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“Jew in a Box” Exhibit in Germany

Apparently museum curator Miriam Goldmann feels that Germans have not been exposed to sufficient “in-your-face” Jewish identity manifestations and that more of their “emotional barriers” need to be dismantled. At least that’s how she explains the purpose of the exhibit she organized: “…in your face” approach is the best way to overcome the emotional barriers and deal with a subject that remains painful for both Jews and non-Jews.”
The volunteers (described as German Jews and Israeli Jews, although we have been told by reliable Israeli authorities that there are no American Jews, British Jews, French Jews, etc, but only Jews who happen to live in the US, the UK, France etc) are made to sit for as long as two hours at a time in glass box, which seems rather unsafe. A watch tower on top of a wall might have made them feel more secure and provide the comfort of familiarity to the “Israeli Jews.”
This Associated Press article, incidentally, has at least 7 separate sentences referring to the “Holocaust,” “Nazi,” and “Hitler” and only one referring to Palestine, although one would expect (mistakenly as it turns out) that more of the visitors might wish to question the “exhibit Jews” of today about their attitude toward Israel/Palestine than about the historic event of almost 70 years ago whose free discussion can send people to prison in Germany.

Exhibit of Jews in Germany raises interest, ire

By KIRSTEN GRIESHABER | Associated Press 


BERLIN (AP) — “Are there still Jews in Germany?” ”Are the Jews a chosen people?”

Nearly 70 years after the Holocaust, there is no more sensitive an issue in German life as the role of Jews. With fewer than 200,000 Jews among Germany’s 82 million people, few Germans born after World War II know any Jews or much about them.

To help educate postwar generations, an exhibit at the Jewish Museum features a Jewish man or woman seated inside a glass boxfor two hours a day through August to answer visitors’ questions about Jews and Jewish life. The base of the box asks: “Are there still Jews in Germany?”

“A lot of our visitors don’t know any Jews and have questions they want to ask,” museum official Tina Luedecke said. “With this exhibition we offer an opportunity for those people to know more about Jews and Jewish life.”

But not everybody thinks putting a Jew on display is the best way to build understanding and mutual respect.

Since the exhibit — “The Whole Truth, everything you wanted to know about Jews” — opened this month, the “Jew in the Box,” as it is popularly known, has drawn sharp criticism within the Jewish community — especially in the city where the Nazis orchestrated the slaughter of 6 million Jews until Adolf Hitler’s defeat in 1945.

“Why don’t they give him a banana and a glass of water, turn up the heat and make the Jew feel really cozy in his glass box,” prominent Berlin Jewish community figure Stephan Kramer told The Associated Press. “They actually asked me if I wanted to participate. But I told them I’m not available.”

The exhibit is reminiscent of Holocaust architect Adolf Eichmann sitting in a glass booth at the 1961 trial in Israel which led to his execution. And it’s certainly more provocative than British actress Tilda Swinton sleeping in a glass box at a recent performance at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Eran Levy, an Israeli who has lived in Berlin for years, was horrified by the idea of presenting a Jew as a museum piece, even if to answer Germans’ questions about Jewish life.

“It’s a horrible thing to do — completely degrading and not helpful,” he said. “The Jewish Museum absolutely missed the point if they wanted to do anything to improve the relations between Germans and Jews.”

But several of the volunteers, including both German Jews and Israelis living in Berlin, said the experience in the box is little different from what they go through as Jews living in the country that produced the Nazis.

“With so few of us, you almost inevitably feel like an exhibition piece,” volunteer Leeor Englander said. “Once you’ve been ‘outed’ as a Jew, you always have to be the expert and answer all questions regarding anything related to religion, Israel, the Holocaust and so on.”

Museum curator Miriam Goldmann, who is Jewish, believes the exhibit’s provocative “in your face” approach is the best way to overcome the emotional barriers and deal with a subject that remains painful for both Jews and non-Jews.

“We wanted to provoke, that’s true, and some people may find the show outrageous or objectionable,” Goldmann said. “But that’s fine by us.”

The provocative style is evident in other parts of the special exhibition, including some that openly raise many stereotypes of Jews widespread not only in Germany but elsewhere in Europe.

One includes a placard that asks “how you recognize a Jew?” It’s next to an assortment of yarmulkes, black hats and women’s hair covers hanging from the ceiling on thin threads. Another asks if Jews consider themselves the chosen people. It includes a poem by Jewish author Leonard Fein: “How odd of God to choose the Jews. But how on earth could we refuse?”

Yet another invites visitors to express their opinion to such questions as “are Jews particularly good looking, influential, intelligent, animal loving or business savvy?”

