Leonard Bernstein. A New Yorker in Vienna

Leonard Bernstein, who was introduced to music in the synagogue of his childhood in Boston, studied at Harvard, and was based in New York, had a lifelong relationship with Vienna. From 1966 until his death in 1990 he returned on several occasions to work above all with the Vienna Philharmonic. As a Jew, Bernstein had an ambivalent relationship to this city. He wrote in a letter to his parents in March 1966, twenty-one years after the end of the Shoah:

I am enjoying Vienna enormously—as much as a Jew can. There are so many sad memories here; one deals with so many ex-Nazis (and maybe still Nazis); and you never know if the public that is screaming bravo for you might contain someone who 25 years ago might have shot me dead. But it’s better to forgive, and if possible, forget. […]
Your Wiener Schnitzel

He wore a traditional Austrian jacket in Vienna as “therapy against German nationalism,” as he said, reintroduced the Vienna Philharmonic—despite initial resistance—to the suppressed Gustav Mahler, and even played a role in Austrian domestic politics.

An exhibition to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of the star conductor and composer that focuses on the New Yorker Bernstein’s relationship with the music city of Vienna, looks at the great artist’s Jewish roots, and also pays homage to his political activities.

Curators: Werner Hanak, Adina Seeger


Image (c) First/Look/picturedesk.com


31.10.2018 to 03.03.2019

Jüdisches Museum Wien,
Dorotheergasse 11, 1010 Wien


The joint exhibition of the Jewish Museum Vienna and the Jewish Historical Museum Amsterdam will explore Kabbalah in its widest sense: its historical developments including classical Kabbalah, early Jewish mysticism, practical Kabbalah and magic, as well as its modern offshoots in art and popular culture. The exhibition follows the traces and impacts the Kabbalah left in all forms of modern art (painting, sculpture and design), literature, film and music (classical, popular). By doing so, the exhibition will offer the visitors a genuine insight into “what Kabbalah is” and provide an amazing look behind the scenes of a topic that in general is considered to be a “hidden world”.

Curators: Domagoj Akrap and Klaus Davidowicz in cooperation with the Joods Historisch Museum Amsterdam.

Exhibition design: Conny Cossa, Maximilian-Paul Hertz


Image (c) Steve Schapiro / Corbis Premium Historical / Getty Images

Teddy Kollek. The Viennese mayor of Jerusalem

The legendary Jerusalem mayor grew up in Vienna and got involved in Zionist youth organizations here. And he already left Austria as a 24-year-old, heading towards Palestine in 1935. At the time of the Anschluss, he was just building the “Ein Gev” kibbutz on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Kollek’s life journey tells of constantly worsening conditions in Vienna before the Anschluss, of his work to rescue refugees from the Nazi regime, and his efforts to enable a peaceful co-existence between Jews and Palestinians, especially in Jerusalem. Kollek’s late return to Vienna, where he opened the Jewish Museum together with his Viennese colleague Helmut Zilk fifty-five years after the Anschluss and the November Pogrom in 1938, ultimately leads into the middle of the history of that very place where the exhibition is to be seen and whose predecessor institution, the world’s oldest Jewish museum, was closed in March 1938 by the National Socialists.

Curators: Marcus Patka and Elke-Vera Kotowski

Photo (c) David Rubinger, YEDIOTH AHARONOT

The city without Jews Muslims refugees foreigners

2.3.2018 – 30.12.2018

METRO Kinokulturhaus
Johannesgasse 4, 1010Vienna

Hugo Bettauer called his novel “The City without Jews” in 1922, which describes the then still utopian idea of ​​expelling the Jews from Vienna. The film adaptation by director Hans Karl Breslauer was accompanied in 1924 by stunctions by the National Socialists. In 1925 Bettauer was shot dead by a National Socialist. The rise of the NSDAP in Austria with means of terror resulted in the so-called “Anschluss” in 1938. What followed was the expulsion and murder of Central European Jews in the Holocaust.

The exhibition DIE STADT OHNE accompanies the release of the newly restored version of the silent film, which today is regarded worldwide as the first film-artistic statement against anti-Semitism. At the same time, this unique contemporary document is not only located in the history of the First Republic, but also in the social reality of the present. Based on individual film scenes, the exhibition intervenes between the then and now: it shows how exclusion mechanisms work in society and traces the individual stages of the exclusion process from the polarization of society to the final exclusion of the created “scapegoats”.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the anti-Semites called for the exclusion of “the Jews”; today they agitate again: against “the foreigners”, Muslims or refugees. THE CITY WITHOUT raises the question as to whether and to what extent the social division during the years of the rise of National Socialism can, should or must be compared with that of our present time.

