Schätze des jüdischen ghettos in Venedig restauriert von Venetian Heritage / Treasures of the Jewish Ghetto of Venice restored by Venetian Heritage
Belvedere Museum, Vienna 2014
Catalogue of the exhibition of Venetian Jewish liturgical objects, restored by Venetian Heritage with the support of Vhernier and exhibited at the Belvedere Museum in Vienna.
In 2016 the Jewish Ghetto of Venice will celebrate its five-hundredth anniversary. Venice was for centuries a hub of Jewish culture, and the Ghetto contained a thriving, international Jewish community. With a decree issued on 29th March 1516 the Senate of the Most Serene Republic of Venice granted the Jews a circumscribed area of the city: in this way the first and most ancient ghetto of Italy was born. From 1516 to 1797, for about three centuries, a vibrant community of different ethnic entities (Germans, Italians, Eastern and Western Jews) lived together in the most tolerant city in Europe. Today, the Ghetto, the only one that maintains its own physiognomy of alleys and little squares, with its five splendid synagogues and its museum, still testifies to the memories of a community that lived for centuries on the isles of the lagoon, often playing a significant role in the long history of the city of Venice.
September 1943: two elderly Venetians Jews, responsible for the religious service of the Spanish and Levantine Synagogues, concealed a selection of valuable liturgical objects in a secret place, before the arrival of the Nazis … those two men were never to return from the extermination camps. The objects included silver crowns, wooden shrines, various objects and the traditional silver decorations that adorned the scrolls of the Jewish law: the Torah.
The valuable objects remained hidden and forgotten until a few years ago, when by pure chance, during the restoration of the Spanish Synagogue, they were rediscovered. These liturgical objects were created by Venetian craftsmen in the 18th and 19th centuries and are part of a heritage that reveals how Venetian civilization became exemplary in Europe thanks to its multi-ethnicity and multiculturalism.