Despite the criticisms, the “Jew in the Box” has proven a big hit among visitors.

“I asked him about the feelings he has for his country and what he thinks about the conflict with Palestine, if he ever visited Palestine,” visitor Panka Chirer-Geyer said. “I have Jewish roots and I’ve been to Palestine and realized how difficult it was there. I could not even mention that I have Jewish roots.”

On a recent day this week, several visitors kept returning to ask questions of Ido Porat, a 33-year-old Israeli seated on a white bench with a pink cushion.

One woman wanted to know what to bring her hosts for a Shabbat dinner in Israel. Another asked why only Jewish men and not women wear yarmulkes. A third inquired about Judaism and homosexuality.

“I guess I should ask you about the relationship between Germans and Jews,” visitor Diemut Poppen said to Porat. “We Germans have so many insecurities when it comes to Jews.”

Viola Mohaupt-Zitfin, 53, asked if Porat felt welcome as a Jew living among Germans “considering our past and all that.”

Yes, Porat said, Germany is a good place to live, even as a Jew. But the country could do even more to come to terms with its Nazi past, he added. He advised the would-be traveler that anything is permissible to bring to a Shabbat dinner as long as it’s not pork.

“I feel a bit like an animal in the zoo, but in reality that’s what it’s like being a Jew in Germany,” Porat said. “You are a very interesting object to most people here.”

Dekel Peretz, one of the volunteers in the glass box, said many Germans have an image of Jews that is far removed from the reality of contemporary Jewish life.

“They associate Jews with the Holocaust and the Nazi era,” he said. “Jews don’t have a history before or after. In Germany, Jews have been stereotyped as victims. It is important that people here get to know Jews to see that Jews are alive and that we have individual histories. I hope that this exhibit can help.”

Still, not everyone believes this is the best way to promote understanding.

Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal from the Jewish Chabad community in Berlin said Germans who are really interested in Jews and Judaism should visit the community’s educational center.

“Here Jews will be happy to answer questions without sitting in a glass box,” he said.

29 Responses to “Jew in a Box” Exhibit in Germany

  1. pgg804 March 30, 2013 at 3:31 am #

    As David Irving says in one of his speeches, “they crank it up and up and up and up and up” and then when the blowback comes they always ask “why us”.

    “With fewer than 200,000 Jews among Germany’s 82 million people, few Germans born after World War II know any Jews or much about them.” Germany had only about 500,000 Jews at its peak in 1933. Few Germans knew Jews then either.

    But I doubt Germans or anyone else in the west doesn’t know much about them. I don’t know of any group that talks about themselves as much as Jews and they use the media to tell the whole world about themselves and how wonderful they are.

  2. David Holden March 30, 2013 at 7:37 am #

    “…especially in the city where the Nazis orchestrated the slaughter of 6 million Jews…”

    great investigative journalism! lest anyone forget, at this time when we all celebrate Tourism,

    FACT 1 top nazis caught red-handed trying to bury six million sets of false teeth, all circumcised and wearing tiny hand-sewn yarmulkes! bit of a giveaway!!

    FACT II and that was before Jurgen Holzfeller was caught in 1946 crossing illegally into Hungary in an articulated lorry loaded with 24,000,000 lampshades made from human skin.

    it is something to be thankful that all things Jewish make good glass box-office. this will help the goyim never to forget the crimes committed against God’s people.

  3. fool me once... March 30, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    Miriam Goldmann was keen to suggest
    That German sensitivities be put to the test
    Something original to make the Krauts think
    About the past and to cause a schtink
    Original was a problem, too much like hard work
    So forget Vorsprung Technik and for that matter, durch
    Out came the glass sheet, a box all shiny and new
    But unlike Jack, there in jumped a jew
    Look at me, look at me, me, me, me, me
    Suffering again, again and again, only ten Marks to see
    Understanding this jew art installation
    Will require at lot of, may I say, concentration
    Encased in a glass chamber for all to see
    Mind though, not an invite for real scrutiny
    Security is high for this crystal bane
    It’ll enrich your guilt, go ahead, feel the pane
    Yes a dish served cold but oh so sweet
    To engage German emotion, now ain’t that neat?
    Contemplate this olm and study it’s fate
    No mention of oven, just jew sushi and pyrex plate
    Prominent Berliner Herr Kramer tried wise counsel
    Reminding volk of their past misdeeds that were global
    He didn’t care too much for a casket of ice and some jews
    More pre-occupied with 6 million and allusions to zoos
    Herr Levy an israeli horrified by the piece
    Said it was degrading and considered calling the police
    So remember when expressing thoughts out of the box
    Keep your eyes closed shut and cover your locks
    For if your path happens to cross with the jew Master Race
    The response, as Miriam has warned, will be “in your face”.