In the film, the Jews returned to Vienna, but the historical reality should look different. From the utopia of Bettauer and the film, the exhibition turns to the actual historical consequences of the exclusion of the Jewish population, the Shoah. With its connection to the present THE CITY WITHOUT considers itself not only as a historical exhibition, but as an intervention for the anniversary of the Republic, which critically examines questions of the cultural identity of Austria with all its fractures and distortions. The now rediscovered film images of DIE STADT OHNE  JUDEN serve as a projection screen.

Kurt Klagsbrunn

05.12.2018 to 12.05.2019

Jüdisches Museum Wien,
Dorotheergasse 11, 1010 Wien


Kurt Klagsbrunn (1918–2005) was born 100 years ago in Floridsdorf. The son of a coal merchant and soccer official began studying medicine in Vienna, fled with the family via Portugal to Brazil, where he turned his passion for photography into a career and became a chronicler of Brazilian modernism and its working world.

Pictures from the early Viennese years and from the escape to Latin America were also sensationally found alongside the Brazilian works in Kurt Klagsbrunn’s estate, which is supervised by his nephew Victor.

The photographs that Victor Klagsbrunn has now donated to the Jewish Museum Vienna provide an insight into a dedicated and integrated Viennese Jewish suburban family who were forced to flee in 1938. Moreover, the exhibition presents an important, new visual addition to Viennese Jewish everyday history.

Curator: Andrea Winklbauer

Foto (c) Victor Hugo Klagsbrunn

LAST PLACES BEFORE DEPORTATION Kleine Sperlgasse, Castellezgasse, Malzgasse

11.05.2018 – 30.01.2019

Amtshaus of the district Leopoldstadt
Karmelitergasse 9,
1020 Vienna

Kleine Sperlgasse 2a, Castellezgasse 35, Malzgasse 7 and 16 – these addresses in Vienna-Leopoldstadt are virtually absent in the collective memory. In the topography of the Shoah of Vienna and Austria, however, these are central places. Here in the years 1941/42 there were four transit camps, in which Jews were interned before the deportation. From here, groups of 1,000 people each were taken by truck to the Aspang station. From February 1941 to October 1942, a total of 45 deportation trains went to ghettos and extermination camps. Most of the more than 66,000 Austrian Shoah victims were sent to their deaths by the four collective camps. The path to annihilation began in the middle of the city. The exhibition “Last places before the deportation. Kleine Sperlgasse, Castellezgasse, Malzgasse “reconstructs and conveys the meaning of these now almost forgotten last places before the deportation.

Further information: https://www.oeaw.ac.at/ausstellung-letzten-orte/

Say Shibboleth! On Visible and Invisible Borders

Jewish Museum Hohenems
5 Schweizer Straße Hohenems,
Vorarlberg, 6845

Public guided tour through the current exhibition (in German)

The exhibition presents the work of international artists who critically reflect and explore different aspects of the history and present of borders. Some of these borders are permeable and others fatal, some are visible and others reinforced by cultural codes, language tests and biometric markers. Borders determine life and death, defining  “identity” and “otherness”. Located just a stone’s throw away from the banks of the “Old Rhine”, where in 1938 refugees tried to reach Switzerland, “Say Shibboleth!” explores the contentious history and present of border making and unmaking

Boaz Levin is an artist, writer, and curator, co-founder, together with Hito Steyerl and Vera Tollmann, of the Research Center for Proxy Politics. Levin has presented his work internationally, most recently at the CCA (Tel-Aviv), Former West (HKW, Berlin), Rencontres Internationales (Paris, Berlin), Fidmarseille (Marseille) and The School of Kyiv (Kyiv biennial). Last Person Shooter, directed together with Adam Kaplan, was awarded the Ostrovsky Family Fund Award during the Jerusalem Film Festival (2015). Regarding Spectatorship, an ongoing curatorial research project curated together with Marianna Liosi, was shown at Kunstraum Kreuzberg / Bethanien November 2015-January 2016. Since October 2016, Levin is a member of the “Cultures of Critique” research training group at the Leuphana University, Lüneburg. Most recently, Levin co-curated the Biennale für Aktuelle Fotografie, Mannheim-Ludwigshafen-Heidelberg.

Admission: € 8,-/5,-
No reservation required