The Jewish Museum Vienna was founded in 1895 as the world’s first Jewish museum. Closed by the National Socialists in 1938, Mayor Helmut Zilk re-established it in 1988 as the Jewish Museum of the City of Vienna. Today it houses one of the largest and most important Judaica collections worldwide – the legacy of the third-largest Jewish community in Europe before the Shoah. Maintaining its collection, researching it, making it publicly accessible, and thus communicating Vienna’s Jewish history to a broad audience is an essential task of the museum. Its history gives rise to a special responsibility of the Jewish Museum towards Viennese urban society and towards all Jewish women and men who can find reference points to their own history and identity here.
The Jewish Museum Vienna sees itself as a place of urban diversity. With its exhibitions, events, and educational programs at both museum locations, but also with its digital offerings, it conveys the range of Jewish life and cultures in the past and present. It shows the history of the relationship between the Jewish and non-Jewish population, and thus addresses aspects such as identity, inclusion, and exclusion from a Jewish perspective.
The Shoah, as the major turning point in Jewish history, is reflected in the history of many objects, in the museum collection, as well as in the individual exhibitions. The Jewish Museum is therefore a place of remembrance that establishes current connections to contemporary Jewish life. In communicating Jewish history, the Shoah, and contemporary Judaism, the Jewish Museum is committed to combating antisemitism and all forms of discrimination and to promoting a tolerant, pluralistic, and democratic society.
The Jewish Museum Vienna discusses relevant cultural and socio-political issues of the past and present from a Jewish viewpoint. The diverse Jewish cultures of the diaspora are building blocks of our modern European society; the Jewish experience of discrimination, exclusion, and persecution is still relevant today, as is the fight for inclusion and equality. The Jewish Museum Vienna contributes to intercultural understanding and thus to the preservation and strengthening of democratic society. It is an open place that imparts and lives democracy and diversity, an inclusive museum that offers opportunities for participation and involvement, tries out new formats, and works to be barrier-free in every respect. As a Green Museum, it is also committed to sustainability to enable coming generations a future that is worth living.
In accordance with the supervisory board of the JMW.