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Judaica Collecti0ns

Global Migrations

February 26–June 28
August 27–December 13, 2019


University of California, Berkeley
Judaica Collections, Global Migrations

The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

University of California, Berkeley
2121 Allston Way, Berkeley, California 94720

February 26–June 28 & August 27–December 13, 2019

Galleries open Tuesday–Friday, 11am–4pm objects

Exhibition Team

Francesco Spagnolo and Shir Gal Kochavi

Ronnie Hecht, Alexandra Langer, Zhaolong Li (URAP)

Julie Franklin

Ernest Jolly

Jeanne Marie Acceturo

Gordon Chun Design


Major funding for The Magnes Collection comes from Karen and Franklin
Dabby, the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, the Helzel Family Foundation, the Koret
Foundation, Peachy and Mark (Z’l) Levy, the Magnes Leadership Circle, the
Magnes Museum Foundation, the Office of the Chancellor at the University of
California, Berkeley, Barbro and Bernard Osher, and Taube Philanthropies.

Additional funds for this exhibition were generously provided by Adam &

Victoria Freudenheim. Research for this project was made possible in part
by funds and resources provided by the Undergraduate Research Apprentice
Program (URAP).

Rabbinic seal “Ober Rabbiner M.B. Adler” (“Chief Rabbi, M.B. Adler”), brass,
Germany, 19th century, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,

2 2
no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark.
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city
running as well
Warsan Shire (b. 1988), “Home” (excerpt)

. . . la patrie, à savoir ce que les exilés,

les étrangers, tous les Juifs errants du
monde emportent à la semelle de
leurs chaussures . . .
(. . . the native land, what exiles,
foreigners, all the wandering Jews in
the world, carry away on the soles of
their shoes . . .)
Jacques Derrida, De l'hospitalité: Anne Dufourmantelle invite Jacques
Derrida à répondre, 1997 (Of Hospitality, Engl. transl. 2000)

Judaica Collections,
Global Migrations

The First World War (1914–1918) uprooted millions across

Europe, and beyond. Many Jews left Eastern and Southern
Europe, bringing with them prized personal and communal
belongings. In an attempt to rescue precious heritage from
imminent destruction, these “memory objects” often ended
up with museums, collectors, and art dealers in the West.

Siegfried S. Strauss (1893–1969) began collecting Jewish

objects in Germany in 1913, and continued through the
rise of the Nazi regime, whose anti-Semitic policies forced
Jewish collectors to find temporary shelters for their
possessions. Before he was interned in Buchenwald in 1938,
Strauss secured safe passage for his collection, moving it
to England. Once released, he followed it there, and later
brought it to the United States, first to New York, and later
to Los Angeles.

In 1968, The Magnes acquired more than four hundred

ritual objects, books, and manuscripts from the Siegfried S.
Strauss collection, as well as a detailed inventory, which
reflected Strauss’s knowledge of the materials (excerpts of
this original inventory are included in the exhibition texts).
These objects comprise the foundational Judaica holdings
of The Magnes.

Memory Objects closely investigates a selection of the twice-

displaced objects in the Strauss Collection, revealing the
compelling personal stories of migration and dispossession
that are often embedded within museum objects, and
questioning the very meaning of cultural heritage in a
time of fluctuating borders and identities. The exhibition
also highlights the recent gift of Ernst Freudenheim’s
Photosammlung, the photographic catalog of a Judaica
art dealer who was active in Germany at the time of
Strauss’ own collecting. The overlaps are significant, and
help broaden our understanding of the intersections of
dealership, private collecting, and public preservation of
the Jewish past.

Finally, the display is augmented by a precious porcelain

set that belonged to the Camondo family (of Istanbul
and Paris), whose history of displacement addresses the
broad implications of Jewish collecting activities up to the
Holocaust, and by new video work created by Citizen Film
(San Francisco) in the context of a UC Berkeley course,
Mapping Diasporas, which highlights how memory objects
continue to be relevant to the refugee experience to this day.

~Francesco Spagnolo
Rescuers, Dealers,
The interwar period marked a time of turbulence for Jewish
culture and tradition in Europe. The First World War had
left multiple Jewish communities destroyed and torn apart.
Survivors managed at times to rescue Jewish ritual objects,
which they often sold to collectors and dealers in order to
fund their migration. Such collectors expressed interest
not only in the quality of the objects, but also in cultural
salvage. In an effort to secure Jewish culture for posterity,
they established networks, and sold to other local and
international collectors and museums. A method frequently
used to facilitate the sale of objects was to create catalogs
and photographic albums showcasing the items available for

Ernst Simon Nathan Freundheim (Berlin 1904–Buffalo, NY

1986) was a businessman and an art dealer who specialized
in Judaica. After the implementation of the Nuremberg Laws
in 1935, as a Trustee of the Jewish Community of Berlin,
Freudenheim became active in Jewish educational activities,
in the Zionist cause, and in the attempts to free young
Jewish men arrested by the Nazis. He immigrated to the
United States in 1937, settling in Buffalo, New York, and was
joined later that year by his wife, Margot, and his two sons,
Robert and Tom.

