Historical Heap

Historical Heap - (Versão em português aqui)

Thematic Library
• Jewish authors in Rio de Janeiro
Since 1999, with the first exhibition of Jewish authors of Rio de Janeiro, at the National Library, we have enlarged our collection, which now includes more than 600 titles about fiction, memory, religion, folklore, medicine, philosophy, Law, Ethics and Children Literature.
Varied in their own characteristics, the Jewish authors found in our library share the same taste for ancestral likelihood, the Jewish experience and the fact that they lived or are still living in the city. The library is permanently enriched with new works. For instance, in 2004 we received the revised and enlarged version of "Morte no Paraiso" (Death in Paradise) , a biography of Stefan Zweig, written by the renowned journalist and essay writer Alberto Dines; "A raiz quadrada e outras histórias" (The square root and other stories) the most recent fiction of writer and screen writing Ronaldo Wrobel, where unforgettable characters wander among European memories and tropical raptures; and "Mameloshn - memória em carne viva" (Mameloshn - Memories in living flesh), an autobiographical report by psychoanalyst Halina Grynberg, who arrived in Rio de Janeiro as a child and talks about her family, dilacerated by the Holocaust, exile and madness.

• The Holocaust
More than 300 titles about the theme are available at the Museum to be consulted. They are part of the Research Center and the Holocaust issue, which has a permanent exhibit of clothes and objects related to it.

• Magazines, bulletins and pamphlets about Jewish institutions in Rio de Janeiro, another important source of research for the registry of the Brazilian Jewish community history, can also be found at the Museum.

Some of the items in permanent exhibition are:
• Channukiot - the collection of 69 channukiot are a sample of art for religious aims as well as of the diversity of influences found in the Jewish people. They are perfect replicas, depicting either typical ornaments of Western Europe or the almost folkloric simplicity of the pieces found in East Europe; not to mention the Morocco taste for birds and flowers. The first channukiah known, dated from the XIII century in Sicily, is represented: as homage to the 12 doorways of the Temple, it shows 12 doors above the basis.

Also to be noticed, among other items:
• The Torah (in Hebrew, the Law Scrolls)
• A silver case used for a prayer book, XVIII century, Italy.
• Shadai plaques - shadai (in Hebrew, one of God ´s names) is still seen as an amulet against bad spirits and was kept in newly-born babies´ rooms.
• Clothes and other items related to the Holocaust - concentration camps uniforms; David star that European Jews were forced to wear during the Nazi regime.
• Hand (yad, in Hebrew). "Silver Hand", item used in the synagogues by the person who is given the privilege of being called to read a passage of the Pentateuch.
• Meguilah, or Book of Esther - read during Purim festivities, it describes the victory of the Jews over their enemy Haman, who wanted to eliminate them from Persia. They owe their salvation to Esther, who intervened for the Jews before king Ahashverus.

DVD collection
More than a thousand DVDs about subjects related to the Jewish people, from History to recent documentaries about Israel and Hollywood musical films. The movies are in Yiddish, Spanish, English, German, French, Italian, Hebrew, Arabian, Turkish, Polish, Japanese and ladino - mostly with Portuguese subtitles. There are rare movies like the only Jewish movie made in the USSR and another from 1898, about Jerusalem. The Museum provides regular movie sessions on its premises and also lends them to schools.

In 2003, the Museum started the Yiddish Movie Cycle, showing movies the public very seldom has the chance of watching elsewhere. In 2004 the Museum showed, among others: "The Past & the Hope: Bund", a retrospective of Bund (Jewish Socialist Party) on its centenary, which took place in 1986; and "A Wedding in Shtetl", a Broadway musical about a traditional wedding which does not have the bride's approval.

Rare works. The following rare works can be seen at the site of the Digital Library of the Jewish Museum: The Lipsiae Machsor, composed of 68 facsimiles from a Middle Age Machsor, whose original is at the Leipzig University Library; two Hagadot from Pessach from the XIX century, illustrated with several illuminations; two copies of the same illustrated and very old edition of The Book of Songs of Solomon - Shir Hashirim by king Solomon - one in Hebrew and another in English; two volumes of Spanish Literature, one with works by Spanish Rabbi writers from the Middle Ages to the XVIII Century and the other enclosing both gentile and Catholic writers of the same period - both volumes dating 1781. To check them, please visit the site http://www.docpro.com.br/museujudaico/bibliotecadigital.html

Among other documents, immigrants passports, clubs and institutions records of proceedings.

Testimony of Jews who arrived in Rio de Janeiro during the first half of the 20th Century.


José Feldman
About 69 channukiot donated by Mr. and Mrs. Leon Herzog. All the pieces have been made by Mr. Joseph Feldman, who was born in Russia, in 1899, and lived in Rio de Janeiro from 1925 till his death, in 1978. Mr. Feldman worked as a photographer, a gravel washer, an antic dealer, and an artisan. Willing that each Jewish home would have a channukiah (an eight-armed candlestick used in Channukah, he started reproducing several kinds of them, representing the variety and also the unity of the Jewish people.

