MESUSA: Digital Atlas on „Aryanization“ – New Ways of Remembrance Culture
MESUSA is to become a digital atlas to visualize the Jewish heritage, with which the anti-Semitism of the past and present is made visible. The aim is to break new ground in the culture of remembrance.
In Jewish tradition, MĒSUSA is a blessed doorpost inscription on a building or apartment owned or used by Jews. From 1938 onwards, in National Socialist Germany, real estate and companies belonging to people of Jewish origin were „forcibly expropriated“ by the state.
This mass and state-organized robbery (murder) of property and its owners, known in Nazi jargon as „Aryanization,“ is now to be recorded and documented with the „Mesusa“ research project.
In accordance with Jewish tradition, it is planned to gradually provide every „Aryanized“ house, apartment and business with a „Mesusa“, which provides information about the robbed owner.
„Mesusot“ (plural of Mesusa) will be placed – digitally and where possible haptically – at eye level. The events („Aryanization“) are to be documented and the object marked in accordance with Jewish tradition: Every „Aryanized“ house, flat or business should receive a „Mesusa“, which gives information about the robbed owner.
The Jewish-Christian heritage is often spoken of, but the Jewish heritage is largely invisible in everyday life, hardly conscious and Jews today have to hide their Jewishness and their heritage again.
Against this hiding and making invisible, the public space (both the analog and the digital space) is to be marked and the often invoked heritage is to be made more visible.
Judaism is part of German history. If it is shown publicly in everyday life, it becomes visible and comprehensible for everyone, including those who are new to Germany. For this reason, „Mesusa“ will also be performed in Hebrew, English, Arabic and Turkish in addition to German.
In addition, a suitably prepared app is to appeal particularly to pupils, who are to be provided with an extensive knowledge offer in the five languages mentioned for the Shoah – provided with various media formats (video, audio) – and a corresponding link list.
The aim is to make a repressed or even denied reality visible in public space – digitally and, where possible, analogously – and to remember it, but also to conduct basic historical research.
There is currently no comprehensive and systematically created web-based database with an interactive, graphically very well prepared interface (GUI) as a web map of „aryanized“ real estate, apartments and companies (publicly accessible, sorted by addresses and names, directory and with geo search).
Such a web-based map is to be developed and the results made visible both digitally and analogously. A commemorative plaque (both digital and, where possible, analogue) based on a „Mesusa“ is to be attached.
On this memorial plaque „Mesusa“ the name of the last owner before the „Aryanization“, the name of the „Aryanizer“ with date of the „Aryanization“ and the name of the current owner can be found.
The „Mesusa“ should have a QR-code, which then links to the corresponding information. The corresponding links are offered on the website.
The memorial plaques „Mesusa“ are to be realized digitally and analogously (provided that the current owner agrees). On the digital level, more in-depth information is to be made available by linking.
Step by step, „Mesusa“ around „Mesusa“ shall find one „aryanization case“ after the other documentation and illustration. This is not a task that can be completely realized with a great effort, but represents a process that will probably take years to complete.
A participatory approach is therefore planned, so that those affected can provide information and experience their „cases“ scientifically processed and documented.
In the first phase, the focus will be on Berlin and Vienna. Further cities will follow, where Jews lost their belongings through murder or extortion or expulsion.
OUTPUT SITUATION and BACKGROUND INFORMATION
According to various estimates, around 70,000 properties and around 50,000 companies were „Aryanised“ in Berlin, which means stolen by Germans and Austrians in the name of National Socialism.
Their owners were killed – by murder on the open road, in the so-called „labour camp“ or in a concentration camp – or had to flee under the blackmail of all possessions.
The so-called „aryanizations“ of real estate and businesses are largely invisible today, and their victims have rarely been compensated. The history of the expropriation of Jewish property and the networks behind these crimes are hardly noticeable.
„So-called“ because the National Socialist racial mania for cataloguing people should not be granted any implicit recognition and any power of definition, and these categories have no objective content.
They are criminal delusions that have destroyed the lives of millions and plunged the world into the abyss of barbarism. The atrocities of the Shoah and their historical uniqueness need not be elaborated here.
MĒSUSA is „…the name for the door post inscription which contains the two sections Deut. 6,4-9 and Deut. 11,13-21 on a parchment roll enclosed in a metal or glass cylinder“. (Jewish Lexicon, vol. IV/1, p.140, Berlin 1927).
It traditionally designates a building, house or apartment, whether owned or rented, used by Jews. It, the MĒSUSA, is accessible in the upper third mounted on the right side of the entrance. Similar to stumbling blocks, the commemorative plaque is to be publicly displayed as a symbolic „Mesusa“: Once on the Web and, where possible, once on the house at eye level and not sunk into the pavement.
This „Mesusa“ is not a halachic valid MĒSUSA, because depending on the denomination it can only be applied by a commissioned rabbi or by the owner himself using the corresponding blessings as well as the halachic correctly described parchment roll, which is inserted rolled into a corresponding cylinder or box. (Read more > http://www.liberale-juden.de/das-liberale-judentum/leben/alltag/ or http://www.ordonline.de/).
The mounted „Mesusa“ is therefore not a MĒSUSA in the halachic sense, which we distinguish by the spelling MĒSUSA for the naming of a halachic MĒSUSA.
