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Remains of a synagogue organ - at the MIM, Arizona


The remains of an organ found in 1950 by Hans Hirschberg in the ruins of the Neue Synagogue on Oranienburger Strasse, Berlin, are now on display at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. The entire collection of Hans Hirschberg was donated in 2003 to Beit Hatfutsot by his sister, Mrs. Lilli Fliess, in his memory.

The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM), opened in 2010, is the largest of its kind in the world and boasts an extensive collection of musical instruments covering some two hundred countries and territories in the world.

The two remains from the Hans Hirschberg collection are part of a larger exhibit dedicated to Jewish music in Europe between 1939 and 1945. The destruction of the Jewish people in the Holocaust, and in particular the devastating impact the Holocaust had on Jewish music and musicians in Europe, is emphasized by a number of musical instruments on display in the European gallery of the museum. The instruments that belonged to Jewish musicians persecuted by the Nazis help understand the terrible suffering and the incommensurable loss that befell them during those tragic times. The small size of the two remnants of the synagogue organ, especially when compared with the vast dimensions of what used to be the largest synagogue in Europe, help conveying in a symbolic way the magnitude of the catastrophe. 


Jewish Music 1939-1945, Musical Instrument Museum (MIM). Photograph: MIM


Remains of an organ found in 1950 in the ruins of the Oranienburger Strasse Synagogue, Berlin. Hans Hirschberg Collection, Beit Hatfutsot, the Visual Documentation Center
Photograph: Yaakov Brill



The remains of the organ in the Oranienburger Strasse Synagogue, on display at  the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM). Photograph: MIM