cjsbmom
"Jew in a Box" exhibit draws ire....
by cjsbmom
April 1, 2013 at 10:14 AM

 

Berlin Museum Exhibit Featuring "Jew in the Box" Stirs Controversy and Anger

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Posted Sunday, March 31, 2013, at 12:58 PM

 
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jew in the bo

The base of the box at the Jewish Museum in Berlin exhibit reads: "Are there still Jews in Germany?"

Linus Lintner/Jewish Museum Berlin

Almost 70 years after the Holocaust, Jews have largely disappeared from German life, with a population of fewer than 200,000 among the country's 82 million people. So, what better way to dispel myths and educate the public than placing a Jew in a glass box to answer questions? That is exactly what the Jewish Museum in Berlin decided to do as part of its exhibition "The Whole Truth... everything you always wanted to know about Jews." And needless to say, people aren't too pleased. "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," Stephan J. Kramer, the general Secretary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the Associated Press.

As part of the exhibit, a Jewish man or woman is seated inside the glass box for two hours a day to answer questions. One of the obvious reasons why it has raised eyebrows is that the scene is reminiscent of how infamous Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann sat in a glass booth during his 1961 trial. But several volunteers who actually sit in the box described the experience as artistic expression in itself, an exaggerated take on what they live through every day. "With so few of us, you almost inevitably feel like an exhibition piece," Leeor Englander said.

The publicly funded Berlin Jewish Museum is no stranger to controversy. Last year, it hosted Judith Butler, who called for a boycott of Israel, points out the Jerusalem Post.



Replies

  • NWP
    by NWP
    April 1, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Interesting article. Thanks for posting it!

  • nb34
    by nb34
    April 1, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    I don't know what to make of it, honestly. Any Jewish moms want to leave their comment and take on this? I'd like to hear it.

  • cjsbmom
    by cjsbmom
    April 1, 2013 at 10:28 AM


    Quoting nb34:

    I don't know what to make of it, honestly. Any Jewish moms want to leave their comment and take on this? I'd like to hear it.

    It would help me to know if the people running this museum are actually Jewish. If not, then I can see why people might find it offensive. But if the organizers of this exhibit are Jewish, and they decided it was the best way to present the information, then I don't see the big deal. I'd like more information all the way around before I can form an opinion. 

  • ejsmom4604
    April 1, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    Reading why they are doing, and coming from a Jewish family both religiously and culturally, I think it's an interesting and unique idea. A good way to educate. 

  • nb34
    by nb34
    April 1, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    Yes, good point there. It is hard to make an educated opinion with so little information.

    Quoting cjsbmom:


    Quoting nb34:

    I don't know what to make of it, honestly. Any Jewish moms want to leave their comment and take on this? I'd like to hear it.

    It would help me to know if the people running this museum are actually Jewish. If not, then I can see why people might find it offensive. But if the organizers of this exhibit are Jewish, and they decided it was the best way to present the information, then I don't see the big deal. I'd like more information all the way around before I can form an opinion. 


  • coolmommy2x
    April 1, 2013 at 10:35 AM
    I agree. It might be an unconventio nal way to start a conversation but if it starts one, it's a good thing.

    Quoting ejsmom4604:

    Reading why they are doing, and coming from a Jewish family both religiously and culturally, I think it's an interesting and unique idea. A good way to educate. 

  • Bookwormy
    April 1, 2013 at 10:39 AM
    I think it's offensive & brilliant at the same time. They put us in boxes against our will & now we will put ourselves there to demonstrate how few of us there are left. It's art & so much of art makes it's point through offense & controversy. They killed so much of us out that we need a box at the museum. Offensive, controversial, & brilliant.
  • NWP
    by NWP
    April 1, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    I agree and think it is a fascinating exhibition and about time.

    The German population has only recently started to come to terms with its past in this matter. It wasn't long ago that they even addressed the holocaust as a culture at all. It took a generation born after the event before it was even discussed.

    The artist Anselm Keifer rose to fame/notoriety making art the put the holocaust into perspective from a German point of view, bringing it back into the public discourse. His work is beautiful, especially in person.

    Didn't anyone here see the movie The Reader?

    It is about time now that they begin to notice as a nation the Jewish population that is still there and what it means to be Jewish in Germany in the 21st century.

    I think this is an awesome exhibit.

    Quoting ejsmom4604:

    Reading why they are doing, and coming from a Jewish family both religiously and culturally, I think it's an interesting and unique idea. A good way to educate. 


  • ejsmom4604
    April 1, 2013 at 10:57 AM


    Quoting cjsbmom:


    Quoting nb34:

    I don't know what to make of it, honestly. Any Jewish moms want to leave their comment and take on this? I'd like to hear it.

    It would help me to know if the people running this museum are actually Jewish. If not, then I can see why people might find it offensive. But if the organizers of this exhibit are Jewish, and they decided it was the best way to present the information, then I don't see the big deal. I'd like more information all the way around before I can form an opinion. 

    Honestly I don't care if those that run the Jewish Museum are Jewish or not, or if the artist is Jewish or not. It's a darn good idea. Anytime you have someone from a minority whether it be gender, race, cultural, religious, whatever, educating people and answering questions it's a good thing. Honestly I think many are overly sensitive to every teeny tiny thing. 

    There are times when getting our shackles raised and be offended is needed, but something like this is doing what it is supposed to. Garner attention and provoke peoples minds. Possibly getting more people into the museum and not only seeing this living exhibit, but everything else there. 

  • VeronicaTex
    April 1, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    This article caught my eye for a very strong reason:  I was stationed in West Berlin, Germany, during the Cold War, while the Berlin Wall was still up. (1974-1976).  I saw Dachau, a prison camp,  with my own eyes as well as Hitler's Eagle's Nest and other places that were once occupied by the Nazi soldiers.

    Another reason the first home lived in, in La Paz,  Bolivia in 1970-1972, my "father" was a man from Germany, and Jewish who emigrated to South America. He never talked with me about what it was like in Germany in Hitler's time, but I do know that the Jewish religion was practiced in the home.

    The most important reason is that I am Roman Catholic, who is well acquainted with the life of the late Blessed Pope John Paul II, who lived, as well as Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), during the time of the persecution of both German and Polish people, Jews and Catholics alike.  I am also aware that people other countries abd color were also discriminated against, both for their religion and, according to the Germans, seeking to genetically alter the people in the world, rid the earch of what they deemed "imperfect people.  (Ethnic cleansing) 

    What my prayer would be is that people sitting in the box would be representatives of the Jewish Religion, in that they would be truthful and frank.

    Veronica