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Traveling with Grace, heads into New Orleans!

Posted on November 12th, 2019 by

This week’s entry for our 2019 #TravelTuesday series: Traveling with Grace, heads into New Orleans! To read more of Grace’s travels, click here.

Canal Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, c. 1940s. Via.

Mon. Aug 5. Left Galveston at 9 and had to wait 40 min for the ferry. Stopped at Lake Charles (a very pretty city with handsome old residences around the lake) and had lunch at a Walgreen drugstore. Mrs. Allers was sick all the way and had to stop several times. At a place called Kinder we had trouble with a tire and lost more time. We went thru part of Baton Rouge and saw the capitol from a distance. The highway to New Orleans is very pretty and goes right into Canal St. We passed a number of very large hospitals all in a row. Arrived at the St. Charles Hotel (very old fashioned) at 6:15 our time (here it is 2 hours later) after traveling 357 miles.

St. Charles Hotel, New Orleans, Louisiana, at night, c. 1940s. Via.

Tues. Aug. 6. Slept late. Fasted today, the 9th of Av. Went to the Chamber of Commerce to see about a guide, then to a Chrysler place to see about repairs to the car then back to the hotel to sit on the 2nd floor porch overlooking St. Charles Ave. until dinner time. Ate at Kolb’s restaurant across the street much nicer than hotel dining room, which is punk. Took a walk on Canal St. after dinner. Best lighted street I have seen outside of N.Y. and shops very pretty.

French quarter. New Orleans, Louisiana, August 1940. Photo by Brown, courtesy of the the Library of Congress.

Wed. Aug. 7. Had a very charming guide, Mrs. Reynick, take us on a tour of the city today. We started out in the French quarter or Vieux Carré. Some of the interesting sights were: The Place d’Armes with its beautiful flowering trees and unusual statue of Andrew Jackson, the dignified St. Louis Cathedral with beautiful murals and ceiling painted by Canova, brother of the famous Italian sculptor, the Cabildo with its museum of French colonial objects and household furnishings, Pirate’s Alley made famous by Jean Lafitte who was always being incarcerated by the authorities and liberated by the townspeople who profited from his looting, the old mint, old capitol bldg. many lovely antique shops (I have never seen such a profusion of lovely old jewelry, porcelains and bric-a-brak fit for a palace), homes of the aristocracy in many of which Mrs. Reynick claims to have been entertained. She pointed out the home of Dorothy Wix, one occupied formerly by Maude [Cedans??], Robert Edson, and other famous personages. She showed us the different types of architecture, French, Spanish and Louisiana stressing the characteristic of each. Most of the old houses are tremendous, with huge porches are galleries framed in handsome iron grillwork with its beautiful lacy patterns, then there are garçonnières or bachelor’s quarters in a separate wing and servants quarters in another with a big coach house besides and lovely tropical gardens with bamboo, banana, oleander, clematis, palms, hibiscus, magnolias, crepe myrtles, etc. We saw the house of Dr. Autommarchi, private physician to Napoleon I who made his death mask of Louisiana clay, now in the Cabildo, the red brick Pontalba bldgs., first apt. houses in American built by the Baroness to house families of emigres, the old Ursuline Convent, statue of Robt. E. Lee (facing the N. some say it should have faced S. which he loved, but then he could afford to turn his back to the S. without fear), Audubon Park with statue of the naturalist looking up into the trees with sketch book in hand to draw pictures of birds. We had a delicious luncheon at the French restaurant Galatoire’s where we saw some of the elite of N. Orleans elegantly costumed, then started out on more sightseeing. Visited some of the famous cemeteries (they bury the dead above the ground and their tombs are really beautiful especially in the fashionable Metairie cemetery (formerly a Jockey Club) with 14 miles of driveway). Mrs. R. took us into one of the swanky country clubs, saw Tulane University Campus and Newcombe College, the famous Sugar Bowl stadium, the City Park with its pretty Art Museum (not as large as ours) and its famous dueling ground, out to Lake Pontchartrain and thru some of the fashionable new suburbs. We saw 2 very pretty synagogues, the house where Julius Rosenwald’s daughter (Mrs. Stern) lives, the house where the author of “Green Pastures” lives, the house where Jefferson Davis died. We went into the Casa Hové where they make perfumes. Mrs. Reynick knows Mrs. Hové and she offered to show us the house, a very good example of early Spanish architecture (built in 1797) and for a wonder we were not asked to buy anything. Unlike any guide in my previous varied experience Mrs. Reynick doesn’t accept commissions and doesn’t allow shopping on her tours. We saw the home of the family of Cardinal Gibbons (he once lived here and some of his relatives still occupy the house), the home of Etienne de Bore discoverer of granulated sugar, the home of John McDonogh and some of the 30 odd public schools he founded here, and the famous French market originally built in 1791. The coffee stands here are favorite rendezvous for refreshments after the shows in the wee hours. We again dined at Kolb’s this evening.

