Munich opens Jewish museum near synagogue

22nd March 2007, Comments 0 comments

22 March 2007, Munich (dpa) - A museum which exhibits modern Jewish art and concentrates on contemporary Jewish life was opened by the city of Munich Thursday alongside the city's brand-new synagogue. "We want to go against the usual flow of portraying Jewish life in historical terms, often with the Holocaust as the main factor," said Bernhard Purin, the Austrian-born director of the museum. The three-storey, 900-square-metre museum, part of a complex including the community centre and synagogue opened in

22 March 2007

Munich (dpa) - A museum which exhibits modern Jewish art and concentrates on contemporary Jewish life was opened by the city of Munich Thursday alongside the city's brand-new synagogue.

"We want to go against the usual flow of portraying Jewish life in historical terms, often with the Holocaust as the main factor," said Bernhard Purin, the Austrian-born director of the museum.

The three-storey, 900-square-metre museum, part of a complex including the community centre and synagogue opened in November, is much smaller than Berlin's huge, modern Jewish Museum, but comparable in size to the Jewish museums in Frankfurt and Vienna.

While models of five former Munich synagogues are on display, a city official said Thursday the focus was on the "Jewish way of art." Much of the space has been reserved for one-off exhibitions, with the first year devoted to the fruits of Jewish art collecting.

"One topic will of course be the confiscation of such art by the Nazis," Purin said. Priceless Jewish manuscripts kept in the pre-1919 Bavarian royal art collection will also be displayed.

Next year, contemporary Jewish artists will be exhibited at the museum.

The city of Munich paid the 14.5-million-euro (19.3-million- dollar) bill to build the museum and its running costs. Purin stresses that it is both part of the Jewish complex on the inner-city Jakobsplatz but also independent of it.

The mayor of Munich, Christian Ude, opened the museum with speeches and music at the nearby former Munich town hall.

An organizational blunder slightly soured the opening, with museum staff inviting Charlotte Knobloch, head of the Munich Jewish community and president of the German Council of Jews, to the opening ceremony, but not to speak at a news conference the previous day.

Knobloch who campaigned for years for the museum and for public financing, said, "This is absolutely inexcusable." Apologizing, Ude told reporters there had been a misunderstanding among the staff.

The museum, going back to an idea which Munich Jews first discussed in 1928, completes the redevelopment of Munich's Jewish facilities, with the new site replacing synagogues built after the Second World War.

Just before construction of the complex began, police caught neo- Nazis who were plotting to set off a bomb at a ground-breaking ceremony and they were jailed.

DPA

Subject: German news

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