Berlin Museum acquires large collection of anti-Semitic artifacts amassed by German who helped Jewish people hide from Nazis


The German Historical Museum in Berlin has acquired a collection of 15,000 objects which bear witness to the history of anti-Semitism over two centuries in Europe. The purchase of the collection, assembled by the late Wolfgang Haney, ensures that it remains intact and will not be sold on the open market, the museum said in a statement.

Haney, born in 1924 and died in 2017, helped Jews hide from the Nazis during the Holocaust, including his mother, who hid in a forest east of Berlin from 1943. Because ‘he married a Jewish person, Haney’s father was forced into slave labor. After World War II, Haney and his wife, also a Holocaust survivor, visited schools to educate children about the crimes of the Nazis.

In the 1980s he started collecting postcards, posters, flyers, coins, newspapers, magazines, documents, stickers, figurines, photographs and films which testify to the anti sentiment. -juif for the express purpose of making them available to museums and archives as educational tools. . He invested around 1 million euros in his collection, which includes a series of posters relating to the Dreyfus affair, armbands, diaries, passports and drawings of Jews imprisoned in concentration camps, as well as publicity material for the infamous Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda film Jud Süss. (1940).

The collection was on display in a number of museums during his lifetime, including the Jewish Museums in Frankfurt and Berlin, the Imperial War Museum in London, and the US Holocaust Museum in Washington. “No museum or archive has collected such objects in a comparable way,” explains Markus Hilgert, secretary general of the State Cultural Foundation, which has contributed € 95,000 to the purchase of the collection.

The German Historical Museum claims that the origins of some of the objects in the collection raise ethical questions, in particular the personal documents of Holocaust victims. These will be transferred to the Arolsen Archives, an international center of Nazi persecution originally created to locate the victims.

The collection also includes pieces of Torah scrolls that were looted from synagogues in Eastern Europe and used by German soldiers as wrapping paper. The German Historical Museum is cooperating with the Conference on Jewish Claims to identify them and determine the best course of action. Another research project in cooperation with the Berlin Antisemitism Research Center will focus on anti-Semitic images and figurines.

The collection “will help us and our visitors to better understand how prevalent anti-Semitic views, images and hate propaganda were in Germany and other European countries from the mid-19th century onwards,” Raphael said. Gross, director of the German Historical Museum. .

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