Between Patriotism and Exclusion - Jewish Scholars at the MGH

The exhibition with ca. 60 objects on display tells the stories of Philipp Jaffé, Harry Bresslau, Henry Simonsfeld, Ludwig Traube, Wilhelm Levison, Ernst Perels, and Erika Sinauer, portraying their lives, their scholarly achievements, and their experiences as Jews. Viewed together, it becomes evident that the treatment they recieved as Jews did not depend on the extent to which they identified themselves with Judaism.

Why are the MGH presenting an exhibition on this subject? What can visitors expect to learn? How were the exhibits chosen? And which perspectives and further questions arise from the exibition? In the short introductory film, the president of the MGH, the director of the MGH archive, a Jewish historian, and the project director answer these questions and more. Running time of the film: 10 minutes.

>> Go directly to the exhibition and the film.

The Concept

In 2019, the MGH celebrated their 200th anniversary. This historical milestone was at the same time an occasion to critically examine our own history, in particular the period between 1935 and 1945, during which time the Monumenta served as a Nationalsocialist „Reichsinstitut“ to legitimate the Nazi regime. This topic naturally raised the question of the fate of the Jewish scholars who worked for the MGH. Inspired by the plans to celebrate 1700 years of Jewish life in Germany in 2021, we developed the idea of presenting a public exhibition on our Jewish staff members and their contribution to the history of the MGH. A generous grant from the BMI made the realisation of this project possible.

The Exhibits

The objects on display cover over 100 years of eventful history, ranging from a letter written by Philipp Jaffé to his parents in 1854 to one written by Helene Schweitzer-Bresslau in July 1951, in which she arranged the transmission of her father’s estate to the MGH - and featuring a handwritten greetings from Albert Schweitzer.

The range of documents and objects that were to be found on our selected persons turned out to be quite surprising. They include memoranda, research and teaching materials, and in particular all sorts of correspondence: letters written to and from family, friends and colleagues, letters communicating thanks, organisational details, scholarly information, and so much more - with fascinating insights to be read „between the lines“.


  • more than 60 exhibits as image and text
  • easily understandable explanations
  • transcriptions of all handwritten exhibits
  • hyperlinked translations of foreign language citations
  • links to biographical and background information

The Authors

Heike B. Görtemaker (Documents on the MGH and anti-Semitism), Claudia Märtl (Henry Simonsfeld), Annette Marquard-Mois (Philipp Jaffé, Harry Bresslau, Wilhelm Levison, Ernst Perels, Erika Sinauer), Arno Mentzel-Reuters (Ludwig Traube, Documents on the MGH and anti-Semitism), Sabrina Nortey (lists)

Historical advisors

Letha Boehringer, Heike B. Görtemaker, Martina Hartmann, Frank-Michael Kaufmann, Theo Kölzer, Arno Mentzel-Reuters, Anne C. Nagel

Conception and project direction

Annette Marquard-Mois

Technical realisation

Kuse Werbeagentur Munich


sincinema Filmproduktion Augsburg