First World War Centenary Exhibition Launched by Dr Peter Ammon,
On Tuesday 24 June 2014 the Wiener Library was delighted to welcome Dr Peter Ammon, German Ambassador, to officially open its new First World War Centenary exhibition. 'The Kaiser's Jewish Soldiers: Loyalty, Identity, Betrayal' features the lives and legacies of the Jews who served in the German army through the display of over 40 rare artefacts including war medals, postcards, photographs and books.
Dr Toby Simpson, curator of the exhibition said “The commitment of German Jews to patriotic ideals during and after the First World War is particularly striking as we look back on this moment in history at a distance of 100 years. The later attempts of the Nazis to distort, and even obliterate the contribution of Jewish soldiers to the First World War make the survival and richness of these collections all the more poignant."
Library Director Ben Barkow said “The patriotism and attachment to the figure of the Kaiser that characterised so many German Jews - among them Dr Alfred Wiener, the founder of the Library - can appear bewildering to modern eyes, and is certainly poignant in light of subsequent history. Yet their wholehearted commitment to their homeland is fascinating to reflect on as people in Britain debate multi-culturalism and the need for „British values? among minority communities. Our exhibition pays tribute to the sacrifice made by Germany's Jews, and stimulates us to think about what a successful multi-ethnic society might look like.”
The exhibition runs from 24 June to 8 October 2014, with free entry.
Read Dr Ammon's speech from the launch here.
Photograph credit: German Embassy London.
Added: Friday 4th July, 2014