• Egon e Frieda Wolff (in memoriam)
The collection encloses books, published between 1975 and 1996, besides two autobiographical texts by Frieda Wolff, as well as photos. It is a rather original work, detailed and indispensable to the history of Jewish Immigration in Brazil. The last book, called "Revolving our archives", ends with an appeal, which is also the Jewish Museum´s:

"Please, don't throw in the waste basket anything before knowing for sure it is not a document, a memory of the facts and history of our community. Remember the Jewish Museum in Rio de Janeiro and the Brazilian Jewish Historical Archive in San Paulo - and its branches in Manaus, Belem, Recife, Salvador, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre - are ready to receive and keep all these old papers in order to rescue the memory of the Jewish communities in Brazil."

Their 44 books were based on researches made in basic sources (many of them never made before). After the end of the 1960, and for more than 10 years, Egon and Frieda went through Brazilian and Foreign Archives searching documents and data related to the presence of Jews in Brazil, back to the colonization times.

Egon (1910-1981) and Frieda Wolff (1911-2009). The couple came off a ship in Santos, on February, 12, 1936. They were newly-married and managed to arrive in Brazil while escaping the Nazis. Both graduated from the University of Berlin, they settled in San Paulo, where they works as merchants and achieved prosperity as opticians. Later, they moved to Rio de Janeiro, still working in the same field and becoming very active in the local Jewish Community. Mr. Egon became President of the Jewish Hospital. In the 1960 decade, Mrs. Frieda Wolff said that: the curiosity about the Jewish immigration to Brazil and the lack of satisfactory answers" required that something be done. The couple, then, abandoned their other activities to dedicate themselves to go deep in their researches. Tireless travelers, they started at the National Library, went on to the National Archive, traveled all over cemeteries, Jewish and gentiles, throughout the country. They wrote down names, data and genealogy. The couple interviewed hundreds of people, compared thousands of pages; and then found out a number of precious items, like the Jewish tombstones in the city of Vassouras, which became a Historical Monument of the XIX Century and is now a must in the tourist circuit of the city.

The quality of their work led the Brazilian Historical and Geographical Institute to invite them to become members of that prestigious Institute. They accepted the invitation, but continued to affirm their humble conditions of amateurs. Among their books, some have undeniable Historical value, as for instance the one called "How many Jews were there in the Dutch Brazilian?" or their Seven Biographical Dictionaries.

• Werner Nehab
He was born in Berlin, got Brazilian citizenship, and was a professor at the Music National School in Rio de Janeiro. Mr. Werner Nehab has offered to the Jewish Museum all his archive. The collection includes correspondence between him and friends in Europe during four decades, newspapers articles, Brazilian and Foreign Magazines, documents about Nazism, Fascism, Anti-Semitism and Integralism.

• Archeology
Archeological items that belonged to Israeli general Moshe Dayan, all considered of great value by experts, have been offered by Stela Diana Vorona and Jone Tob Azulay's families. They include Roman coins, terra-cotta and ceramic vessels, glass items, a bronze sword dated 2000 and 1500 B.C, the Patriarchs period, found in Judea' s hills, daggers and spears' points from Canaan, dated 1800 and 1500 B.C.

• Fritz e Regine Feigl
Photos, documents, and medals. The chemical Engineer Fritz Feigl was born in Vienna and joined the Austrian Hungarian Army in the First World War. He came to Brazil in 1940 and soon started to make researches about the best use for the not exported coffee, due to the Second World War. He then developed a technique that extracted caffein from coffee. His wife, Regine Feigl, was in charge of establishing a plant in San Paulo and for the following three years they sold all their production to Coca Cola, a financial success. The couple was responsible for important real estate projects, such as the Avenida Central Building, in Rio de Janeiro.

Mr. Feigl became Honoris Causa Professor of several Universities in the country. He also founded and presided The Jewish Societies Federation in Rio de Janeiro (nowadays called Jewish Federation of Rio de Janeiro). Its premises were then located at Mexico Street 90; the building was bestowed donated to the Jewish Museum. Mr. Fritz Feigl died in Rio de Janeiro, in 1971.

• Salo Brand
The Museum keeps photos, texts and documents of Salo Brand, a Brazilian Jew who occupied relevant public positions in Rio de Janeiro. He was born in 1908 in the suburban district of Cascadura. The son of a merchant, he graduated as an Engineer in 1930. He worked as a secretary to Oswaldo Aranha until 1937, when congress was closed. He was the Mayor of Itaguaí, Magé and Campos, in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro. In 1950, he became a Federal Congressman and was reelected in 1958. He was also the Secretary for Transportation and Public Affairs and then a Secretary of Finances for the State of Rio de Janeiro.

In the Jewish communities, Mr. Brand was also very active; he was one of the first presidents of the Jewish Club Hebraica. He died on February, 26, 1996.

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