Documentation of Jewish Communities in Austria
The Documentation of Jewish Communities in Austria is a multimedia-based database dedicated to the history and heritage of the Jewish communities that have flourished on the territory of the Republic of Austria from the early Middle Ages until the beginning of the 21st century.
The database is divided into a number of sections, each one dealing with a major historical period or subject. The Overview of the Jewish Life in Austria serves as a multimedia-based foreword offering a succinct introduction to the tremendous heritage of Jewish communities in Austria. Jewish life in the Middle Ages, Modern and Contemporary eras is dealt with in separate chapters, each listing tens of communities that have existed in the Austrian lands during those periods. Each historical section deals with a number of subjects; among them special emphasis has been put among others on demography, communal organizations, religious and cultural life, occupations, daily life, gender studies, legal status and relationships with the Austrian society, anti-Jewish persecutions and the Holocaust, and mutual influences between Jews and Austrians.
The Solly Yellin Center of Lithuanian Jewry
The Solly Yellin Center of Lithuanian Jewry at the Spiegel Family Study Area represents an important addition to the Permanent Exhibit of the museum. Made possible thanks to the generous assistance of Mr. Solly Yellin and located on the first floor at the Spiegel Family Study Area within the Community Section, the center is dedicated to the history and heritage of the Jewish communities in Lithuania. Inaugurated in June 2001, The Solly Yellin Center includes information on 250 communities that existed before the Holocaust on the territory currently within the borders of the Republic of Lithuania and the neighboring regions in the republics of Belarus, Latvia, Poland, and the Russian Federation, corresponding with much of the area of the historic Duchy of Lithuania.
It was in this region that a vibrant Jewish community evolved over the centuries; by the end of the 19th century the number of the Litvaks, as the Lithuanian Jews are known in Yiddish, was estimated at about 1,500,000. Today, after more than a century during which large numbers of Lithuanian Jews emigrated to the Americas, South Africa, Israel and other countries, and especially after the vast majority of those who remained in place were murdered during the Holocaust, the Jewish population in this area is estimated at a few tens of thousands. The Solly Yellin Center of Lithuanian Jewry is helping the visitor to Beit Hatfutsot to understand the uniqueness and richness of this community while focusing on such issues as the history of Jewish settlement, daily life during the first half of the 20th century, the architecture of synagogues, biographies of famous Lithuanian Jews, their cultural and religious achievements, and their contribution to the revival of the Jewish nation in the Land of Israel. A special section is dedicated to the life, activities, and the work of Rabbi Elijah ben Solomon Zalman – The Gaon of Vilna.
The revamped Spiegel Family Study Area offers visitors the choice of viewing the full-size version of the virtual exhibition dedicated to The Gaon of Vilna, of searching through the interactive multimedia Database of Jewish Communities, or viewing a selection of documentary footages.
Visual Documentation of the Jewish Communities in Switzerland
Beit Hatfutsot is asking for your assistance in collecting photographs and films depicting all aspects of Jewish life in Switzerland, past and present. Our aim is that with your assistance to enrich our photo and film collections and thus to ensure that Jewish life in Switzerland is recorded in the museum’s databases and becomes an integral part of our museum, along with all other Jewish communities throughout the Diaspora.
All photographs and films will be returned to the owners.
For inquiries please contact:
Ms. Rachel Schnold
Director of the Oster Visual Documentation Center at Beit Hatfutsot