Thurs. Aug 8th. Mrs. R. called to inquire for our health this morning. We breakfasted at a lovely air-conditioned cafeteria across the street where they have waiters to carry your trays. The restaurants are very clean and all the people I have met here are extremely courteous. This afternoon at 2:30 we took a boat ride up and down the harbor. I have never seen such a big boat (5 decks) for such a short trip – but I later heard it sometimes goes as far as St. Paul, Minn. The Capt. Himself took me on the elevator up to the 4th deck where we found comfortable chairs within earshot of the loudspeaker and a lecturer explained the sights as we went along. We were served ice cream during the afternoon and really enjoyed the breeze. New Orleans seems to be a very large port (they claim it is 2nd in the country) and we saw lots of large freighters, on the wharves were coffee, bananas, barrels of molasses, cotton sulphur and salt. Returned at 5, went to Haring’s for the car and then strain to Antoine’s for dinner. They have used the same menu for over 100 yrs. Even tho some of the things printed on it are no longer procurable. It was lucky we got here early because it filled up quickly and when we left there was a queue a block long waiting to get in. The food was very good (I had pompano en papillotte, soufflé potatoes, French rolls, coffee and baked pear in brandy). Met Mr. and Mrs. Milton Fleisher who are en route to Mexico and they stopped for a chat and to get some pointers. I was disappointed in the appearance of the clientele here, anything but elegant with a few exceptions. Afterward we took a ride out as far as Ponchartrain Beach, a large amusement park, just to cool off.

The Buena Vista Hotel in Biloxi, Mississippi circa 1940. Via.

Fri. Aug. 9th. After breakfast at Kolb’s we left for Biloxi a very pretty drive along the gulf shore passing Pass Christian and Gulfpost. The road is lined with beautiful homes each with its little pier extending out into the water with a round pavilion at the end and usually there are a number of pelicans perched on the pilings. There are also a great many hotels, restaurants and tourist camps along the route. We reached the Buena Vista in time for lunch at 1:30 and enjoyed its tree-shaded verandah and cool breezes in the afternoon and evening with full moon above.

Buena Vista Hotel, water view. Via.

Sat. Aug. 10th and Sun. Aug 11th. Stayed at the hotel where we are most comfortable. From the porch we can watch the bathers, the watercraft and an endless stream of traffic up and down the highway. It is such a relief after the heat, etc. in New Orleans.

Thanks for reading “Traveling with Grace,” a series where we’re sharing (and annotating) posts from the travel diaries of Grace Amelia Hecht, native Baltimorean, b. 1897 and d. 1955. As mentioned in my introductory post transcription errors sometimes occur and I’ve made my best guesses where possible, denoted by [brackets]. – Rachel Kassman, marketing manager


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Sharing and Learning with Baltimore Holocaust Survivors and Descendants Group

Posted on October 31st, 2019 by

A blog post by the Director of Learning and Visitor Engagement Ilene Dackman-Alon. To read more posts by Ilene click HERE.

This past Sunday, JMM education staff presented one of its education archival programs to the Baltimore Holocaust Survivors and Descendants (BHSD) Group at the Park Heights JCC. This special group includes Holocaust survivors along with their children and grandchildren that meet once a month for programming with guest speakers, movies and social gatherings to honor and commemorate the memory of the Holocaust.  The group is sponsored by the Baltimore Jewish Council.

The timing of the program with the Baltimore Holocaust Survivors and Descendants Group seemed so perfect as just last week, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) announced that they have plans to enhance and expand the teaching of Holocaust education in public schools.  These planned changes include studying the Holocaust and the roots of anti-Semitism long and the study of current events of contemporary genocide.  The changes also include providing teachers with more opportunities to learn from professionals in order to be better prepared to teach about the Holocaust with confidence.

