2018-10-24 / Voice at the Shore

JCC exhibit of businesses destroyed by Nazis marks 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht

By ELLEN WEISMAN STRENGER
Voice shore editor


Christoff Kreutzmuller, who created the exhibition Final Sale: The End of Jewish-owned Businesses in Berlin, spoke at the exhibition opening at Stockton University in November 2015. Christoff Kreutzmuller, who created the exhibition Final Sale: The End of Jewish-owned Businesses in Berlin, spoke at the exhibition opening at Stockton University in November 2015. Nearly 80 years ago, thriving Jewish-owned businesses throughout Germany were systematically vandalized and destroyed by Nazis during an extended pogrom commonly known as Kristallnacht. On November 9- 10, 1938, Jewish families who had built successful businesses saw their livelihoods destroyed, while synagogues and Jewish homes were ravaged, and many innocent people were murdered, beaten, and incarcerated.

In commemoration of the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht next month, the JCC in Margate will host an exhibition highlighting 16 Jewish-owned businesses in Berlin that were destroyed by Nazis. The exhibition, Final Sale: The End of Jewish-owned Businesses in Berlin, which opens October 29, tells the stories of the families whose lives were enmeshed in these small and mid-sized businesses, using photographs, artifacts, and more.


Ann Millin, a retired historian for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, will present a lecture on the media’s response to Hitler at the JCC exhibition opening. Ann Millin, a retired historian for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, will present a lecture on the media’s response to Hitler at the JCC exhibition opening. The exhibit will be on display in the JCC’s lobby area and auditorium until Nov. 19. The JCC will also hold several special events as part of the Kristallnacht commemoration, said Josh Cutler, JCC’s program director.

On Thursday, November 1, at 7 p.m., JCC will host an opening event for the Final Sale exhibition, with a free public lecture about Hitler’s manipulation of the media, entitled “When Our Dictator Turns Up”: German and American Journalists Respond to the Nazi Threat. The lecture will be given by Ann Millin, a retired histo-rian from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, who is currently Stockton’s Ida E. King Distinguished Visiting Scholar of Holocaust Studies. Millin’s lecture is part of Stockton’s annual Ida E. King lecture series, which is traditionally presented in conjunction with the commemoration of Kristallnacht. Seating for the lecture is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Another exhibition-related event will be offered on Sunday, November 18, when the JCC’s Cutler leads a day trip to the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

“It is our hope that [the Final Sale exhibit] will inspire our members and people within the community to learn more about the Shoah and Never Forget,” said Cutler. (For more information on the museum trip and to sign up, contact Cutler at 609- 822-1167, extension 138.)

Also in commemoration of Kristallnacht, the JCC’s Jewish Author Series will feature two writers of books related to the Holocaust in early November. On November 7, author Ann Huber will talk about her book “Lost and Found: Surviving Displacement, Finding Love and Uncovering Secrets”; and on November 14, author Gerri Chanel will speak about her novel “Saving Mona Lisa: The Battle to Protect the Louvre and its Treasures from the Nazis.” Both events start at 7 p.m. and will happen in the auditorium, “where attendees will be surrounded by the Final Sale exhibition,” said Cutler.

The complete exhibition of Final Sale: The End of Jewishowned Businesses in Berlin is being loaned to the JCC by Stockton University’s Sara & Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center (HRC), which held the exhibition in 2015 and retains the rights to it, said HRC director Gail Rosenthal.

“The exhibit shows how Jewish business owners were forced by the Third Reich to close their businesses or to turn them over to non-Jews,” she noted. “The goal of the exhibit for the viewer is to explore how the process, which the Nazis called ‘Aryanization,’ affected individual family-owned businesses and their owners in Germany’s largest city, the capital city of Berlin.”

Displaying the Final Sale exhibition at the JCC will expose “an amazing number” of people to the exhibit, everyone from schoolchildren to seniors, and people from many different backgrounds and walks of life, said Rosenthal. “It’s being displayed in the Margate community by popular demand,” she added. “Many people have requested to see the exhibit.”

When the Final Sale exhibition was held at Stockton in 2015, it made a big impression on the community, she explained. The opening of the Stockton exhibition featured a presentation by the exhibit’s creator, Christoff Kreutzmuller, curator at Jewish Museum Berlin, one of the largest Jewish Museums in all of Europe.

“The men and women featured in this exhibit had no idea that Kristallnacht would turn their lives on its head,” Kreutzmuller told Stockton exhibition attendees.

Kreutzmuller also coauthored a book on the same subject, “Final Sale in Berlin: The Destruction of Jewish Commercial Activity, 1930- 1945.” The book reconstructs the fate of more than 8,000 Jewish-owned businesses in Berlin, detailing the persecution they experienced as well as strategies business owners used to fight back and respond to the escalating persecution.

For more information on the JCC exhibition of Final Sale: The End of Jewish-owned Businesses in Berlin, or to schedule a visit by a school group, contact Stockton’s Sara and Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center at (609) 652- 4699. 

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