Located in the building of the former workshop next to the Synagogue, the Jewish Museum contains a permanent exhibition displaying the history of the Synagogue building and Jewish life in the past and today, as well as commemorating the Jews deported from the former Synagogue congregation. Based on the Niederzissen Genizah finds, which are at the heart of the exhibition, Jewish life in the past is shown with all its local color. The objects from the Genizah are grouped thematically. An installation with countless fragments of writings is placed on the ceiling of the exhibition space, symbolizing the vast amount of objects – and their state of chaos upon discovery – of the attic finds.
The title of the exhibition “Day in, Day out” is deliberately chosen, since the objects displayed are taken directly from everyday life of the Jews of Niederzissen – and Jewish everyday life until today is shaped by its customs and holidays. The exhibition is divided into an introduction, “On This Very Day”, and the five thematic sections “Daily Life”, “Working Day”, “Festivals and Holidays”, “The Next Day”, and “Today”. These titles are taken from common parlance to depict Jewish everyday life as natural participation in village life.
On This Very Day
The exhibition texts describe the history of the Synagogue until its inauguration as a memorial and meeting center on March 18th, 2012. A continuous series of pictures displays the renovation works and the recovery of the finds from the attic.
This section, by using historical and modern objects, shows various facets of Jewish everyday life, which were and still are expressions of practiced Judaism. This part of the exhibition deals with the festivals of life (births, weddings), faith and superstitions, purity laws and kosher food. The integration of Jews in everyday social life, such as through the participation in various societies, is also portrayed. Finally, the patriotic and even nationalist attitudes of the Jews from Niederzissen during their military service are also highlighted.
This section is dedicated to showing the various fields of work of Jews in Niederzissen and the Brohl Valley.
Festivals and Holidays
Here, the Jewish year is explained via a Jewish calendar which is placed against the backdrop of a Gregorian calendar. The calendar is shown in all spaces where the temporal context of a festival or holiday is needed. The specific day discussed in each display case is highlighted in color. The basis of all of Judaism, including its festivals and memorial days, is the Torah, the Five Books of Moses. For this reason, the Torah is placed at the visual center of the section. It is a fortunate coincidence that a Torah fragment from the Genizah can be displayed here.
The Next Day:
This section, dealing with the time of National Socialism, includes the topics of exclusion, persecution, and remembrance. Next to copies of original administrative documents concerning individual fates, a memorial book – called “Memorbuch” in German Jewish custom – presents further information to the visitors. In the spirit of Jewish commemoration, it contains the names and dates of all Jews from the Brohl valley who were deported and killed. An illuminated display shows pictures of former Jewish citizens, their biographies and their fates.
The final thematic section is dedicated to Jewish life as it exists today, in those cities closes to Niederzissen. Another series of pictures depicts the vibrant vitality of Jewish life in the Synagogue congregation of Cologne. This outlook also concludes the exhibition, which is planned to be amended with an additional audio station.
As of April 2020, the former Synagogue is open to visitors on the following Sundays: August 2nd, 2pm to 6pm, September 13th, 1pm to 6pm (tours at 2pm and 4pm), October 11th, 2pm to 3:30pm, November 8th, 2pm to 4pm.
Closed from December through March (individual tours can be arranged).
Tours: Tours, as well as individual visits, can be arranged via telephone even during the winter months, via a call to the cultural and heritage society of Niederzissen +49-2636-6482 or +49-172-9744611 (mobile), or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tourist information and possible lodging can be found at: Tourist-Info Ferienregion Laacher See, Kapellenstr. 12, 56651 Niederzissen.
Admission is free. Donations are welcome.