Jewish Life Around the World

Traces of Jewish life in old and new, documentary and staged films

Our collection "Jewish Lifeworlds" brings together numerous feature films and documentaries on the subject. The compilation is deliberately unorganised: Historical subjects stand next to contemporary material, films on the crime against humanity of the Shoa in Germany stand next to dramas, tragedies and comedies on contemporary Jewish life, documentary portraits next to fictional narratives. The intention is to give as many people as possible the opportunity to encounter Jewish history and to get to know the everyday life of Jewish people (not only) in Germany better. In this way, a sign is set against anti-Semitism. Likewise, the principle of the unweighted compilation arises from the hope that the films, for all their weight of meaning, will invite people to take a personal stroll and thus to a serious, yet "normal" film viewing. There is just as much room for the light worlds of life as for the "darknesses of the world of death", which, as Peter Wapnewski put it, bear witness "to the millennia-old Jewish fate of humiliation, expulsion, the Shoah". Peter Wapneski, the contentious, highly respected linguistic adventurer, Germanist and medievalist (1922-2012), once referred to a word by Primo Levi, who took his own life in 1987 because Auschwitz had taken his life in 1944: "It has happened, and consequently it can happen again: therein lies the core of what we have to say." Wapneski added: "The idea is plausible and convincing that, insofar as it is at all humanly possible, one can mourn death appropriately only where one has recognised and understood life."