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Jewish Museum of Westphalia publishes brochure on provenance research project

Datum 03.08.2022

The Jü­di­sches Mu­se­um West­fa­len (Je­wish Mu­se­um of West­pha­lia) has pu­blis­hed a bro­chu­re on its pro­ve­nance re­se­arch pro­ject, which has be­en fun­ded by the Ger­man Lost Art Foun­da­ti­on sin­ce May 2020 and is now com­ple­te. 60 pa­ges in length, the bro­chu­re pres­ents the re­sults of one and a half years of schol­ar­ly work.

As is shown ba­sed on a num­ber of ex­amp­les, re­se­arch in­to Ju­dai­ca and eve­r­y­day ob­jects fa­ces par­ti­cu­lar chal­len­ges. Ri­tu­al ob­jects da­ting back to the 19th and ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ries, cand­le­sticks, be­sa­mim bo­xes and al­so me­dal­li­ons we­re mass-pro­du­ced items. If they are not ma­de of pre­cious me­tal, they ha­ve no hall­mark or ma­nu­fac­tur­er’s mar­king, and of­ten they be­ar no in­s­crip­ti­on. Even in the ca­se of ob­jects which do be­ar an in­s­crip­ti­on but are of un­cer­tain ori­gin, it is dif­fi­cult to iden­tify the ow­ner.

Ne­vert­he­less, it was pos­si­ble to iden­tify the for­mer ow­ners of so­me books ba­sed on in­s­crip­ti­ons, no­tes, book­pla­tes and stamps. In ad­di­ti­on to re­sti­tu­ti­ons to the Je­wish com­mu­ni­ties in Frank­furt am Main and Mu­nich, it was pos­si­ble for one book to be re­sto­red to its right­ful ow­ners in the UK. The re­ci­pi­ent is the grand­daugh­ter of the for­mer ow­ner. The day be­fo­re her de­par­ture by Kin­der­trans­port in Ju­ly 1939, she took lea­ve of her grand­fa­ther for the last ti­me. Her grand­fa­ther was la­ter de­por­ted and mur­de­red. So her joy was all the grea­ter when, as a 90-ye­ar-old in Oc­to­ber 2020, she was ab­le to hold the pray­er book in her hands on­ce again.

It was pos­si­ble to trace cer­tain de­tails, and new in­sight was gai­ned in­to so­me of the ex­hi­bits. “If the­re was one thing we sad­ly had to bid fa­re­well to in this pro­ject, ho­we­ver, it was the idea that all ca­ses would be sol­ved,” said mu­se­um di­rec­tor Dr. Kath­rin Pie­ren. “Even af­ter com­ple­ti­on, ma­ny ques­ti­ons re­main un­ans­we­red. But gi­ven our com­pre­hen­si­ve do­cu­men­ta­ti­on of the re­se­arch in the col­lec­ti­on da­ta­ba­se and the trans­pa­rent hand­ling of open ques­ti­ons as well as on­going main­te­nance of the net­works esta­blis­hed, we ho­pe to be ab­le to sol­ve fur­ther ca­ses in the fu­ture and con­ti­nue to re­turn ob­jects to their right­ful ow­ners – we owe it to them.”

The bro­chu­re can be or­de­red from the Jü­di­sches Mu­se­um West­fa­len at a pri­ce of 6 eu­ros plus pos­ta­ge. For fur­ther de­tails, see: htt­ps://www.jmw-dors­

Jewish Museum of Westphalia publishes brochure on provenance research project Jewish Museum of Westphalia publishes brochure on provenance research project Provenance researcher Sebastian Braun handing over two books to Marc Grünbaum, head of the Frankfurt Jewish Community’s Department of Culture Quelle:  Jüdisches Museum Westfalen