“Have You Seen My Alps?” - A Jewish Love Story

Jewish Museum Vienna (website: http://www.jmw.at)


“The history of the Alps roughly and succinctly reflects the history of Europe, in other words our civilisation,” wrote Arnold Zweig in Haifa in 1940 in his posthumously published book “Dialectic of the Alps. Progress and Obstacle” (“Dialektik der Alpen. Fortschritt und Hemmnis”). For the Jews of Europe the mountains in the middle of the continent have always been fascinating, challenging and puzzling. This waste of nature, this abundance of beauty, ruggedness and energy had to have a meaning that was surely worth discovering. Thus began a chequered relationship, the story of an often unrequited love.

The exhibition “Have You Seen My Alps? – A Jewish Love Story...” will take visitors on a journey of discovery through time and space, from Hohenems to Vienna, from Vienna to Switzerland and finally to Merano: a journey through the worlds of Jewish Alpinism and the development of the mountains for international tourism, a journey to the intellectual childhood and adult dreams beyond the cities, through the contradictions of assimilation and migration, persecution and reappraisal. The exhibition will relate the stories of people, places and objects that the visitor will discover on this journey, associations across time, with surprising and troubling connotations. The history of the Jews in the Alpine region actually goes back to the expansion of the Roman Empire, although Jewish communities did not settle in Alpine valleys until much later and remained a rarity: Hohenems, Innsbruck and Merano, with Lugano and Lucerne coming later, or the seasonal Jewish life in the spas of Graubünden and Valais. “Have You Seen My Alps?” takes visitors on a fictitious journey of rediscovery of the Alps through idyllic places and miraculous landscapes.

An exhibition by the Jewish Museum Hohenems and the Jewish Museum Vienna.