1. Ernst Simon Nathan Freudenheim (Berlin 1904–Buffalo, NY

Photosammlung: Ernst Freudenheim, Jüdische Altkunst
(Photo Collection: Ernst Freudenheim, Ancient Jewish Art)
Berlin, Germany, December 31, 1929
Silver gelatin prints held in bound paper photo album
Gift of Tom Freudenheim, 2018.13.1

2. Hermann Struck (Germany and Palestine, 1876–1944)

Ex Libris Ernst Freudenheim
Berlin, Germany, 1917
Gift of Ernst Freudenheim, 85.5

In Berlin’s Hansaviertel district, Freudenheim lived in the

same building as Hermann Struck, a German Jewish artist who
later immigrated to Palestine. Struck designed this bookplate
to celebrate Freudenheim’s Bar Mitzvah.

Collectors as
Collecting Judaica in the interwar period was often marked
by a sense of urgency. Collectors not only were interested
in gaining ownership of precious and beautiful objects,
but also were focused on documenting traditional ways
of life, especially religious rituals, perceived to be waning
in the wake of modernity. In 19th-century Germany, many
secular and religious authorities already considered ritual
circumcision a surpassed practice. By the 20th century,
collectors of objects and texts pertaining to this ritual
viewed these artifacts as anthropological specimens from a
bygone era. The original inventory of the Strauss Collection
included an entire section devoted to ritual circumcision.

Labels in this font contain unedited notes from the original

Strauss Collection catalog.

1. Tray for brit milah (ritual circumcision) utensils and pidyion

ha-ben (redemption of the firstborn) ceremonies, depicting the
“binding of Isaac” and the signs of the Zodiac inscribed with the
monogram, “LM”
Lviv, Ukraine, 1817
Silver repousse
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,



repoussé with a border of signs of the Zodiak, the cavette
depicting the sacrifice of Isaac, with an angel staying
the hand of Abraham, two attendants with a mule and a ram
caught in thicket. According to the late Professor Narkiss of
the Bezallel-Museum Jerusalem, not later than 1775. However
comparing it with the workmanship of No. 9, this plate could
have been made by the Silversmith David from Schaffa, or
one of his pupils, so more as the chasing shows the same
delicate technique. Hallmark D over F, restamped Lemburg
1811. Until recently those plates were described as “PIDJAN

HABEN PLATES and one or more with the benedictions for the
Pidjan engraved are in the Jewish Museum, New York. However
the earliest pictures of a circumcision ceremony by Picart,
early 18th century, show the helper of the mohel holding an
oval silverplatter in his hands, ready for presenting or
receiving the instruments for the milah. In View of this,
it can be surmised that those platters were used in both
ceremonies. The first-born son is always brought in for the
FIDJAN Ceremony by his father on a silver platter.

2. Flask for disinfectant powder inscribed in Hebrew le-milah

(“for circumcision”)
18th century
Glass, silver
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,


POWDERGLASS with silver top: Inscription: “LEMILAH” Very

strong glass 1 1/2” square. Height 2 1/2”. Top chased, Empire
ornament, End of 18th century.

3. Painted manuscript prayer book for the ritual circumcision

Hebrew and French
Germany, 1714–1715
Ink and tempera on parchment, leather binding; 28 leaves
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,

Manuscript copy of sharvit ha-zahav, a commentary on

sod ha-shem by David ben Aryeh Yehudah Leyb of Lida
(d. 1696), Chief Rabbi of the Ashkenazi community of
Amsterdam, originally published as sod hashem ve-sharvit
ha-zahav (“The Secret of the Name and the Golden Scepter,”
Amsterdam, 1680). The manuscript also includes songs, the
text of the Grace After Meals, annotations in Hebrew and
French listing the items needed at the ceremony by the mohel,
a registry of names of six children circumcised by an owner of
the manuscript, and remedies against bleeding.


MOHELBOOK: Excerpts from “Sefer Hascharbit haschov etc”

written on vellum. Titlepage sepiadrawings with putti and
little angels. 1715. Very neat writing with pictures in
various colors which are partly damaged by wine stains. 3" by
5", leatherbinding, blind pressing, back damaged.

4. Ritual circumcision shield created for a boy named Israel Meir

Kohen, inscribed with the initials J[srael] M[eir] and, in Hebrew
on both sides, brit qodesh yisrael ben k” meir m[azal]”t[ov]
[5]573 (“Holy Covenant: Yisrael son of the Kohen Meir, under a
good star, 1812–1813”)
[Germany], 1812–1813
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,



JISROEL BEN C’(mar) MEIR” on one side. On the other side:
“M(assel) T(ov)” 1813. The latin letters J.M.wich are engraved
show however signs of an earlier date, about 1800.

5. Knife inscribed in Hebrew with a blessing for the ritual
Russia, 18th century
Silver, agate, and metal
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,


CIRCUMCISION KNIFE. Short handle of agate silvermounted on

top and ending in filigree knob. The silvertop of the handle
shows signs of Niello-work with Hebrew inscription, which
is hardly readable. About 1700, Ruassia. Length including
handle 8".

6. Sharpening stone for ritual circumcision knives inscribed in

Hebrew h”q shimshon (“Young Samson”)
Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 18th century
Stone (likely a type of Quartz)
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,


Brown oblong OILSTONE 6 3/4" used to sharpen mohelknives.

Engraved on one side: HK’ (meaning: hakoton) SHIMSHON.
Character of letters 18th century. From Hertz Loeb Zuntz,
Francfurt o/Main.

Portable Memories
Among the most common Judaica items included in
museum collections worldwide are small-sized objects,
such as Torah pointers, spice containers for the Havdalah
ceremony, cups for blessing the wine, Scrolls of Esther,
and, prominently, lamps for Hanukkah. A notable reason
for the global availability of such pieces is their portability.
While each individual ritual object carries its own distinctive
cultural and historical significance—often relating to specific
individuals, families, and communities as a whole—these
items also reflect a history of displacement.

1. Kiddush cup decorated with floral motifs, inscribed in Hebrew

with a biblical verse mentioning wine (Proverbs 23:31), a poem
about the ritual uses of wine, and, at bottom, with the name and
the initials of Zvi Hirsch Berliner, son of Rabbi Shelomoh, Head
of the Rabbinic Tribunal of London, and the year [5]620
London, United Kingdom, 1859–1860
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,

Cup inscribed either by or in honor of Zvi Hirsch Berliner

(London c.1800–Palestine 1872), one of four sons of Rabbi
Solomon Hirschel (or Herschel, 1762–1842), the first formally
recognized Chief Rabbi of the British Empire.


SILVERCUP with long Hebrew Poem engraved [. . .]. The father of

Rabbi Shelomoh Herschell was Rabbi Herschel Levis from Berlin
the picture (oilpainting) of the latter is in the Jewish
Museum in New York. The descendants who accepted the name of
“BERLINER” left the Jewish faith: They sold everything that
could remind them of their Jewish heritage. [. . .] The history
of the family ­
— with what is known by litterature can be
built up by those items.

2. Dish for Passover, depicting a bird and floral motifs, inscribed in
Hebrew with the word pesach (“Passover”) and the monogram
“D. L.”
Hanau, Germany, 17th century
Stoneware, glazed
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,


Fayence-plate. On brim the Hebrew letters: “PESACH” and two

other letters the meaning of which is not known (to me).
Glazed only on the inside while back is unglazed. Colors blue
and white. The inside of the plate shows a bird with leaves
in his beak, on a flowerbed. Probably Germany 17th century.
Hanau o/Main; very rare specimen.

3. Spice box
Nuremberg, Germany, [19th century]
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,



17th Cty. Chased castellated hexagonal body with pierced
Gothic arched door and windows, having imbricated spire and
four projecting small side towers with pennants, matching
larger pennant and ball finial; on tapering cylindrical
standard and cut scalloped base. Height 9 1/4" [. . .].

4. Spice box
Krakow, Poland, [18th century]
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,


Silver filigree ballform spice container. Diameter 1 1/4",

topped by a small filigree ball and pennon showing the stamp
“Krakow”, on an elegantly designed base and four wire filigree
feet. Possibly Moravian work? Or local. Silver ceremonial
objects stamped Krakow are extremely rare. Height 9"

5. Rabbinic seal “Ober Rabbiner M.B. Adler” (“Chief Rabbi,

M.B. Adler”)
Hannover, Germany, 19th century
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,

Belonged to Rabbi Marcus Baer Adler (1757–1834) of

Hannover, Germany. Acquired by Siegfried S. Strauss from the
collection of his grandson, Elkan Nathan Adler (1861–1946) of
London. Elkan Adler was a prominent book and manuscript
collector, with a particular interest in the Jewish communities
located in the British colonies of North Africa, Persia, and
Palestine. He was the son of Rabbi Nathan Marcus Adler,
Chief Rabbi of the British Empire (1845–1890).


Round brass seal with pierced stem. 7/8", 19th century.

Inscription in Italics: “Ober/Rabbiner/M.B. Adler” Hannover.
This seal comes from the collection of the late Elkan N. Adler/
London. Rabbi M.B. Adler was the father of the Chiefrabbi
Nathan Adler and grandfather of Chiefrabbi Herman Adler.

