Spotlight on Collections

Posted on January 10th, 2013 by

The majority of our archival collection here at the Jewish Museum of Maryland dates after the construction of the Lloyd Street Synagogue (1845).? This isn?t surprising giving the size of the Jewish population in Baltimore before that time.? But we do have some items from the earlier part of the 19th century or even the end of the 18th century.

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and Miriam (daughter of Ezekiel) in Baltimore, 1839. Courtesy of Mabel F. Kraus. 1964.24.2″]

Handwritten ketubah (marriage contract) for Simon [Floss?

Prayer book, in Old German and Hebrew, edited by W. Heidenheim and published in Rodelheim by J. Lehrberger, 1838. This book was used by Rabbi Abraham J. Rice (first rabbi at the Lloyd Street Synagogue) with family information inscribed. Courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Leo Flehinger. 1963.6.1

Indenture between Daniel Evans and Richard Bell for a piece of ground in Fells Point at Fleet and Ann Streets for $1000.00, 1818. Courtesy of Albert Berney. 1992.232.2

Power of attorney concerning Michael Gratz, his wife Miriam Gratz and Michael?s brother Bernard, 1795. Courtesy of Dr. Joseph Francus. 1983.31.2

A travel diary/itinerary for a trip taken July 9-August 17, 1786. 1988.145.10

Hebrew or Yiddish note with English translations regarding the death of Joshua Cohen in Germany, 6 Tammuz 5539 (1779). Courtesy of Maxwell Whiteman. 1989.1.19

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MS 207 Hebrew Young Men’s Sick Relief Association

Posted on January 3rd, 2013 by

Here is one of our most recent Mansuscript Collections processed in the Spring of 2012.

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Hebrew Young Men?s Sick Relief Association Papers

1888-1978

?MS 207

?The Jewish Museum of Maryland

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ACCESS AND PROVENANCE

The Hebrew Young Men?s Sick Relief Association Papers were found in the collection of the Jewish Museum of Maryland and given the accession number 2006.48.001 and 1996.164.028.? The collection was processed in May of 2012.

Access to the collection is unrestricted and is available to researchers at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.? Researchers must obtain the written permission of the Jewish Museum of Maryland before publishing quotations from materials in the collection.? Papers may be copied in accordance with the library?s usual procedures.

50th Anniversary committee Hebrew Young Men's Sick Relief Association, 1938. Courtesy of Paul Frankle. 2009.53.1

HISTORICAL NOTE

The Hebrew Young Men?s Sick Relief Association was founded in September 1888 by three recent immigrants; Aaron Grollman, Feivel Kirshner and Samuel Levi.? Its main purpose was to assist immigrant Jews from Russia and Lithuania settling in Baltimore.? They adopted the slogan:? ?Love, Brotherhood and Friendship?.? Services included:? assisting members in time of sickness, aiding widows and orphans, and in times of disaster offering aid to all regardless of faith.

The Association established a Chevra Kadisha to properly attend to deceased members.? In 1893 they purchased land and dedicated it for a cemetery. In 1936 a new cemetery was bought on Windsor Mill Road.? The organization next established an endowment fund where, upon the death of a member, $200.00 was paid to the widows and orphans to assist them and prevent them from becoming public charges.

In public disasters the Association did its share and offered aid to the suffering regardless of faith;? in February 1904 when Baltimore had its Big Fire, during World Wars I and II, and after the Balfour Declaration contributed toward the establishment and development of Israel.

The Hebrew Young Men?s Sick and Relief Association celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 1938 when it had nearly a thousand members.? The Association was still in existence as late as 1978.

SCOPE AND CONTENT

The Hebrew Young Men?s Sick Relief Association collection consists of administrative documents records and programs.? Records include constitution and by-laws in English and Yiddish, financial reports, agreements with cemeteries and minutes of meetings.

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Minutes include financial statements and rosters with the earliest in Yiddish.? There is information regarding programs and events from 1938 to 1978.

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Jews in the German Army in World War I

Posted on December 20th, 2012 by

Our final post in the World War I series is a guest post provided by Jonathan Feng, who has graciously agreed to write a little bit about Jews serving in the Germany army. ?As always we'll add in some images of photographs and objects from the JMM collection.

Group of men in the German army during World War I with Gertrude Strauss (nurse) taken at a hospital in Karlsruhe, Germany. Isidor Maier (donor's father) is in the upper corner of picture. Courtesy of Meta Oppenheimer. 1998.74.1

My name is Jonathan Feng and I have been invited to guest blog by Jewish Museum of Maryland archivist Jennifer Vess about the First World War.? I am an earnest civil servant whose only qualifications to weigh in on this matter is a short stint in a graduate program for public history and an unnatural fascination with spiked helmets and trench warfare.

The First World War (1914-1918) is a period of time which serves as a major demarcation between two eras.? The nineteenth century was clearly over at the end of the First World War and the world was barreling into the twentieth century with a head of full of steam.? Empires which had stood since the end of the medieval period (Russian Empire,Ottoman Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire) found themselves disintegrated at the end.? The grand nineteenth century empires ofGreat Britain and France were soon to follow in a few decades.

Cross-shaped WWI medal earned by Hugo Bessinger in Germany. Courtesy of Claire Beissinger. 2011.4.1

While the role of the Jewish people is well known in the Second World War and is well documented in mainstream scholarship, their role in the First World War is less known.? John Keegan, the late military historian, only mentioned the Jewish people three times in his work on the First World War (pages 227, 302, and 344 should you care to look in your own personal copy of the book).? Most likely, this is a result of the fact that mainstream scholarship has tended to focus on the major power structures and in the realm of politics and government, the representative Jewish population ranged from minimal to non-existent due to the fact that the Jewish population was, to put it very lightly, not well liked by their non-Jewish neighbors.

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Postcard of German soldiers in World War I, boarding a train, c. 1914-1918. Courtesy of Mrs. Paul Kramer. 1994.72.15

This does not mean that the Jewish people did not make any significant contributions to the First World War. In 1916, due to a long-standing tradition of not being nice to the Jewish people, the German high command decided to do a census (Judenz?hlung or ?Jewish census?) to verify their own pre-established belief that the Jewish people were not being good Germans and supporting the war.? What they found was that the Jewish people were major participants in the conflict, with 10,000 Jewish men volunteering for service and approximately 100,000 Jewish men in total who served in the German military.? The vast majority of them (roughly 78,000 to 80,000) served on the front lines of the First World War and more than 30,000 of them were decorated for their service.? Twelve thousand of those Jewish soldiers lost their lives serving in the First World War. ?Many of those who served did so in the hopes that they would finally earn some respect from their fellow countrymen and prove that they were indeed proud Germans.

Hindenburg Cross, struck to commemorate all German soldiers who served in World War I). Awarded to Kaufmann Sigmund Guthorn. 1984.159.1a

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Such would not be the case, though.? After the onerous terms of the 1918 Treaty of Versailles were delivered and imposed by the Allied Powers, the German people were looking for reasons for their defeat.? The Dolchsto?legende or ?stab-in-the-back myth? developed and categorized the Jewish population of Germany as saboteurs who undermined the German war effort on the home front and ultimately caused the defeat of Germany in the First World War.? This supposed guilt of the Jewish people fueled more anti-Semitic attitudes and would contribute to the rise of Nazism in the interwar period in Germany.

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