A memory of Judaism in Alsace. A unique collection, testimony to rural and ancient communities, displayed from the very beginning in the museum.
The Musée Alsacien has one of the most important collections of Judaica in Europe, thanks in particular to the special link established in 1907 with the “Société d’histoire des Israélites d’Alsace et de Lorraine (SHIAL)”. This society, created by Rabbi Moïse Ginsburger in 1905, initially aimed to collect and preserve documents and objects related to the history of the Jews of the region, so that they would remain in Alsace rather than be sent to Berlin, the capital of the German Empire to which Alsace belonged at this time.
In 1907, the SHIAL was tasked by the founders of the Alsatian Museum to create a collection of Judaica for the museum newly opened to the public. The Society collected and placed objects, which today represent nearly 400 items, in addition to the museum’s own acquisitions. This partnership, which is more than a century old, shows that from the beginning this project to report on the Alsatian identity fully integrates the Jewish communities. This approach has continued throughout the history of the Musée Alsacien: acquisitions, publications and also presentations. Thus, the Judaica are not confined to the “religions and beliefs” section, but are integrated, along with the other religions of the concordat (Protestantism/Catholicism, Judaism), into the presentation of the different ages of life and into temporary exhibitions.
The donation of the Genizah of Dambach-la-Ville has enriched the Alsatian Museum both digitally (900 items) and scientifically, and it now possesses one of the most important collections of mappot in the world, including several from the 17th century. This exceptional collection was unveiled to the public at the “Héritage inespéré” exhibition in October 2016.