    • David Holden March 30, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

      a minor masterpiece of versification!

  4. pgg804 March 31, 2013 at 12:31 am #

    I think Germany could learn a few things from Greece (and Hungary).

    Greek neo-Nazi party calls for boycott of WJC’s Lauder

    Golden Dawn questions Holocaust commemoration day in Greece

    • benny jetzt March 31, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

      My question seems to have knocked up against a spam filter of some kind. Apparently the editors don’t want to be named publicly.

      So let me rephrase the question.

      pgg804’s post lauds German neo-Nazis and the Golden Dawn. Does this strike the editors as consistent with the politics of the site. or inconsistent with the politics of the site?

      • Roy Bard April 1, 2013 at 11:03 am #

        Hello ‘newbie’.

        It seems that you need to explain some stuff before your questions can be answered.

        1) How have you identified the ‘editors’ of this site?
        2) What are the ‘politics’ of this site?
        3) What is your problem with the post, and what do you think should be done about it?
        4) Have you ever posted to this site before?
        5) Are you here as a gatekeeper, troll or both?

        • benny jetzt April 1, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

          So, your reply is evasion and misdirection, along with more than a little paranoia. Not unexpected, but disappointing.

          • fool me once... April 1, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

            Come on BJ, don’t be all unfriendly now, you’ve only just arrived. If you hadn’t been so hasty with the nasties and taken the time to read a few articles you will have quickly learned the answers to your queries.
            “So, your reply is evasion and misdirection,”
            On the contrary, your avoidance of answering the questions demonstrates evasion. And your refusal to accept the road map of investigation offered, that you threw on the table namely;
            “3) What is your problem with the post, and what do you think should be done about it?”
            is clearly, misdirection on your part.
            So before start giving people a mouthful, maybe you should deLiberate and ponder the discussions and views in the articles and the comment section. Give it a try or as the saying goes “Suck it and see”, eh BJ?

          • Roy Bard April 1, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

            It is easy enough to work out who I am and what my politics are by reading these boards. But you aren’t the first poster (although you may be the only person) to start their usually short stay here by giving nothing and demanding everything.

            I don’t jump through hoops for trolls or gatekeepers.

            Perhaps you should try offering your own rebuttal of Deadbeat’s political position instead of expecting others to do it for you.

          • benny jetzt April 1, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

            Think of it as yet another little ethical examination you failed.

            Your fundamental premise is that it is somehow so blazingly, sunlight-at-midnight self-evident that you’re not an anti-Semite that you can defend anti-Semitic posts all day long without the slightest whiff of an echo of a taint attaching itself to you. The stench of the posts you defend careens off you like dirt off Alec Guinness’s eponymous White Suit, you believe.

            But most people, when looking at you, see a guy who can always find his pretext to fail to fight anti-Semitism. You consider yourself Captain Racismfighter, flying about in your leotard and cape, but somehow anti-Semitism is your kryptonite, causing you to collapse in a puddle of evasive passivity.

            When asked, for example, whether you considered David Irving to be an anti-Semite, the little moist puddle on the floor that you became that very instant could not even eke out a “yes.” David Freaking Irving couldn’t get a squeak out of you. The KKKlansman video posted on this site – no squeak from you. That cartoon about the “Jewish Illuminati” – no squeak. The post above supporting German neo-Nazis – no squeak until I made you squeak. And so on.

            What can you say about a guy who can’t bring himself to say “David Irving is an anti-Semite” but will create a site for the likes of Clark-Lowes?

            At this point, I think most people who have followed the controversy would be more surprised if you were to say “it’s true, the gas chambers at Auschwitz are not a Jew/zionist lie” than if you were to say “I’ve joined up with the EDL.”

            So yes, now, please go back now to your imperious set of questions for me to ignore. That will spare your having to address the topic you are blowing so badly.

          • Roy Bard April 1, 2013 at 11:57 pm #

            (although you may be the only person) <<< so predictable. I know what I think thanks - so I guess you're playing to some kind of audience now... Are you here to debate? If not then your presence here is neither compulsory, necessary nor welcome. If you are then why not tell us what your problem with Deadbeat's post is? And why it gets you all frothy at the mouth....

          • fool me once... April 1, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

            For you BJ, a musical treat to help you get over your insincere disappointment. Here’s israeli lovin’ EJ singing about your user name. The opening lyrics…
            “Hey kids, shake it loose together
            The spotlights hitting something
            That’s been known to change the weather
            Well kill the fatted calf tonight
            So stick around”
            …do they strike a chord?

