For the multimedia project "Traces of German-Jewish Cultural Heritage," Deutsche Welle reporters visited 10 locations around the world. What they found is documented on DW’s website from December 3, 2012.
DW reporters tell the stories of German-Jewish immigrants who found a new home in America, Asia, Africa or Europe and talk to artists and historians, architects and photographers, authors and filmmakers – and in particular to witnesses and their relatives.
Editor-in-Chief Ute Schaeffer commented: "This project allowed us to meet a lot of committed and inspiring people, who have strengthened Jewish culture in their new homeland, have founded cultural institutions there and, in the process, have also reflected on the horrors of the past. Their life stories interlace to form a colorful patchwork of German-Jewish culture around the world. And at the same time these stories show that German society as it is now cannot be understood without awareness of the past."
In each case, the common thread of these German-Jewish stories from all over the world is an object that has played an important role in the immigrants' families. This might be a letter written aboard the ship that brought the immigrants to South Africa. It might be a samovar that has had its place on the living room table for generations. It could be a poem or a book that was taken along on a journey to foreign places, or a document that was important to the witnesses.
Deutsche Welle worked on the project in close collaboration with the Moses Mendelssohn Center at the University of Potsdam. The university has a team of historians that is led by Elke-Vera Kotowski and dedicated to German-Jewish cultural heritage. This diverse legacy is reflected in archives, estates and libraries as well as in buildings, documents, clubs, letters and in oral and handcraft traditions.
The Deutsche Welle multimedia project was made possible by the support of the German Foreign Office and is available in three languages: German, English and Russian.