZKJewish Sites
in Bohemia and Mora-via (published by Sefer, 1992; English version 1991).
The encyclopaedia entries, which are gradually being made accessible in
electronic form, are, however, far more extensive and detailed.
At present, about a fifth of
the total number of encyclopaedia entries (of which there will be several
thousand) have been completed. Photographic documents from the Museum’s
archive are either attached to the entries or can be ordered separately.
Individual entries can be purchased via the Museum’s website at www.jewishmuseum.cz.
To get an idea as to the content of the entries, you can looCZKup five
HANA’S SMALL SUITCASE
The story of a girl who did not return
With the support of the Jewish Museum in Prague, the publishing house
Portál has published a remarkable real-life story of a Jewish girl from
Moravia, Hana Brady, who died in the Auschwitz extermination camp. Her
story was reconstructed by Fumiko Ishioka, the founder of the Tokyo centre
for the study of the Holocaust, where, in 2000, a discovery was made of
a small suitcase belonging to Hana Brady, which bore the inscription:
Hanna Brady, 16. 5. 1931, orphan. The Czech edition includes an introduction
written by Hana’s brother Jiří Brady, who is now living in Canada. The
booCZKis intended for teachers of elementary schools as a supplement to
history lessons and for anyone interested in Second World War memoirs.
It can be ordered from the Museum’s address, by email: sales(z)jewishmuseum.cz,
or online at www.jewishmuseum.cz/shop/ashop.htm
Jorge Telerman, Culture Secretary, Municipal Assembly of Buenos Aires,
Peter A. Rafaeli, Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic in Philadelphia,
Deborah Lipstadt, USA
Douglas Greenberg, President of the foundation Survivors of the Shoah,