Permanent exhibition „Our City!“ © Klaus Pichler

Jewish Museum Vienna

Founded in 1895 as the first museum of its kind in the world, the Jewish Museum Vienna is an institution dedicated to preserving and presenting the rich history and culture of Vienna’s Jewish community. It operates in two locations, Palais Eskeles and Judenplatz, and is known for its diverse program of exhibitions and outreach events that showcase the past and present of Jewish culture in Austria. The museum houses one of the largest European collections of Judaica as the legacy of the third-largest Jewish community in Europe before the Holocaust. It bears testimony to the transcultural urban landscape that is the city of Vienna, which has been greatly shaped by many forms of migration.

The museum’s permanent exhibitions offer a captivating chronicle of Vienna’s Jewish community from the Middle Ages to the present day. Additionally, the museum seamlessly blends the rich history of the city’s Jewish community with global cultural and socio-historical themes, as showcased in its temporary exhibitions. In conjunction with its exhibitions, the museum also hosts numerous educational and cultural programs, such as lectures, concerts, and workshops. These events are designed to promote greater understanding and dialogue among different cultures and religions and foster a deeper appreciation for the contributions of Vienna’s Jewish community to the city.

The museum’s commitment to promoting understanding and dialogue is further reflected in its outreach initiatives. Through these measures, which include educational programs for schools and tours, the museum aims to engage visitors of all ages and backgrounds. By this means, the museum becomes a vibrant center of cultural exchange.

The history of the museum itself is a testament to the perseverance and resilience of Vienna’s Jewish community. Its roots date back to 1895, when the first Jewish Museum in Vienna was founded by the Society for the Collection and Preservation of
Artistic and Historical Memorials of Jewry. The museum was forced to close during the Nazi era, but was reopened in 1988. In 1993, the Palais Eskeles was renovated to host the museum, and the archive was made publicly available in 1998. In 2000, the Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial was opened, and the museum’s second building of the museum was established Judenplatz 8, in the so-called “Mizrachi House”.

Overall, the Jewish Museum Vienna is an essential institution that shares the rich history and culture of Vienna’s Jewish community. Its commitment to education and cultural exchange makes it an important space for reflection and dialogue, promoting a deeper understanding of Vienna’s diverse cultural heritage.

Chanukiah (Chanukah menorah)

Austria Hungary, early 20th century

brass, 16x14x4,5cm

©JMW, Berger collection, Inv. No. 7909

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