The changes are in response to concerns about the state’s education requirements that were raised earlier this year by members of the General Assembly and the Baltimore Jewish Council. Teaching about the Holocaust is critical especially at a time where there is an increase of incidents of hate crimes and intolerance throughout the world.  In addition, the 2018 study by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany stated, “Four out of ten millennials know little about the Holocaust”, makes our work even more important.   Our work with school children is critical and we must give students opportunities to understand how important it is to learn history in order to understand and navigate the world today.

Our education staff facilitated with the group our popular education archival program that was created in connection to the exhibition, Lives Lost, Lives Found: Baltimore’s German Jewish Refugees 1933-1945.  The exhibition explores the experiences of 3,000 German Jewish refugees who found a “safe haven” in Baltimore in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  The exhibit provided wonderful educational opportunities to teach students of all backgrounds about the Holocaust from a different perspective using first-hand testimony and artifacts from individuals who left Germany during an intense period of upheaval and discrimination.

Lives Lost, Lives Found is a popular archival exploration program created in connection with the exhibit by the same name.

To accompany the exhibition, the education department developed a stand-alone curriculum incorporating the photographs from the exhibition which we have used to facilitate Holocaust-related programs.  Students examine poster-sized reproductions of the photographs in groups and answer questions about the photo.  Students are encouraged to use critical thinking and teamwork skills to present their findings to the class.  As a final activity, students attempt to create a timeline of the photos which gives them the opportunity to think about how the photographs tell a story with a beginning, middle, and end. The curriculum and photos can be downloaded from the education section on our website:

Herta Griffel and her foster family, 1942
Courtesy of Hera Griffel Baitch, L2003.75.14

The Baltimore Holocaust Survivors and Descendants (BHSD) Group did a wonderful job with the archival activity and I was reminded of the fact that we are all lifelong learners.  The group asked many of the same questions during the activity as the students in the classroom.  As I was listening to the banter among the smaller working groups, I heard people sharing their own stories and experiences of war and of their new lives in Baltimore.  I thought to myself how blessed and lucky I was to learn these new stories and forge new connections to these wonderful people.

While stationed in Europe, Max Knisbacher visited relatives who had survived the Holocaust, 1945
Courtesy of Jeffrey Knisbacher, L2003.64.3

One of the most powerful experiences in Holocaust education is to hear first-person testimony from those people who survived the war years.  Holocaust survivors have made an impact on so many students in the classroom over the years. Their presence, physically, emotionally and intellectually have shaped Holocaust education.

At JMM, we believe our work with school children is critical and we must give students opportunities to understand how important it is to learn history in order to understand and navigate the world today. Holocaust education has the potential to encourage young people to think about how to improve humanity through individual and group actions in their daily lives.  JMM will continue its work with schools and teachers in providing more learning opportunities and resources in Holocaust education.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland


Travels with Grace: Leisure in Leipzig

Posted on July 30th, 2019 by

Welcome to this week’s segment of our 2019 #TravelTuesday series: Traveling with Grace. Today we follow along as Grace heads to Leipzig and Magdeburg. To read more of Grace’s travels, click here. 

September 8, 1929

Sunday. We leave Karlsbad at 11:30 a.m. The manager of the Imperial gives mother and me each a bouquet of beautiful roses. We change trains at Eger and meet a charming young lady from Berlin in our train compartment. Arrive at Leipzig at 5:50 p.m. Enormous railroad station. Come to Hotel Astoria opposite station. Very modern and satisfactory in every way.

Augustus Platz in Leipzig. Via.

