Provenance research conducted at two privately funded Jewish museums for the first time
The Jewish Museum of Westphalia in Dorsten (North Rhine-Westphalia) and Museum Synagoge Gröbzig (Saxony-Anhalt) are beginning to systematically examine their collections in order to identify property that may have been confiscated by the Nazis. These research activities have been made possible thanks to funding from the German Lost Art Foundation. It is the first time that privately funded Jewish museums have received financial support from the Foundation for provenance research.
The Jewish Museum of Westphalia was newly established in 1992. It is a private institution run by the Association for Jewish History and Religion. When the museum was founded, there was no existing collection of objects to build on. Instead, a collection was created largely through acquisitions from Judaica auctions and antique dealers, and to a lesser extent through donations. Ritual objects make up the majority of the current collection; these were acquired by the museum and its founders between 1988 and 1991. Many of these objects are presumed to have once been owned by Jewish families. Another part of the collection consists of documents, letters and books, many of which have inscriptions indicating their origin or owner. The project is examining whether the objects came onto the market after being seized from victims of Nazi persecution.
A systematic inventory check is to be conducted at the privately run Museum Synagoge Gröbzig to examine the provenance of items in its holdings. Museumsverein Gröbziger Synagoge e.V., a museum association formed in 2017, is the body responsible for the museum. The synagogue of Gröbzig’s Jewish community was inaugurated in 1796. In 1934, the Jewish community was compelled to hand over the synagogue complex to the town of Gröbzig, who set up a museum of local history on the premises. Various unclear changes were subsequently made to the inventory. The origin of approx. 250 inventoried objects that were added to the collection of the local history museum will be examined as part of the project.
Jewish Museum of Westphalia (only German version)
Museum Synagoge Gröbzig (only German version)