Provenance research on Judaica and other holdings in the Museum Synagoge Gröbzig since 1933
- Anett Gottschalk
- Tim Schauer
- June 2020 to May 2021
The Museum Society Gröbziger Synagoge e.V. was founded on August 31, 2017 and acts as the sponsor of the Museum Synagoge Gröbzig. Its primary aims are to teach about and preserve Jewish culture and history as well as ensuring the ongoing conservation and research of its collection. In order to achieve its goals, the society receives support from the state of Saxony-Anhalt, the district of Anhalt-Bitterfeld and the city of Southern Anhalt, which is the owner of the building complex and the collection.
The synagogue of the Israelite religious community was consecrated in Gröbzig in 1796. In the 18th and 19th centuries, urban life was strongly influenced by Jewish citizens who made up 15 to 20 percent of the total population. It is for this reason that the name “Judengröbzig” started to be used in the vernacular. In the middle of the 19th century, Gröbzig even had a Jewish mayor and a city council composed in large parts of Jewish citizens for the duration of two terms.
The synagogue complex has been continuously expanded since 1858. In addition to the synagogue, the museum's current precincts also include a classroom, a coach house for the hearse, an entrance portal and a residential building for the cantor and butcher of the community.
The buildings and parts of the inventory survived the period of National Socialism almost unscathed, since the local society used the synagogue as a municipal museum from 1934 onward. Before this saving conversion, some cult objects were transferred to the main synagogue in Dessau. During his time in office, the voluntary museum administrator Friedrich Fuchs (1888-1955) repeatedly removed property from the apartments of Jewish citizens and added it to the museum’s collection. Therefore, the provenance of the individual sacred and mundane objects is often obscure and forms the central interest of the present research project. The investigation is aimed at having two primary outcomes: ascertaining that all objects within the museum’s collection are legal acquisitions as per the Washington Declaration and the Joint Declaration, and determining whether any objects of the museum’s original inventory are missing.