Anti-Defamation Center – Bildungswerk für Demokratie und Kultur e.V. (Educational Center for Democracy and Culture)
The association Anti-Defamation Center – Bildungswerk für Demokratie und Kultur e.V. is a non-profit association based in Berlin. It acts among other things as publisher of the German-Israeli daily on-line newspaper HaOlam (www.haolam.de) and is organizer of the annually taking place rally against the anti-Israeli Al-Quds march (Berlin). Web > www.adc-bildungswerk.de
Touro College Berlin
Touro College Berlin is a non-profit scientific university belonging to Touro College and University Systems in New York. Its mission statement combines Jewish and American educational traditions in Berlin. The practical, broad-based courses of study, the campus life and the national, cultural and religious diversity of teachers and students also characterize the college as the final link in a Jewish educational pyramid in Berlin. Web > www.touroberlin.de
Lander Institute for Holocaust Communication and Tolerance
The Institute offers a Master’s programme in Holocaust Communication and Tolerance, which is unique in Germany. This MA programme is equivalent to the courses of study offered by public universities and is recognised by the state. The application-oriented profile conveys Jewish history, the history of National Socialism and the Holocaust as well as their impact up to the present day. The practical communication of this knowledge to the public is one of the core tasks of the Web > www.touroberlin.de/ma-holocaust-communication-tolerance programme.
Dr. Naftali Neugebauer
Dr. Naftali Neugebauer is publisher of GLOCALIST: Tages-Online-Zeitung für Innovation (Berlin; www.glocalist.press). He conceived the project „MESUSA“ and serves as an honorary fundraiser and project manager for the association.
Supporters for this scientific project are still being sought. If you are interested, we will gladly send you the sponsorship documents and present the project to you in more detail during an interview.
Political independence is important to us, therefore we ask for your understanding that we will not accept non-material support and financial donations from political parties and party-related organisations (party foundations etc.).
PRESS – Press Release (5th of April 2019)
Mesusa: Digital Atlas of „Aryanization“
In cooperation with the Lander Institute for Holocaust Communication and Tolerance at Touro College Berlin, the non-profit association Anti Defamation Center (Berlin) is starting preparations for the project „Mesusa: Digital Atlas of Aryanization“: as a project for a new, digital culture of remembrance.
During the National Socialist era, hundreds of thousands of houses, flats and companies owned by Jews were systematically „expropriated“; in many cases it was state-organized robbery. Where compensation was paid, the amounts were usually ridiculous. The former owners were driven into exile or murdered in ‚concentration camps‘.
For the first time, this atlas is intended to record the stolen properties and companies digitally and comprehensively and to document the owners before, during and after the „Aryanization“.
The corresponding content is stored in an Open Access database. The aim is to process history and make it publicly and freely accessible to everyone.
Each ‚aryanised‘ property – house, flat or business – is to receive a „Mesusa“, which provides information in five languages (German, English, Hebrew, Arabic and Turkish) about the robbed owner.
In addition, information about any previous owners and profiteers of the ‚Aryanization‘ is also offered.
A „Mesusa“ traditionally identifies a Jewish building, a Jewish house or a Jewish apartment. It is mounted as a small panel accessible in the upper third on the right side of the entrance.
Similar to the ‚Stumbling Stones‘, the memorial plaque is intended to be publicly displayed as a symbolic ‚Mesusa‘: Once on the Internet and – where possible – once at eye level at the house in question.
Where possible and available, the information about the real estate owners is supplemented by more detailed information. It is planned to include affected persons, descendants and researchers.
An app is intended to appeal especially to young people and schools. A multimedia information service on the Schoa and a comprehensive list of links via the app and website are to be made available to support this.
First prominent voices from economy, culture, science and politics support this project: Volker Beck, Gerd Buurmann, Michael Grauss, Dr. Rafael Korenzecher, Markus Löning, Ben Salomo, Peter Sichrovsky, Dr. Jürgen Sudhoff, Sacha Stawski and Attila Teri. Read the statements HERE
The aim is for this atlas to go online in November 2019 with the first 100 Mesusot – i.e. documented „aryanizations“ with a focus on Berlin and Vienna.
„We are convinced that German society and the public sector will assume their responsibility here and make this project financially possible,“ Izi Aharon is convinced. He is chairman of the Anti Defamation Center.
Dean Prof. Dr. Peter Klein of the Lander Institute for Holocaust Communication and Tolerance: „As a practice-oriented course of studies, we do not only teach the history of the Holocaust, but rather the communicative handling of this heritage, for which the Mesusa project is an example.
To safeguard the project, a crowdfunding campaign will be launched at the beginning of September. „Until the beginning, other well-known public figures such as organizations will certainly support this project, which will carry the crowdfunding,“ says fundraising manager Naftali Neugebauer with conviction.
„It will be a joint effort and will show whether sufficient support can be found in Germany and Austria for this new path of a digital culture of remembrance and processing,“ concluded Neugebauer.
The rector of Touro College Berlin, Sara Nachama, sums up the project as follows: „The Mesusa project has two things to discover. First, the Jewish Berlin of the 1930s based on addresses, and second, the extent of injustice committed based on their fates.
Make the project Mesusa: Digital Atlas of „Aryanization“ possible.
For a donation of
10 Euro you will be named as donor on the future website.
50 Euro you will be invited to the opening ceremony of the future website and if you wish you will be named as donor on the future website.
150 euros will make a digital Mesusa possible, you will be invited to the opening ceremony of the future website and, if you wish, you will be named as donor on the future website.
(Donation with PayPal or credit card possible) OR directly to the account
Account holder: ADC Bildungswerk e.V. Mesusa
IBAN DE13 1005 0000 0190 8181 23
A donation receipt will be sent upon request. The association ADC is recognized as a non-profit association. The donation is currently being used to finance and develop the crowdfunding campaign. Follow this BLOG to learn about current developments.
Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator