Museum of Family History

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Ellis Island, front facade, 1902-1913

   Current Exhibitions


The Celia Adler Story: Her Life in Yiddish Theatre....
The Museum of the Yiddish Theatre

The life and times of the great Yiddish actress, Celia Adler, is on display here in a multimedia exhibition, which includes for the first time, the English translation of her autobiography, excerpts from an interview conducted by the American Jewish Committee, a tribute by her son about his father, the Yiddish actor Lazar Freed, and much more. A must see!

The Kajmans of Lomza Gubernia

Szejna and Sara Kajman immigrated to Louisiana in 1920. In this exhibition you will see many postcards, containing photographs, messages and good wishes from their friends and family from the towns of Szczuczyn and Grajewo, which are located in present-day Poland.


The Hermann Pressman Diary
From Berlin to Antwerp and the Bronx: A Life in Pre-War Europe and a Subsequent Journey to America

Hermann's diary tells of his day-to-day activities in Europe and the United States between 1933 and 1935, his friends and future wife, his relationship with his parents and sister, and more. At times he also gives his impressions of the tragedy that was occurring in Nazi Germany during this time.

My Father, Maurice Schwartz

Risa and Marvin Schwartz, two Jewish children who were saved during the
Holocaust by being sheltered and raised by a Belgian family, were adopted in
1946 by famed actor and director Maurice Schwartz and his wife Anna, and were raised and educated in the Greenwich Village section of New York City. Here you will read Risa's very interesting reflections and recollections, along with never seen before by the public photos of the Schwartz family


The Landjuden of Euskirchen
The Sibilla Schneider Photographic Collection

Sibilla Schneider was a descendant of the Juelich family that once lived in and around the small town of Euskirchen, Germany. They belonged to the social group of landjuden, or “country Jews”, who flourished throughout Europe, from the Alsace to Slovakia until their lifestyle disappeared in the Shoah. In this online exhibition, you can view nearly three dozen fine photographs of the Schneider-Juelich-Heumann family members from Euskirchen and learn a bit about their family history.

Lost Treasures
The Wooden Synagogues of Eastern Europe

An art exhibition of linocuts of former wooden synagogues created by Bill Farran, presented in a virtual room of the Museum of Family History.

The Remarkable Zalmen Zylbercweig
and his Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, thousands of men and women have participated in some way in the Yiddish theatre. This exhibition focuses on the work of one man, as well as the professional life of his second wife Celia and her first husband, actor Leon Zuckerberg. Zylbercweig was editor of the six-volume "Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre)", a compendium of more than 2,800 Yiddish-language biographies and histories of those individuals and now-defunct theatrical organizations who were once involved in some way with the Yiddish theatre.  Zylbercweig and his wife also were the hosts of their own Yiddish-language radio programs from 1949 to 1969, and these will be part of the Museum's "On the Air!" program.


Lives in the Yiddish Theatre:
Tributes to a Bygone Era

Here a child or grandchild has chosen to honor and preserve the memory of one or more of their family members who in the past was involved in some way with the Yiddish theatre.  This multimedia exhibition, displayed on virtual museum walls,  pays tribute to: Leon and Celia Zuckerberg; Isaac and Adele Swerdlow; Esta Salzman and the Lubritskys (Dave, Fanny and Goldie); Harry Jordan, the Fisher Family of Warsaw (all of whom were once actors), as well as David Pinski (the famed Yiddish playwright).  A must see!

A Bintel Briv:
Correspondences from Zembrover Refugees After the War

Part of the Museum's World Jewish Communities/Landsmanshaftn in America exhibition.

Thousands of survivors of the Holocaust, refugees from World War II, wrote to their landsleit (townspeople) from many countries throughout the world within the first few years that followed the war. In this exhibition you can read empathetically excerpts from just some of their correspondences with their landsleit who were located in the United States. By doing this you most certainly will gain a sense of the turmoil and feelings of anxiety and uncertainty that existed within these refugees within the immediate post-war years. The letters you will read here were written by landsleit from Zambrow, a town located in Northeast Poland.


The Jews of Odessa: A Short History

First, "A Plea From Odessa", a letter from Jacob Tenenholz written from the Perecyp District there during the pogrom there in 1905-6. Here is a list of 555 "souls", family members, including small children, who "possess a capital of 1.1000. rubles." The list is divided into three pages arranged alphabetically and includes the names, ages and occupation of many of those listed. Translated from the original French. You will also be able to read about the Gerber family who once lived in the Odessa District. You will also find here information on a number of Odessa photographic studios.

Within this exhibition, you may also read an article from the New York Daily Tribune in 1906 about the declaration of martial law in Odessa. You can find all links to this exhibition at the bottom of
this page.