6. Attributed to Loeb Hertz Zunz (1775–1831)
Manuscript instructions and kabbalistic intentions for the ba‘al
toqe‘a (person sounding the shofar)
Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 19th century
Ink on parchment
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,

The Strauss Collection includes a total of seven items

that originally belonged to Hertz Loeb Zunz (1775–1831), a
member of a scholarly and rabbinic family that included the
philosopher and founder of the Wissenschaft des Judentums,
Leopold Zunz (1794–1886).


Parchment manuscript made by Loeb Hertz Zuntz from Frankfort

o/M. This one-leaf manuscript was meant for the “BA' AL
TOKEAH” and has cabbalistic centences. It is written to
remind the man who blew the SHOFAR about the intensions he
should have in his mind when blowing for the community. About
1800.Loeb Hertz Zuntz wrote this manuscript for his own use.
From the various objects in this collection, a vivid picture
can be drawn of a man who grew up in the ghetto of Frankfurt
made good in his profession and married a girl from a very
good family.

7. Carved and engraved shofar horn, inscribed in Hebrew with

biblical verses about the shofar (Psalms 81:4–5 and 98:6)
[18th century]
Horn, sealing wax (repair)
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,

A similar shofar, which belonged to the Great Synagogue

of London (destroyed in the “blitz” of May 10, 1941), is
reproduced in the Jewish Encyclopedia (New York–London,
Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1901–06, 11:301).


SHOFAR (Carved Ram's Horn) 24" long, blond colored, richly

engraved and carved on the lower rim as well as on the upper
one. On the lower side regular triangles are cut out while
on the top half-circles are cut out of the solid material.
An unusual UNIQUE specimen. Most certainly sephardic 17th
century. Rabbi Josef Karo the compiler of the SCHULCHAN ARUCH
did not allow the use of engraved Ram's Horn.

8. Torah ark key inscribed in Hebrew matanah le-beit ha-knesset
ha-gedolah (“gift to the great synagogue”) [5]485
Northern Italy, 1724–1725
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,


Silver key of a Torah-arc with Hebrew inscription reading:

5485 or 1725. Italy. Length” 4 1/4"

9. Torah pointer
Frankfurt, Germany, Lazarus Posen Witwe, 19th century
Silver and gold wash
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,


Silverpointer, 19th century probably 1890. partly gilded

made by the Jewish silversmith: Lazarus Posen Wwe. Berlin-
Francfurt o/Main. Length: 13 1/2"

10. Esther scroll manuscript, and case decorated with floral motifs
Mediterranean, n.d.
Silver case, ink on parchment
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,

Acquired from the collection of Elkan Nathan Adler (1861–

1946), London.


Esther-scroll written in Sephardic character of letters

probably from Mediterranean-country like Greece, Turkey or
Palestine, possibly India. Silver-cover in cylindrical form,
chased with flowers. Height of parchment: 4", full size
height: 7¾". Comes from the collection of Elkan Adler/London.

11. M[oisè] David Passigli
Ketubbah (marriage contract) for Michael ben Shemaryah
Borghi and Smeralda bat Daniel Passigli
Hebrew, Aramaic, and Italian
Siena, Italy, Friday, October 4, 1816
Watercolor, ink and gold metallic paint on vellum
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,

Painted manuscript, depicting a canopy containing a cherub

and two figures labeled “Hymen” (left) and “Concordia”
(right), after the Greek and Roman gods protecting marital
agreement, as well as blessings for the bride and groom
inscribed along the borders. Signed in Italian by the maker,
Moisè David Passigli, at the bottom of the document.


Ketubah (marriage contract) beautifully painted with the

figure of “Amor” on top under red and gold painted canopy
which shows French influence. On both sides women with the
inscription: “Concordia” under the right one and “Isny”
under the left figure. Groom: The noble Michael son of
the late Shemarjah Burgi “N(un) A(jin”) meaning: Nischmothau
Eden. Bride the modest Esmeralda daughter of the late Daniel
Phasili N(un) A(jin).
Especially attractive piece. Signed: M. David Pasigli fec.1816
Italy, Siena 1816.

Hanukkah Lamps
1. Hanukkah lamp from the Spanish-Portuguese community
Netherlands, 18th century
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection, a-b


Hanukkah-lamp, Brass repoussé - Dutch 18th century.

2. Hanukkah lamp depicting an oil jar and two olive trees (after
Zechariah 4:3)
No place, n.d.
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,

Lamp of unknown origins, acquired by Siegfried S. Strauss

with the belief that it originated from the Sephardic commu­
nity of Sarajevo, following, or even preceding, the expulsion
of Jews from Spain. There are no historical records of Jewish
presences in Sarajevo before the middle of the 16th century.


Hanukkah-lamp, copper repoussé, ornaments and ewer, very

early piece probably 15th century or even earlier. Romanesque
form. Only one similar formed piece in copper is known in
literature which belonged to the Jewish community of Sarajevo
and was dated 14th century. (See Jüdisches Lexicon vol. IV
Tafel CXXIV No. 12.)

