An update from one of our guides in Vienna arrived – an invitation to an unexpected exhibition in the Jewish museum!
“Have You Seen My Alps? A Jewish Love Story”
A New Exhibition at the Jewish Museum Vienna
So what do Jews and the mountains in Austria (the Alps) have to do with each other? At first thought, it would seem not much, and a strange focus for an exhibition
in Vienna’s Jewish Museum. But a deeper look into the history of Austria exposes the fascinating attraction that the Alps exerted on its Jewish population.
Beginning in the second half of the 19th century, the Jewish population of Vienna began to increase and surged to almost 200,000 at the beginning of the 20th century. Many were fairly wealthy and quite assimilated, and enjoyed spending their holidays in the mountains, taking in the fresh air, hiking, and enjoying the spas, and becoming members of the Austrian Alpine Association. This paralleled the tremendous growth of the Jewish sports club, Hakoah, which became in the 1930s the largest sports organization in all of Europe! The multi-media museum exhibition takes you on a journey through the diverse world of Jewish aspects of Alpinism, including:
– the significance of the Alps for the Jewish diaspora,
– the dispute over national costumes and the Aryanization of the Alpine clubs,
– the transformation of the mountains into a place of spiritual experience.
Among other things, you will also see Theodor Herzl’s bicycle, Sigmund Freud’s hiking stick, and a beautiful, kitschy yarmulke embroidered with edelweiss flowers!
The Jewish Museum of Vienna was founded in 1889, making it the oldest Jewish museum in the world. It is a significant station on a walking tour through the center of Vienna. I’d love to show it to you!
Thanks for this update to Jochanan in Vienna!