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The Judaica Collection

Testimonies of the Jewish Community of Rudolstadt

One of the most precious inventories of the Thuringian State Museum Heidecksburg is the Judaica collection which contains more than 30 objects. These unique exhibits provide valuable information about the small Jewish community in Rudolstadt. Around 1796, they opened a prayer room which shows that they were a religious community with equal rights.

Even until today the Judaica collection has given testimony of the gorgeous interior of the rooms used for synagogal purposes. The Jewish families living in Rudolstadt donated precious Torah curtains (parochets), Torah wimples (Mappahs), coats of the reader’s pult (bimah) and books. Furthermore, they made handwritings and large-sized prayer tablets. The ritual objects of the synagogue in Rudolstadt are closely linked to the liturgy and the observence of the commandments by the community members. The Torah scrolls (Sefer Torah) from the late 18th century are of the highest importance. The five Torah wimples (mappahs) preserved in Rudolstadt, colourfully printed with graphic characters and symbols, are extremely rare. The most decorative objects of the Judaica collection are the five Torah curtains (parokhets), three of them have been restored. They were attached to the Torah Ark (Aron Kodesh) and thus belong to the most important furnishing of the synagogal room.

After the dissolution of the Jewish community in 1911, the Callmann family from Rudolstadt gave the collection to the local Museum of Antiquity. The inventories of the museum became property of Heidecksburg museum after World War I. During World War II the Judaica collection could be protected and preserved due to the commitment of the curators.