3. Hanukkah lamp engraved with the emblem of the Della Torre

Piedmont, Italy, 18th century
Brass, glass
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection, a-i


Hanukkah-lamp, brass barock, beautifully chased. In the

middle the escutcheon of the Italian Family D'Alla Torre.
Tower flanked on both sides by rampant lions. Candleholders
of ruby glasses which fit into a horizontal scaffold. (18th
century. according to Narkiss) could be 17th.

4. Hanukkah lamp made from the front plate of a Pioneer (combat

engineer) helmet, with monogram “A.B.”
Germany, 18th century
Brass and iron alloy backing
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,


Hannukah-lamp applied ornaments of a helmet to an iron

sheet, Jewish soldiers when they finished with serving in
the Army often had the emblems of their helmets formed into
a Hannukah-lamp. This piece was previously a pioneer-helmet,
showing axes, sword, and a crown over letter A.B.

5. Sabbath and Hanukkah lamp featuring the emblem of the

Austro-Hungarian Empire
Bohemia, 18th century
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,


Hanukkah-lamp, brass. The back-middle consists of a crowned

double headed eagle, on the sides pillars with two rampant
lions and on the side of the pillars eagles in relief. The
usual two holders for Sabbath-candles on the sides. Bohemia,
18th century.

Lost Texts: Books,
Manuscripts, and
Beginning in the 19th century, the emancipation of European
Jews and the progressive abandonment of peripheral centers
in favor of city life led to the dismantling of communal and
rabbinic libraries. Rare Hebrew books and manuscripts
became increasingly available for purchase. In the interwar
period, collectors followed in the footsteps of earlier German
scholars of Judaism, and their interest in booklore made
Hebrew texts prized commodities. Following the movement
of people across the continent, precious liturgical and
kabbalistic texts, written and printed in Eastern and Southern
Europe, entered private and public collections worldwide.

1. machzor mi-kol ha-shanah ke-minhag qehilot qodesh ashkenaz . . .

(Prayer Book for the Entire Year According to the Custom of the
Holy Congregations of Ashkenaz . . . Vol. 1)
Venice, Giorgio de’ Cavalli, 25 Tevet 5328 [December 1567]
Ink on laid paper, bound with leather covered wood boards and brass
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection, (RB 3.05)

Includes undated manuscript ownership annotations in

Hebrew Ashkenazi cursive script (by a man named Mosheh
ben Avraham . . . Kohen), and in German (dated 1711).


MACHSOR according to the Minhag ASHKENAS Part one, printed in

Venice 1568 by “DI CAVALLI.” Part two printed in Venice 1600
by “SON DIGARA” both vols. folio.

2. Paul Christian Kirchner (17th–18th cent.) and Sebastian
Jugendres (1685–1765)
Jüdisches Ceremoniel, oder, Beschreibung derjenigen Gebräuche
. . . (Jewish Ceremonial Rites, or Description of Practices . . .)
Nuremberg, Peter Conrad Monath, 1726
Ink on laid paper, bound with board, paper and vellum
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase through a gift by Mr. & Mrs.
Harold Edelstein in memory of Frederick Kahn, Siegfried S. Strauss
collection, (RB 95)

First published in 1717, Jüdisches Ceremoniel, the detailed

description of Jewish ceremonial customs by Paul Christian
Kirchner, a Jewish convert to Christianity, was edited by the
Christian Hebraist Sebastian Jugendres in 1724, and re-issued
several times in the 18th century. Jugendres’ edition featured
twenty-eight copperplate engravings (nine signed by Johann
Georg Puschner) depicting a variety of Jewish rituals. The 1726
copy in the Strauss collection includes manuscript ownership
initials (“V.P.”) and scholarly annotations in German at the end
of the volume.


PAUL CHRISTIAN KIRCHNER: Jüdisches Ceremoniel oder

Beschreibung derjenigen Gebräuche welche sowohl die Juden
[. . .] Printed in Nürnberg at Peter Conrad Monath 1726, 226 pp
with copperplate etchings.

3. Isaac Tyrnau (14th–15th centuries) – Shim‘on Levi Guenzburg

(1506–1586; transl.)
Minhagim . . . fun ale minhagim in Ashkenaz, durkh das gantze
yior . . . ([Book of] Customs. All [ritual] customs in Ashkenaz
through the entire year)
Frankfurt [am Main], Seligman Reis, [5]468 [1708–1709]
Ink on cotton rag paper, bound with paper and board
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection, (RB 54)

4. Isaac Tyrnau (14th–15th centuries) – Shim‘on Levi Guenzburg
(1506–1586; transl.)
Minhagim . . . fun ale minhagim in Ashkenaz, durkh das gantze
yior . . . ([Book of] Customs. All [ritual] customs in Ashkenaz
through the entire year)
Frankfurt am Main, Zalman Hena, [5]474 [1713–1714]
Ink on cotton rag paper bound with leather and paper covered
wood board
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection, (RB 45)

Early 18th-century printings of the Judeo-German translation

of Tyrnau’s minhagim le-kol ha-shanah (Venice 1616; Mantua
1690), feature copperplate illustrations; the later copy includes
annotations in German by a man named Simon Gratz.


