Objects and spaces

“Objects and spaces reflecting religious practice: traditions and transformations in Jewish communities in Germany after the Shoa”

Project duration:
1 September 2018 – 31 August 2021

Associated partners:
Technische Universität Braunschweig Bet Tfila – Research Unit for Jewish Architecture in Europe: Prof. Alexander von Kienlin, Dr Katrin Kessler, PD Dr Ulrich Knufinke
State Museum of Braunschweig: Dr Heike Pöppelmann, Dr Lea Weik
Jewish Culture Museum Augsburg-Swabia: Dr  Barbara Staudinger, Sarah König

The joint project wants to examine in a comprehensive and interdisciplinary manner the new beginning of Jewish life in Germany after the Shoa, as it is reflected in objects, spaces and religious/musical practice. For this purpose, it combines the relevant skills of Jewish regional museums (Jewish Culture Museum Augsburg-Swabia and State Museum of Braunschweig) and of research institutions dealing with Jewish music (EZJM) and with material Jewish culture/architecture (Bet Tfila – Research Unit for Jewish Architecture in Europe). The transformations that Jewry underwent during the post-war period had a fundamental impact on the further development of Jewish culture in Germany.

The EZJM’s part in the overall project is to localise, document, analyse and interpret the liturgical music of the Jewish communities settling in Germany after 1945, and to interpret this music in its broad European cultural context. The synagogues (mainly those which were erected after 1945) will not only be considered as ritual spaces but also as locations for the symbolic public display of new evolving and changing aesthetic ideals. By collecting and analysing ethnographic data as well as other sources (sound recordings, scores, possibly instruments, notebooks of cantors and rabbis with musical content, etc.), this sub-project aims at marking communal and regional differences which, again, resulted from migratory movements in the second half of the 20th century. The EZJM will reconstruct the objects in their liturgical-musical context, inter alia, by interviewing contemporary witnesses and doing research work in archives.

As part of the research, sound and video recordings were made in collaboration with cantors and musicians at various locations in Germany in order to document current musical-liturgical practice in the congregations. These are now available to the EZJM collections for research purposes and will be successively made available to the public in curated form on Soundscape Synagogue.

In the process, recordings of liturgical music featuring the Chasanim Amnon Seelig (Mannheim), Nathan Goldman (Stuttgart), and Yoni Rose (Frankfurt) were made, offering insights into the contemporary liturgical melodic repertoire of Jewish communities in Germany.

Further insights are provided by the recordings of cantor Leah Frey-Rabine, who leads a virtual transdenominational Minyan from near Frankfurt. Under the direction of cantor Isidoro Abramowicz, an audiovisual documentation of liturgical music, which is also available to the research collections, was made in cooperation with the choir of the Berlin-Pestalozzistraße synagogue and organist Jakub Stefek.


Person to contact

Prof. Dr. Sarah M. Ross
Director of the EZJM
T. +49-(0)511-3100-7120
E-Mail: Prof. Dr. Sarah M. Ross

Samuel Weigel
Research Assistant
T. +49-(0)511-3100-7129
E-Mail: Samuel Weigel


Flyer (in German)

Online Workshop July 19/20, 2021

More information ...

Link to the database "Soundscape Synagogue"

Last modified: 2022-05-02

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