September 9, 1929

Monday. With private auto and guide we start out this morning at 9:30 to see the very interesting city of Leipzig. My impressions are that it is very clean, progressive, home of very specialized industries, chiefly printing to which is devoted a large section of buildings including schools wherein are taught the various sciences there unto appertaining. There is a fine large school where dead and dumb are taught arts and crafts. The university buildings cover a wide area as do also the many hospital buildings each having its specialty but closely grouped together for convenience, the maternity section one of the largest. In Leipzig is located the Supreme Court, highest tribunal of justice in all Germany, delegated to this city by Bismark. Here is the usual fine Opera House met with in German cities and the Cloth Hall Koncert Haus, so named because the Cloth Guild promoted and fostered music in earlier days. We ride through Johanna and Albert Parks, in the former the Bismark Memorial, in the latter the race tracks, past the large and well kept cemetery, the Russian Memorial Church, slightly different in design from the others I have seen. They took the gold plating off the dome during the war when they ran short of metals. One oddity on the street which draws my attention is a hearse and cab each distinct but combined on four wheels and drawn together by two horses. We ride through the fair grounds, over 80 buildings in different parts of town, now closed, in which every spring and fall, all the principal nations compete in trade for one week. The library of the University is a very handsome building. Among the many statues there is one to Luther (this town is chiefly Protestant, there being only one Catholic church here) and another to Habuemann, homeopathist. This latter is fenced around ever since the students played a prank by putting a chamber [pot?] beneath the chair on which the figure is seated. The Augustus Platz, one of the principal squares of the city, is surrounded by handsome buildings, among the others the museum of fine arts where there is a good collection and in the center is the Mendebrummen, a fitting ornament. But the outstanding monument of the city is that of the Battle of the Nations, a huge granite structure standing out in bold relief on a grassy knoll in a park which isolates it. Colossal figures of allegorical conception decorate it without and within, while its acoustic qualities are most remarkable. It is the tallest monument in all Germany.

Battle of the Nationals Monument. Via.

This afternoon we ride through a different portion of the city. The second most important industry is furs. Many are seen in the raw and one see some beautiful skins, though there are finished products as well, this being one of the chief fur markets of the world and the Jews have the monopoly of this trade. The residential section of Leipzig is very pretty and the homes are well set off by pretty flower gardens, Karl Tauschnitz Strasse one of the finest. There is one building decorated with frescoes of fairy tales and nursey rhymes, and another occupied by artists studios boldly decorated with murals in bight shades. The Thuringen Hof, 15th century restaurant, has walls painted with scenes from different operas and old wood carvings. The new City Hall is another of the imposing buildings which beautify Leipzig. A statue of Bach stands in front of St. Thomas church where he used to conduct his famous choir. Today is what they call Tauscher, a local fete celebrated by the children and we see many of them in the streets this evening masked and in comic outfits, carrying lanterns. It corresponds somewhat to our Halloween.

St. Thomas Church. Via.

September 10, 1929

Tuesday. Leipzig. We see more of the old city today, the Old Town Hall with Napoleonic museum, house where the great general lived during the battle of Leipzig. We walk through the shopping district (Petersstrasse the principal street, Theodore Althof the best department store). In Auerbach’s Kellar is where Goethe used to come when he wrote Faust on an old beer cask and the walls are decorated with murals representing scenes from this work. There is a large, well-kept covered market hall in Leipzig, poultry, flowers and fruit predominating, and an underground exhibition hall. This city looks extremely prosperous and it is said to pay more taxes per capita than any other German municipality.

Rosenthal Park. Via.

September 11, 1929

Wednesday. We take a horse drawn vehicle that looks like it might date from Noah’s Ark today and ride through the principal parks including the Rosenthal where autos are not allowed. The people over here make much better use of their parks than we do as they are always much frequented, especially the zoos.

Palmengarten. Via.

September 12, 1929

Thursday, Leipzig. We spend this morning in the beautiful Palmengarten, a pleasant spot indeed in which to dream away a leisure hour or two. The radio is broadcasting a high order of music from Dresden which forms a very fitting complement to the lovely flowers, exotic shrubbery, lakes and fountains. At 4 p.m. we take the train for Magdeburg, the country stretches flatly I the distance. Windmills are a frequent feature of the landscape.

Magdeburg Postcard. Via.

September 13, 1929

Friday. We are at the Magdeburger Hof, the best the city affords, which is not saying much. We ride around today and see the sights of interest. There is an ancient air about the place and yet it is busy with commerce which extends over a great area. It claims four hundred thousand inhabitants, most of whom seem to be on the streets, which are unusually wide. Never have I seen such a crowded thoroughfare as the Breiteweg. The Dom is a fine Gothic structure whose steeples can be seen at a great distance owing the flat country. There are many pretentions homes which bespeak prosperity, a splendid park and the wachshaus where wonderful plants are cultivated, especially cacti here to be seen in every variety, and peppers in many colors. The old town hall is a quaint structure and before it stands the gilded figure of King Otto on horseback beneath its little Moorish cupola. Magdeburg is on the Elbe.

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