[1] MINHAGIM FRANKFURT (Germano-Jewish) Printed by Seeligman

Reis Francfort o/Main 1708, old parchment binding, 71 pp.21

[2] MINHAGIM-FRANKFURT, printed by Salmon Rens through Johann

Kelger, 1/2 leather 71 pp. 19 woodcuts 1714. Page 65 has been
removed on purpose, compare with No. 30 Minhagim books were
always much in use and accordingly not too well preserved. In
most of these Minhagim books the “Hilchoth Aveluth” have been
removed too, probably for superstitious reasoning. However
No. 32 has the full text.

5. Petrus Cunæus (Peter van der Kun, 1586–1638)
De Republyk der Hebreen
Daniel van den Dalen, Amsterdam, 1700
Ink on laid paper, re-bound with vellum covered board
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection, (RB 16)

Dutch translation of De Republica Hebraeorum (Leiden, 1617).

The volume includes a bookplate (“Zur bibliothek Seibertz
zu Wildenberg. No. 1230”) from the library of Johann Suibert
Seibertz (1788–1871), a German lawyer, legal scholar, and


P.CUNAEUS: De Republyk der Hebreen of Gemeenebest der

Joden, Amsterdam. Printed by Danjel van den Dalen, 1700 with
copperplates parchment binding of the time. 556 pp. small

6. Isaachar Behr ben Yehudah Moses Perlhefter (d. After 1701)

Ilan (Kabbalistic arboreal diagram)
[Prague], 17th century
Ink on parchment
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,

Arboreal (tree-shaped) diagrams illustrating Kabbalistic

emanations have been produced since the 13th century and
became an independent genre of Hebrew manuscript art in
the 1500s. This specimen is signed at the bottom of the long
scroll with the name be’er perlhefter. Born in Prague, Perhefter,
a rabbi and ritual scribe associated with 17th-century Jewish
messianic movements, lived in Bohemia, Austria, Germany,
and Italy. For a time, he was the rabbi of Mantua, a renown
Kabbalistic center in his days.


Cabbalistic scroll written on parchment 2 yards 28" long.

Width: 8 3/4". 17th century. Penmanship of extreme beauty.
Very rare specimen.

Empty Synagogues
The displacement of Jews following the First World War
dramatically increased the movement from smaller rural
communities to larger urban centers that had begun with
the 19th-century Emancipation. Many peripheral synagogues
were abandoned, and the ritual objects they contained
became available on the market. In Germany and Austria,
during Kristallnacht (the “night of [broken] glass”), a Nazi-
engineered pogrom carried out on November 9–10, 1938,
synagogue objects—especially books, manuscripts, and
textiles—were burned along with the buildings that housed
them. Thus, ritual objects collected before November 1938
acquired an even more symbolic meaning in the general
effort to preserve the Jewish past. Siegfried S. Strauss,
himself arrested and imprisoned at Buchenwald following
Kristallnacht, added notes to his collection inventory to
highlight the attempt to preserve what the Nazi regime was
intent on destroying.

1. Hanging lamp for Sabbath and Festivals

Netherlands, circa 1700
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,


Yellow-brass Portuguese Sabbath lamp 17th century. Consists

of one ornamented pierced bowl topping the seven-star oil-
holder. Drip-bowl at the bottom. Two rampant lions - one
sided relief - ending in a heavy cone shaped weight. Chased.
Very similar to pictures by Picart 1722. Length: 36"

2. Hanging lamp for Sabbath and Festivals
Germany, n.d.
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection, a-c


Yellow-brass Sabbath-lamp, four stars 16th or 17th century,

with drip-bowl. Perfectly symmetrical form.
Germany. Width 6", Heights 9".

3. Hanukkah lamp for the synagogue

Netherlands (or Northern Germany), ca. 1700
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection, a-k


Hanukkah-lamp, brass, two feet high with movable arms and

candleholders. Dutch (or near the Dutch frontier) 18th
century. Topped by a Magen David. Base is standing on three
dolphines. Traces of firegilt. Synagogue candelabrum.

4. Prayer synagogue plaque for Hanukkah, painted with depictions
of a nine-branched lamp surrounded by an arch, birds and floral
motifs, inscribed with the blessing for lighting the Hanukkah
candles, and with Hebrew poem, ma‘oz tzur yeshu‘ati (“Mighty
Rock of my Salvation”)
[Buttenwiesen, Bavaria], Germany, 18th century
Tempera and ink on linen-backed paper
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,

In his inventory list, Siegfried S. Strauss attributed this

and another painted manuscript in his collection to Eliezer
Zusman (Elieser Sussman), a Jewish artist from Brody, Galicia,
known for painting wooden synagogues in Bavaria, Germany,
in the early 18th century. Zusman’s surviving work (kept at the
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and at the Hällisch-Frankisches
Museum in Schwäbisch Hall, Germany) does not present any
similarities to these manuscripts, and Strauss’ attribution
cannot be confirmed.


Elaborately painted wall-panel - watercolors, 16" by 22"

early 18th century, ornamented with eagles on top of a
half-circle with the benedictions for lighting the Hanukkah-
lights. Inside the circle is a painting of an eight-branched
candelabrum and underneath are all the further benedictions
and the song: “Mouas Zur” including the last verse which has
often been omitted because of its implication. This version
of the text varies from other better known texts. Underneath
the prayers is an artistically shaped vessel for burning
incense, sided by flowers.

5. Painted synagogue plaque for counting the ‘omer, illustrated
with depictions of an arch and supporting columns, a lion, a
shell, vases and floral motifs, inscribed in Hebrew with prayers,
blessings, and liturgical instructions for the counting of the ‘omer,
medallions listing the 49 days of the count with corresponding
kabbalistic descriptions, Psalm 67, and the Kabbalistic liturgical
poem, ana be-koach
[Buttenwiesen, Bavaria], Germany, 18th century
Tempera and ink on linen-backed paper
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,

Mistakenly attributed by Siegfried S. Strauss to the

18th-century synagogue painter Eliezer Zusman (Elieser


Wall-panel of the same size as No. 15, same technique, early

18th century showing similar designs, flower vases on both
sides of a half circle, which shows a prayer to be said
before the actual “Sephira” and to prepare for the right
fervour. A lion holds a shield formed like a shell, which
shows the benediction. Underneath are in symmetrical order
49 circles which build a square, with the Hebrew number of
the day and with the cabbalistic interpretation. Both wall-
panels No. 15 & 16 have been recognized as being painted by
Salome ben Elieser Sussmann Katz who painted various wooden
Synagogues in Germany, like Bechhofen, etc. Most of them have
been destroyed by the Nazis end of 1938. However these two
panels were painted on linen-backed thick paper for a Rabbi
in Buttenwiesen-Schwaben, (Germany).

6. Torah ark curtain and valance inscribed in Hebrew and Aramaic

zot nidvat ha-chevra de-nashim de-poh gernsheyym bi-shnat
[5]610 le-p[rat]-q[atan] (“this is a gift of the women’s guild of
Gernsheim in the year [5]610”)
Gernsheim, Hesse, Germany, 1849–1850
Cotton velveteen, silver metallic embroidery floss and cardboard
embroidery substrate
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection, a-b (75.183.2a-b)

Jewish presence in Gernsheim, near Worms, dated back to

the 15th century, and peaked in the late 19th century with a
population of less than 100 people. A synagogue, inaugurated
in 1845, housed a school and a ritual bath. The community was
attacked during Kristallnacht, and ceased to exist by 1942.


Torah-curtain, large dark-blue velvet, from Gernsheim o/Rhine.

Germany, Relief Silverthreaded embroidery; Crown supported by
two rampant lions and two clasped hands. Inscription: “This
has been donated by the womens-chevra, Gernsheim 5410 i.e.
1850. The KAPPORETH or toppiece shows in fine silverthread
embroidery the Showbread, the Altar and the Well.

7. Wimpel (Binder for Torah scrolls made from Circumcision
cloth) for a child named Menachem, son of Matityahu, known
as Emanuel Gans, born on Saturday, the second of Av [5]627
(August 3rd, 1867)
Herlinghausen, Germany, 1867–1868
Pigment and ink on linen
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss collection,

Purchased in London from Mrs. Ida Perle-Heinemann,

the widow of Felix Perle (1875, Breslau–1940, London), a
prominent member of the Breslau Jewish community and the
founder the Jewish Museum in Breslau (established in 1928).

The child for whom the wimpel was made, Emanuel Gans, was
born on Saturday, the 2nd of Av, 5627. This information allows
to identify him as born on August 3, 1867, in Harlinghausen,
Warburg in west Germany. According to information kept at
the National Archives in Prague, Gans was deported from
Berlin to Theresienstadt on August 28, 1942 (Transport I/54,
No. 5596), and died there on September 9 of the same year.
Out of 100 people deported with him, only three survived the


Menachem bat Matithiahu (named Emanuel) Gans born on

Shabbath Kodesh, 2nd Av 1867. This piece has hardly been
used practically because of its extremely good condition
and almost untouched colors. Wherever possible the artist
painted a goose (Gans) in, it shows a nice designed vase
with flowers—the world Chuppah is flanked by two soldiers in
typical Prussian uniforms as a sign of time, which was not
long before the Franco-Prussian war. This binder comes from
Breslau where it was on exhibit and belonged before to the
late Felix Perle from Breslau. Could well be from Silesia.
“The Prussian Eagle with sword” is in a prominent place.

8. Ghetto Theresienstadt
Theresienstadt Ghetto Todesfallanzeige (Death Certificate):
Emanuel Gans, Tr. Nr. I/54 5596
Terezín, Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic), 9.9.1942
Courtesy of National Archives Prague, collection Židovské matriky,
subcollection Ohledací listy - Ghetto Terezín, volume 2

Layers of
(Dis) possession
Banker Nissim Camondo (1830–1889), the scion of a Seph­
ar­dic family from Spain that settled in Istanbul, married Elise
Fernandez in 1855. This porcelain service was fabricated in
Paris in celebration of their marriage. In 1869, Nissim and
his brother, Abraham Behor (1829–1889), moved to Paris
with their families, and settled in the neighborhood of Parc

Nissim’s son, Moïse de Camondo (1860–1935), maintained

a lavish collection of 18th-century French decorative and fine
art in the family’s mansion. In 1891, he married Irène Cahen
d'Anvers (1872–1963), who, along with her sisters, had been
the subject of paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Their son,
also named Nissim (1892–1917), a pilot in the French Air
Force, died in combat during the First World War. Moïse
donated his mansion and its collections to the Decorative
Arts Society of Paris, to house a museum named after
Nissim. Their daughter, Béatrice (b. 1893), was deported
from Paris during the Nazi occupation of France, and died in
Auschwitz along with her husband, composer Léon Reinach
(b. 1893), and their two children.

We do not know how this collection of fragile porcelain

traveled safely from Paris to Istanbul to the United States.
It was donated to The Magnes in 1999.

The Nissim de Camondo Museum can be visited today at 63,

rue de Monceau. A celebrated memoir by the British artist
and author, Edmund de Waal, The Hare with Amber Eyes
(2010), tells the parallel history of another family who were
the Camondo’s neighbors, the Ephrussis, whose collection
was looted by the Nazis. In November of 2018, de Wall gave
what was left of the Ephrussi collection on long-term loan to
the Jewish Museum in Vienna, and sold remaining items at
auction to benefit the Refugee Council, a UK charity.

Porcelain table service inscribed with the monogram, “NC”
[Nissim Camondo]
Paris, France, Julien Fils Ainé, 1855
Hard-paste porcelain
Gift of James Katz in Memory of General Hippocratis Papavasiliou and
Mrs. Alexandra Papavassiliou, 99.1.1-10

From Edmund de Waal. The Hare With Amber Eyes. London, Random House,

“As I walk down the hill from the Hôtel Ephrussi . . . I’m
conscious that many of the houses I pass have these stories
of reinvention embedded in them. Almost everyone who
built them started somewhere else. Ten houses down
from the Ephrussi household, at number 61, is the house
of Abraham Camondo, with his brother Nissim at 63 and
their sister Rebecca . . . at number 60. The Camondos,
Jewish financiers like the Ephrussi, had come to Paris from
Constantinople by way of Venice. . . . At number 55 is the
Hôtel Cattaui, home to a family of Jewish bankers from
Egypt. At number 43 is the palace of Adolphe de Rothschild
. . . ” (51–52)

“In libraries, I stumble across things that lead onwards,

sideways. . . . I am winded to find that Louise [Cahen
d’Anvers’] house . . . was used by the Nazis as one of their
Paris detention camps. It was one of three annexes of the
Drancy concentration camp where Jewish inmates had
to sort, clean and repair furniture and objects stolen by
Rosenberg’s organisation for the functionaries of the Reich.
Then, terribly, there is a note in brackets that the girl in the
blue dress in Renoir’s double portrait of [her] daughters
had been deported and had died in Auschwitz. And then
I find that Fanny and Theodore Reinach’s son Leon and
his wife Beatrice Camondo and their two children were
deported. . . .” (375–376)

What We Carry
With Us
A Refugee Story lab
In an effort to better understand and respond to the worst
refugee crisis since the 1940s, the San Francisco-based
documentary firm Citizen Film and The Magnes Collection
of Jewish Art and Life have been immersed in a multi-year
initiative that brings refugees together to tell their stories
and engage audiences in reflection and dialogue. Assuming
the role of curators in an ongoing series of public exhibitions
and events, refugees ranging in age from 18 to 25 gather
their most prized possessions and explore those belongings
in films, interactive audiovisual installations, and digital
maps. Designed collaboratively by refugees and a team of
filmmakers, digital artists, museum curators, and students
enrolled in the UC Berkeley course, Mapping Diasporas,
a growing collection of objects and multimedia art offers
a striking glimpse of what it means to leave home, when
home, in the words of refugee poet Warsan Shire, “is the
mouth of a shark.”


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