          • fool me once... April 1, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

            “…the topic you are blowing so badly.”
            A perfect opportunity for you to show him how it’s done BJ, wouldn’t you say 😉 ? I mean, share your view with a comment about Deadbeat’s post for people to think about, just like Roy invited you to do.
            “The post above supporting German neo-Nazis – no squeak until I made you squeak.”
            The only squeaking is coming from you BJ and to be honest, that last comment of yours comes across a bit creepy, like a stalker creepy.

          • Roy Bard April 2, 2013 at 12:07 am #

            fmo: “that last comment of yours comes across a bit creepy, like a stalker creepy.”

            I wonder how many of these apply …….

            Your stalker envies you
            Your stalker is obsessed and needs to fulfill his/her wishes or cravings
            Your stalker may think that he or she is invincible because no one can “see” what they are doing
            Your stalker is unemployed or not happy with his/her current job/career and needs a distraction
            Your stalker wants to intimidate you and make you feel inferior
            Your stalker is delusional
            Your stalker wants to instill fear in you to justify his/her status
            Your stalker wants to embarrass you
            Your stalker has his/her own problems that can’t be dealt with by him/herself
            Your stalker is curious

            Ten Reasons Why Someone is Stalking You Online

          • benny jetzt April 2, 2013 at 12:24 am #

            “A perfect opportunity for you to show him how it’s done BJ, wouldn’t you say”

            For the half dozen people left who actually visit this site, most of whom – like you – have shown yourself to be quite comfortable and unbothered in the presence of deep anti-Semitism? Nah. Next move is, as I said, a larger venue.

          • moderator April 2, 2013 at 12:30 am #

            1) You admit you are not here to debate.
            2) You’ve been banned under several nicks.

            Bye Bye

  5. Deadbeat March 31, 2013 at 3:59 am #

    Fascism is on the rise. This is a great development. Fascism rose in response to the excess of Bolshevism. Clearly as we now understand that Bolshevism lead to the deaths of some 30 million or more Orthodox Christian. As Communism took over Italy after WWI, the Fascisti rose up to challenge Jewish power.

    We see the same thing occurring now throughout Europe especially in Greece and Italy and they are at this time humanities best hope.

    • Roy Bard April 1, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

      You think ‘humanities best hope’ is replacing one set of authoritarian bullies with another set of authoritarian bullies?

  6. fool me once... April 1, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    RB said;
    “another set of authoritarian bullies?”
    It’s hard to judge by appearance though;
    They look like israeli’s;–thessaloniki_1268412.jpg
    Their symbols look masonic??

  7. fool me once... April 1, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

    pssst Roy do reckon BJ is AT doing an April Fool’s on yer?

  8. David Holden April 2, 2013 at 1:02 am #

    this Benijets, has he gone?

    sorry to miss him. i wonder how many times he managed to use the archaic term “anti-semitism” in his brief sojourn? quite a lot. almost makes me if he was one of the lower type of Jew that does a bit of trolling for pin-money? i know they get paid by key-word counts – amongst other scoring techniques pioneered by Hazbarat Central.

  9. David Holden April 2, 2013 at 1:10 am #

    by the way, has anyone looked at the WIKIPEDIA entry on Veterans Today? it’s as good as my slightly fictionalised:

    Fyodor Dostoevsky: Russian story-writer and racial theorist.

    no wonder Jimmy Wales gets invited to the big Presidential bashes in Israel.

    however these Khazzers are an impressive bunch. only 0.2% of the world’s population, but they own 98% of the world’s money.

  10. Roy Bard April 4, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

    This proved extremely interesting and showed that the Jewish Organizations haven’t being getting out the word…”WE ARE JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE”!!!

    tendilla commenting on The Tablet article Being the Jew in the Box

    • fool me once... April 4, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

      tendilla says;
      Haha, and just take a skeg at a couple more of sexagenarian tendilla’s 49 other comments (just click on the tendilla user name on Roy’s link) to see a life-long self delusion in action.
      HIPPIE says:
      “Hamas may well be a pretty vile group, but they are not dropping 1,000 pond bombs on apartment buildings,”
      tendilla reply:
      “FOOL….THAT’s BECAUSE THEY DON’t HAVE THEM OR A DELIVERY SYSTEM!!! They would go NUclear if they could and drop it next door on the Israeli’s without caring that they would also destroy themselves…they are pure evil and I only wish those 70 soiled virgins on them forever!!!!”
      The “jew in a box” thing appears to be catching on. A commentator, Dwora Fried, below tendilla has set her own box exhibit up in the Jewish Museum of Venice, called,
      “Outsider In A Box”.

  11. fool me once... April 4, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    “We are normal people”