The Emotional Judusches Museum Frankfurt, Germany

The Judusches Museum Frankfurt is located in the former Rothchild House, this is an ideal location for a museum documenting the history of the Jews in Frankfurt. The only displays here that have any English on them are the ones on the Rothchild family.

For the remainder of the museum, you are given a huge, loose-leaf notebook with pages covering some of the other displays. This is cumbersome and totally inadequate to do it justice. It is a shame, really; they need to do a brochure in English, even if it is one you need to purchase, or an audio tour. There is so much here that it is impossible to follow along in the loose-leaf, it is very confusing, and we missed a lot.

We began our visit at 4 p.m. and the museum closes at 5 p.m. This was a mistake; you need more than an hour here. The first exhibit we visited was the one on the Rothchild family and their contributions to the history of not only Frankfurt but also all of Germany. Their house is the only one of a Jewish family to survive in Frankfurt. The Allied bombing destroyed the whole area of the former Jewish ghetto. Frankfurt_Am_Main-Untermainkai_15_von_Suedwesten-20100808

Mayor Carl Rothchild purchased this house when Jews were allowed to live outside the ghetto after 1811. Actually, the fact that the Jews in Frankfurt were confined to the Judengasse kept them from being driven out of the city, as they were in so many other German cities after 1462.

On the first floor, second for Americans, we begin to cover the history 1100-1800. We learn about the attitudes of Christians toward Jews and how this led to the formation of the ghetto. Columns describe Jewish rituals, burials, and the ritual baths. There is a copy of a Kurdish drinking cup-the original survived the war and in 1951 was given to the Israel Museum. There is a model of the Judengasse, and you will understand after looking at it why it took only 24 hours in 1711, 1721, and 1796 for it to be reduced to ashes. An area that should have only housed several hundred people housed several thousand.

On the second floor, we are introduced to the atrocities of the Nazi era, as well as displays of typical Jewish holidays, festivals, and celebrations. We see a Seder, a bar mitzvah, shivah, and a circumcision. There is a table set for the Shabbat. There are typical shops set up-shops belonging to a lawyer and a doctor, cases of menorahs, illuminated manuscripts, and other ceremonial items. At one point, you can climb up and look at a scroll of the Torah.

This is a fascinating museum, and I wish we had allowed more time to visit it. I also hope that they will consider making it easier for their English-speaking visitors. Entrance is 7 Euros for adults, half price for concession.I highly recommend the Judusches Museum Frankfurt.

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