JMM Out and About

Posted on April 16th, 2014 by

Part of my role at the museum is to handle the reservations of one of our travelling exhibits, Jews on the Move: Baltimore and the Suburban Exodus, 1945 – 1968. The exhibit has been in storage for several months but is currently on display until April 14th at Beth Israel Synagogue.

In addition to displaying Jews on the Move, we also had an evening lecture there last week about some of the themes it highlights. The lecture, titled Jews on the move: A Conversation, was led by Dean Krimmel, a museum consultant who was a member of the team that developed the exhibit. The talk gathered a great audience and created a huge amount of conversation.

Dean Krimmel at Beth Israel

Dean Krimmel at Beth Israel

Dean started the lecture by asking a few questions, and he asked those who answered “yes” to stand. We were asked:

  • Were you part of the suburban exodus?
  • Were you born here in Baltimore?
  • Have you lived here for your adult life?
  • Are you a newcomer?
Getting some exercise at Beth Israel!

Getting some exercise at Beth Israel!

Unsurprisingly, the first two questions had a huge response, with most of the room standing. The final question, received a much smaller response, but it was interesting to see what people considered a newcomer to be. I knew I certainly would fit within this category, having only been here for a year. What surprised me was that people who had lived here their entire adult life still considered themselves newcomers! However, I quickly learned that, unless you went to high school in Baltimore, some will consider you a lifelong newcomer. This also led to another interesting point: this city is unique in that, when asked “what school did you attend?” you are not being asked about college but rather about high school.

The high point of the evening was hearing all of the conversations that were inspired by the program, both during the lecture and after, around the exhibit. People discussed their memories of moving to the suburbs, the reasons for doing so and some of the restrictions that they faced. Many people had similar experiences with regards to their suburban exodus, especially relating to their experiences with real estate agents.

We were also treated to a little of the history of Beth Israel and its movements by Bernie Raynor.

We were also treated to a little of the history of Beth Israel and its movements by Bernie Raynor.

There was also plenty of reminiscing prompted by images in the exhibit, especially regarding schools and shopping centers.

There was also plenty of reminiscing prompted by images in the exhibit, especially regarding schools and shopping centers.

 We also looked at some of the original advertisements for the newly built homes during the suburban exodus.

We also looked at some of the original advertisements for the newly built homes during the suburban exodus.

Overall, everyone had a lovely evening. The chatting continued for an hour after the lecture finished. Everyone shared memories and even remembered some things thought long forgotten.

Trillion BremenBlog post by Program Manager Trillion Attwood. To read more posts from Trillion, click here.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




MS 206 The Felix Kestenberg Collection

Posted on October 5th, 2012 by

The Felix Kestenberg (1921-2008)

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Collection

n.d., 1987-2008

 MS 206

 Jewish Museum of Maryland

ACCESS AND PROVENANCE

The Felix Kestenberg collection was donated to the Jewish Museum of Maryland by Veronica Kestenberg in 2010 as accession 2010.69. The collection was processed by Jennifer Vess in 2012.

Access to the collection is unrestricted and available to researchers at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Researchers must obtain 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 practices

Hebrew Free Loan Association - October 1989. Felix Kestenberg kneels third from the left in the front row. 2010.69.6

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Felix Kestenberg was born in 1921 in Radom, Poland, the son of a shoe manufacturer.  In 1939 he was sent to a labor camp on the border of Russia and was moved to seven other camps including Auschwitz and Maidanek.  In January 1945, he was marched to Dachau. The camp was liberated on April 29, 1945 by American troops.  He was the only member of his family to survive.

Kestenberg moved to Baltimore in 1949 to live with his uncle Leo Altfeder.  Kestenberg’s first jobs included TV repairman and roofer. He eventually joined his uncle’s clothing business and later worked for London Fog and Misty Harbor Outerwear.

Kestenberg was active in the Jewish community serving in various positions for the Hebrew Free Loan Society, the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society and Jewish Family Services.  Under the Jewish Family Services he served as the chair for the Holocaust Claims Conference Committee.  Kestenberg traveled around Maryland telling his story at schools, churches and synagogues.  He was a founding member and long-time supporter of Beth Israel Congregation.

His first wife, Doris Potler, died 1968 and he later married Veronica Salazar.  He had three children, David Homoki, Leah Miller and Edith Creeger.  Kesternberg died in Baltimore on July 22, 2008.

SCOPE AND CONTENT

The Felix Kestenberg Collection contains photographs, certificates, programs, articles, letters, and DVDs predominantly related to Kestenberg’s work with Holocaust remembrance.  The materials reference Kesternberg’s talks given to students, participation in yearly Holocaust remembrance events aroundMaryland, and awards for his accomplishments.  The papers are organized with all articles first followed by certificates then materials such as programs and letters related to his talks on the Holocaust.  Each grouping of materials is organized chronologically.  The DVDs and photographs are stored separately.

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Posted in jewish museum of maryland