Jewish souvenirs in Trani, Italy

Jewish souvenirs in Trani, Italy


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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Germany -- Emigration Museum/Jewish Museum deal

In the Czech Emigration Museum, Lichnov, 2005. Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber

The German Emigration Center in Bremerhaven -- a museum specializing on the topic of emigration -- got in touch with me a few days ago to bring to my attention a new ticket deal they have with the Jewish Museum in Berlin.

Visitors, in short, can buy pay the entrance fee to one of these museums and visit the other on the same ticket -- within three months of the original visit.

It sounds like a good deal to me!

I haven't visited the Emigration Center in Bremerhaven -- but I think that that is where my own grandparents (and probably great-grandparents) sailed from en route to the United States.

Indeed, as the museum points out, more than 7 million emigrants gathered in Bremerhaven between 1830 and 1974 to board a ship headed for the New World. Among them were 3 million Eastern Europeans (my own ancestors, from what today is Romania and Lithuania, would have been among them).

The German Emigration Center is Europe’s largest theme museum and in 2007 was named European Museum of the Year. It is located on the site where the ships departed from the European mainland. It features reconstructions and multimedia productions to illustrate the history of emigration. Visitors can also trace their family roots.

The Jewish Museum in Berlin presents objects form everyday life and art objects, photos, letters etc. that tell the story of German Jewish life from the Middle Ages up to the present day. It is famous for is spectacular architecture, by Daniel Libeskind.

There are, in fact, several museums in Europe that deal with emigration. In the little town of Buttenheim, Germany, for example, the Levi Strauss museum, in the birthplace of the inventor of blue jeans, uses Strauss's life story to tell the more general tale of (Jewish) economic emigration in the 1840s.

More general emigration museums include the big the Ulster American Folk Park, opened in Northern Ireland in 1976, which tells the story of emigration from Ireland. There is a small museum on Czech emigration to Texas in Lichnov, in the eastern part of the Czech Republic.

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