New exhibition in Israel reveals the secrets and techniques of the yekkes – Israel Information


Firstly of the final century, the royal home of Vienna issued a particular doc to Heinrich Gunsberger Und Sohn, a neighborhood agency that manufactured undergarments. The letter, which got here from the Workplace of His Majesty the Emperor and King of the Home of Habsburg, confirmed that the minister of court docket affairs had granted the Jewish firm the correct to be the official provider of brassieres and corsets to the royal home.

To market its merchandise, the corporate printed a list, which was additionally positioned on the disposal of the royal girls. Every sort of garment was given a reputation: Dita, Hansie, Ida, Rika, Angela and Gertie.

One of many fashions who posed for was the American actor Julian Eltinge, a drag queen who performed girls’s roles in stage productions carrying a Gunsberger corset. “If the person who’s carrying our corsets has such a powerful female physique, what’s going to the ladies appear to be in the event that they put on our corsets? Please watch out for fakes of the corporate’s merchandise and at all times examine to see that the corset carries our label,” the adverts acknowledged.

Julian Eltinge wearing a Gunsberger corset.
German-Talking Jewry Heritage Museum

The story of the Jewish corset manufacturing unit not too long ago got here to mild when the Affiliation of Israelis of Central European Origin – a company for Jews from German-speaking international locations, or yekkes – urged its members to rummage via their crawlspaces and attics and dig out outdated household objects.

One other merchandise that was uncovered was a standard German dancing costume. It belonged to Gertrud Mayer, who got here from a German Christian household. Her father, Dr. Alexander Mayer, was a member of the German parliament. She married a Jew, Otto Mayer (no relation). To earn a dwelling she danced and was the director of a neighborhood troupe close to the town of Bielefeld. In her spare time she crisscrossed Germany to analysis and doc people dances.

Years later, one of many Mayers’ three sons, Andreas, associated that after the Nazis got here to energy, her mom was offered with a big bouquet and hailed as “the mom of German people dance.” The authorities had been unaware of her secret: that she was married to a Jew. In 1937, the household immigrated to Palestine and settled within the northern city of Nahariya, a bastion of yekkes. Gertrud took up a brand new occupation: She cultivated their dwelling and farmstead, which included a henhouse and a vegetable patch.

Gertrud Mayer
Courtesy of the exhibition

Gertrud Mayer died in 1966 and was buried in a Christian cemetery in Haifa. In 1991, the German Society for Folks Dancing in Israel organized a night of performances in Mayer’s reminiscence. It turned out that she was not stripped of her spectacular title even below the Nazis. Solely now, a long time after she settled in Israel, is her household revealing the Nazi-era secret of her marriage to a Jew – and presenting the costume.

These and different “secrets and techniques” of the yekkes shall be on show throughout the Sukkot vacation on the German-Talking Jewry Heritage Museum within the Tefen Industrial Park Open Museum in Higher Galilee. The exhibition, titled “Now It Can Be Instructed,” originated from the request of the Affiliation of Israelis of Central European Origin to its members to give you objects, tales and beforehand hidden “secrets and techniques.” The objects on show bespeak “modifications of id, false papers, secrets and techniques behind objects, unconventional migration, flight retraining,” says the museum’s curator, Ruth Ofek.

A pistol bullet additionally discovered its solution to the exhibition. It represents the story of Linda Epstein, the girlfriend of the famend Berlin-born Jewish artist Hermann Struck, who immigrated to Haifa in 1922.

In a letter she despatched him via a mutual good friend in 1909, she introduced that she was ending their relationship and enclosed a pistol bullet, supposedly signifying that she had dedicated suicide. “I can not go on, my power has run out,” she wrote. To the middleman she added, “He mustn’t take it an excessive amount of to coronary heart, I really feel that I’m not worthy of him.” Struck was distraught, however it later turned out that Epstein had overcome her grief on the parting and had not taken her life.

A love story of a special, extra romantic form, includes the yekke Romeo and Juliet – their actual names Rene Weiss and Hella Lucas. In 1910, Weiss moved from Paris to Frankfurt. The next yr, when he visited his aunt, who was the pinnacle nurse of a sanatorium in close by Oberstetten, he met a 16-year-old lady named Hella, who was recovering from a lung ailment. She was the one baby of a bourgeois Jewish household from the town of Essen.

It was love at first sight for the 2, however Lucas’ mother and father weren’t happy with this growth. For them, the “indigent” Weiss was unfit to be their privileged daughter’s partner. In 1912, Weiss was employed by an organization that dealt in animal hides and despatched to India. The outbreak of World Struggle I delayed his return. Lucas’ mother and father hoped that the space between them would cool their ardor, however all through his enforced exile, till 1919, Rene corresponded together with his beloved Hella.

To beat the suspicions of her mother and father, who censored their letters, they inserted coded messages which solely they understood. After they couldn’t comprise themselves, they expressed their love in plain phrases, too – however did so below the stamps, to be able to evade Lucas’ prying mother and father. “All the things will work out, my coronary heart’s need. Consider your Rene,” he wrote in a single such case. There was a contented ending for the 2: They had been married in 1920 and immigrated to Palestine within the 1930s.

Billionaire industrialist Stef Wertheimer, probably the most distinguished members Israel’s yekke neighborhood, additionally donated an object to the exhibition. A couple of objects, truly: a group of phonograph information and an accompanying letter of confession that he despatched to his mother and father. His household arrived to Palestine from Germany in 1937. Firstly of the 1940s, he enlisted within the British Military and was posted to Bahrein, the place he served as an tools technician throughout World Struggle II.

A coded letter from Rene Weiss and Hella Lucas.
German-Talking Jewry Heritage Museum

“I hope that you’re all wholesome and happy. It’s fully pointless, pricey mom, so that you can be so involved due to the sweets. Within the meantime, I discovered an American good friend and he provides me with as a lot as I can gorge on,” Wertheimer wrote. “Usually, I purchased all the pieces I would like, and also you don’t should ship me something,” he added. On the finish of the letter he confessed: “I now have 50 superb new phonograph information. I gained’t purchase any extra, as a result of I lengthy since exceeded the luggage weight allowed me. I hope you aren’t offended that I spent a lot cash for information, however apart from that I don’t spend a cent within the metropolis.”