Where Once There Were Jews: Łapy, Poland
Part of the Museum's permanent exhibition about Eastern European Jewry

The story of Łapy native Sol Rubenstein begins:

"The one-story brick house in which I was born on March 2, 1916 stood on the main street in Łapy, Poland, twenty-five kilometers south of the city of Bialystok. Łapy, a small town called in Yiddish "shtetl," was a major railroad crossing for the Warsaw-Vilna line. It had approximately one hundred Jewish families and three-thousand gentile families in 1939. The main industry was government railroad repair shops that employed about 4,000 gentile people. The Jewish population was discriminated against and denied the opportunity to work at the railroad shops....."

Continue to read Sol's story as well as see many photographs of Łapy taken there both before and during the war when the Germans occupied the town.


To Honor and Preserve
Megillat Esther: The Story of Esther
The Memories of Leo and Sylvia Dashefsky

How we each choose to honor our ancestors may take on many forms depending on our inclinations and talents, whether the form be simply a discussion about them to others in our family during a family get-together, or the telling stories to multiple generations as part of an ongoing project to preserve the "oral history" of the family. These presentations may serve as a lasting legacy for generations to come.

The first part of this multi-faceted exhibition is entitled "Megillat Esther: The Story of Esther". It is the account of Irene Weinberg's survival as an Aryan Pole during the Shoah, compiled by her son, Rabbi Norbert Weinberg and is based on original documents and taped and video testimony.

The second part of the exhibition consists of a lovely twenty-three minute slide show about the parents of Batya Dashefsky (created by herself), her family et al. I recommend you visit this exhibition and watch the show (with music and narration) and think about how you might use your creativity to honor your own family. The presentation spans many decades, from life in Europe to immigration, to immigrant Jewish life in America in the 1920s, Brownsville, Palestine, Syracuse, New York and Philadelphia.


The Jewish Folk Style in the Wooden Wall Paintings of Eastern Europe

This exhibition, replete with numerous photographs of the interiors and exteriors of the wooden synagogues that once stood in Europe. This exhibition comes to you courtesy of an associate professor of art history in Kharkov, Ukraine. Professor Kotlyar gives interesting insights into the paintings themselves, as only an art historian can.


Never Forget: Visions of the Nazi Camps
part of the Museum's "World War II and the Holocaust" exhibition series.

A multimedia presentation that represents in some small way the history of the Jewish "experience" during the Holocaust in nearly fifty transit, labor and concentration camps.

Persecution and Flight: The Nazi Campaign Against the Jews
part of the Museum's "World War II and the Holocaust" exhibition series.

The Jewish Ghetto
part of the Museum's "World War II and the Holocaust" exhibition series

Rites of Passage

From Kishineff
to Bialystok:
A Table of Pogroms 1903-1906

part of the Museum's "Anti-Semitism in Europe: The Pogroms Against the Jews"  exhibition
A Multitude of Immigrants
American Newspapers and How They Addressed the Immigration Issue

part of the Museum's "How Our Families Came to America" exhibition

Through the Eye of the Needle: Fabric of Survival
Art of the Holocaust

Paint What You Remember: The Memories of Mayer Kirshenblatt.

Paint What You Remember:
The Memories of
Mayer Kirshenblatt

The Works of Martin Kieselstein.

The Works of
Martin Kieselstein

Art of the Holocaust

  Jews in Small Towns: Legends and Legacies
part of the Living in America: The Jewish Experience exhibition
Anti-Semitism in Europe:
The Pogroms Against the Jews
part of the Museum's Eastern European Jewry exhibition.
  Guide to the United States for the Jewish Immigrant
part of the Living in America: The Jewish Experience exhibition

The Russian Jew in the United States
(Philadelphia, New York and Chicago)
part of the Living in America: The Jewish Experience exhibition


  Author Max Kaufmann Churbn Lettland:
The Destruction of
the Jews of Latvia

part of the Jews of Latvia exhibition


Arch Street Theatre Living in America
The Jewish Experience:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  Al Jolson The Immortal Al Jolson
part of the Great Artists Series
Moisei Arenberg A Photographer's Life
A Family Story Told

  Maurice Schwartz Maurice Schwartz and the Yiddish Art Theatre
part of the Great Artists Series
Sheina Gitel Burak, sons Chatzkel, Shmuel The Photographic Studios of Eastern Europe
  Max Weber Max Weber: Reflections of Jewish Memory in Modern American Art
part of the Great Artists Series
The Dybbuk, performed by Habima The Habima in New York
part of the Museum's Yiddish World
  David Pinski David Pinski,
Yiddish Playwright

part of the Great Artists Series
Liza Barska Fischer The Fischer Family of Warsaw
part of the Museum's Yiddish World
  Nina Finkelstein et al, Kovno Ghetto The Life of Nina Finkelstein
Recollections of a Friend

Pre-World War II Szczuczyn Letters from Szczuczyn
  Damascus Gate, Jerusalem Windows in Time
A Summer's Journey to Europe and the Middle East
Zionism in Europe



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