Jews in Hamburg

Permanent exhibition in the Museum for Hamburg History

The exhibition Jews in Hamburg presents the history of Jewish people in Hamburg during the past 400 years: the difficult period around 1600, the arduous process of emancipation until legal equality was achieved in the late 19th century, the golden age during the Weimar Republic, the era of fascist persecution and genocide and the reestablishment of the Jewish community after 1945.

Jewish ceremonies on the occasion of birth, marriage and death and at Bar and Bat Mizwa are explained. Visitors can enter the reconstruction of the interior of a synagogue as well as the home of a prosperous Jewish family around the turn of the last century.

The role of Jews, their integration and their discrimination in politics, business, science and art as well as their religion and everyday life are presented, as are the persecution and annihilation of Jews under the NS regime.
The selected exhibits illustrate the overseas trade of the 17th century, Hebrew book printing, the life of the religious community and the achievements of prominent Jews in Hamburg. They underscore the importance Jews continue to have for life in Hamburg and to the city’s development to this day. They also show the great loss brought about by the brutal destruction of Jewish life under the National Socialists. 

The Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte organises an extensive Ancillary Programme on Jewish culture and history.

Museum for Hamburg History

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Opening hours

Monday 10.00 - 17.00

Tuesday closed

Wednesday - Friday 10.00 - 17.00

Saturday and Sunday 10.00 - 18.00

Photos

Highlights

Synagogue room

A special room in the “Jews in Hamburg” section of the museum shows furnishings and fittings from various synagogues as well as the community life of Jewish people in Hamburg from the 18th century to the present day, with original artefacts, pictures and recordings. At the centre there is a reconstruction of the Torah shrine, lecterns and benches from the synagogue in Heinrich-Barth-Straße, the first synagogue in the Grindel Quarter from the 1880s. It was not destroyed in 1938 and the furnishings and fittings were saved by transporting them to Stockholm, where they are still used in the Jeschurun Synagogue today.
The museum also displays portraits of Hamburg Rabbis, interior views of some of the synagogues, religious articles from different eras such as Torah pointers (Jad), turrets (Rimmonim) and shields (Tass), as well as Seder plates, prayer straps (Tefillin) and shawls (Tallit) and a food bowl for the Sabbath.

Model of the Temple of Solomon

One of the most prestigious museum exhibits is the model of the Temple of Solomon made largely of wood, a model of the first temple erected under King Solomon (ca. 965 – 926 BC) which was the most important sanctuary of the Jews in Jerusalem and already destroyed during antiquity.

The model was created in Hamburg in the late 17th century based on a then existing work from the period around 1600. The structure and decoration followed the architectural conventions of the time, so that the Hamburg temple model represents an ideal conception of this holy space from a specific era and culture. With its base dimensions of just under 3.50 × 3.50 metres, it is the world’s largest historical model of a single building ensemble.