About us

History

The Jewish Museum of Switzerland was opened in 1966 as the first Jewish Museum in the German-speaking world after the Second World War.

The initiative came from members of Espérance (a chevra kadisha; funeral society) who visited Cologne to see the exhibition «Monumenta Judaica» in 1963/64. They discovered that many of the ritual objects on display came from the Basel Judaica collection and decided to present these objects permanently in a Jewish museum in Basel.

When it first opened, the museum occupied two rooms at Kornhausgasse 8. The interior designer Christoph Bernoulli furnished the space.

The founding director, Dr. Katia Guth-Dreyfus, headed the museum for four decades. In 2010 she was succeeded by Dr. Gaby Knoch-Mund. In 2015, Dr. Naomi Lubrich took over as director of the Jewish Museum of Switzerland.

 

The Jewish Museum of Switzerland in 1966

Patronage

The following notable figures are represented on the Patronage Committee and support the Jewish Museum's relocation plans:

Prof. Dr. René Bloch
Jewish Studies, University of Bern

Martine Brunschwig Graf
Ex National Councillor LDP, Geneva

Joël Dicker
Writer, Geneva

Prof. em. Roger Diener
Architect, Basel 

Dr. Christoph Eymann
National Councillor LDP, Basel

Dr. Ralph Friedländer
Vice President SIG and DFA, Bern

Dr. Josef Helfenstein
Director, Art Museum of Basel

Dr. Eva Herzog
Member of the Council of States SP, Basel

Patricia Kopatchinskaja
Violinist and composer, Bern

Yves Kugelmann
Publicist, Basel

Prof. Dr. Lukas Kundert
Theologian, President of the Church Council of the Evangelical Reformed Church Basel-City

Renée Levi
Artist, Basel

Dr. Thomas von Planta
Baloise, Zurich and Basel

Prof. Stephan Schmidt
Director, Music Academy Basel/Hochschule für Musik FHNW

Prof. Dr. Emile Schrijver
Director General, Joods Cultureel Kwartier, Amsterdam

Denise Tonella
Director, Swiss National Museum, Zurich

Petra B. Volpe
Screenwriter and director, Berlin and New York

Dr. Nina Zimmer
Director, Museum of Fine Arts Bern and Zentrum Paul Klee

Annual reports

Team

Biography

Visitor Service

Rebekah Hoeks Mail

Biography

When you enter the museum, the first thing you see is me behind the counter. Since the beginning of this year, 2022, I've been responsible for visitor services and coordinating guided tours. I studied English and anthropology at the university here in Basel. I wrote my master's thesis in Burkina Faso, where I lived for a few years and had great experiences.

Dinah Ehrenfreund

Biography

Collection

Dinah Ehrenfreund Mail

Biography

In my role as head of collections at the Jewish Museum of Switzerland, I preserve and research artifacts from different materials, eras, and regions of the world. As a historian, I am fascinated by objects that have multiple attributions, layers, and provenances.

Biography

Collection

Christina Meri Mail

Biography

...coming soon.

Biography

Graphicdesign & Communication

Elwira Spychalska Mail

Biography

I am responsible for communication and event-organization at the Jewish Museum of Switzerland. I study art history and English at the University of Basel.

Barbara Häne

Biography

Research

Dr. des. Barbara Häne Mail

Biography

I was raised in Basel in the 1980s. After working in nursing for several years, I completed a degree in history and Jewish studies at the University of Basel. My research focused mainly on the history of Jews in Switzerland. My doctoral dissertation studied helpers and Jewish refugees in Switzerland between 1935 and 1955, based on the biography of Otto H. Heim. I have been working at the Jewish Museum of Switzerland since February 2021. An early bird, I am always the first in the office.

Kathrin Gisin

Biography

Digitalization

Kathrin Gisin Mail

Biography

I have been working at the Jewish Museum of Switzerland since May 2018. Until January 2022, I was responsible for guided tours and visitor services. Since February, I have been taking care of the digitization of the collection. On the side, I study Digital Humanities and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Basel. In my free time I like to do handicrafts and make beautiful things out of wood.

Naomi Lubrich

Biography

Directorate

Dr. Naomi Lubrich Mail

Biography

I am the director of the Jewish Museum of Switzerland. Born in Toronto in 1976, I studied literature and art history in New York and Berlin, specializing in Jewish studies and costume history. I worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Jewish Museum Berlin. I love Basel’s museums and its location at the border of France and Germany – and the chocolate.

Biography

Guide

Louise Gillman Mail

Biography

As a freelance tour guide and artist, I support the museum with a variety of tasks, including guided tours, translations and making the museum's collection available on Wikipedia.
Born in the UK into a French-English family, I studied cultural anthropology at the University of Freiburg in Germany and have since been very active in the cultural sector of the border triangle.

Biography

Illustration

Marva Gradwohl Mail

Biography

Already in the preparatory design course, in which I spent a year studying professional activities in art, I was particularly fascinated by illustration. At the Jewish Museum of Switzerland, my narrative drawings support publications in print and online. When I'm not working at the museum or studying art history and communication science at the University of Zurich, you can find me at dance practice or traveling with my sketchbook.

Illustrations
© Marva Gradwohl, 2021