Number 1, 2010
Jewish culture online
|Judaica Europeana is a network of heritage institutions, which will bring Jewish culture to Europeana – a portal of Europe’s museums, archives and libraries. In 2010, Europeana will provide access to 10 million digital items with the help of targeted projects such as Judaica Europeana that are co-funded by the European Commission. Europeana’s target for 2015 is 15 million objects.
How does it work?
Judaica Europeana works with cultural institutions to digitize content which documents the Jewish contribution to European heritage. The dispersed, multilingual and multi-faceted Jewish collections will become accessible under the single digital roof of Europeana, whose sophisticated search engine will enable users to find, view and compare the treasures of Jewish culture.
Judaica Europeana Partners and their Collections
The project is led by the European Association for Jewish Culture in London and the Judaica Collection at the Goethe University Library in Frankfurt. The other members of the network are based in Amsterdam, Athens, Bologna, Budapest, Jerusalem, London, Paris, Rome, Toledo and Warsaw (see www.judaica-europeana.eu/partners.html). The list will grow as new members become involved. In this newsletter and its future editions, we shall present some objects from our Partners’ collections.
A spotlight on the photographic collection of the Jewish Museum of Greece
We shall begin with the fascinating collection of the Jewish Museum of Greece (JMG) in Athens, where documented Jewish presence dates back to the 3rd century BCE. The Museum’s artefacts reflect the history and traditions of the Romaniote and Sephardic Jews of Greece.
The collection of photographs and personal testimonies offer interesting vistas on Jewish life in Greek cities. There have been Jewish residents in Ioannina as early as 9th century CE; the presence of a significant community dates back to 1611 when Jews were settled by the Ottoman authorities in the city’s fortress. In 1912, the community welcomed liberation from Ottoman rule. The Romaniote Jews of Ioannina achieved high levels of cultural and economic development. Megali Rouga (the Main Street), next to the fortress, became the largest of the Jewish neighbourhoods with a prominent New Synagogue and a school. Today the Main Street is renamed after the poet and Talmudist Yossef Eliya and only traces of this neighbourhood remain after its population was decimated by the war.
Zanet Nahmias, who was born in 1925, paints a picture of a happy community:
A photograph from the Jewish Museum London tells a story
The Jewish Museum London (JML) re-opened recently following a £10m refurbishment. The new exhibition galleries place the Jewish story firmly in the wider context of British history. The collection reflects the diversity of the Jewish community and the stories of successive waves of immigrants from different continents.
One section of the exhibition is devoted to the Jewish refugees from continental Europe, who came to Britain in the 1930s. A photograph from the JML collection bears the caption ‘For the first time: W Finkler’s family 1 July 1930’. It shows the Finkler family who originally lived in Vienna: Walter, Hansi and their daughter Evelyn, who was born on 4 April 1930. As conditions for Jews in Austria grew increasingly worse under Hitler, the Finklers decided they must leave the country and they all had separate journeys to make.
Conferences and Seminars
A busy programme of conferences and seminars featuring Judaica Europeana has unfolded since the launch of the project in February 2010. A full list of events in Amsterdam, Berlin, Florence, Ravenna and Jerusalem can be seen at www.judaica-europeana.eu/events.html. A few highlights:
A Seminar on Digital Access to Jewish Collections in Germany took place in the imposing building of the Pergammon Museum in Berlin in March. The seminar was held jointly by the European Association for Jewish Culture (EAJC) and the Institute for Museum Research, Berlin (SMB). Presentations by Dr Rachel Heuberger (Goethe University, Frankfurt), Lena Stanley-Clamp (EAJC, London) and other speakers can be accessed at www.judaica-europeana.eu/events.html