The Judengasse Museum reopened on March 20 and now houses a fully revamped exhibition presenting Jewish history up until 1800. The Association of European Jewish Museums notes:
Media installations and an app are telling stories about Jewish daily life and culture in Frankfurt in early modern times. The new entrance to the museum emphasizes the different aspects of the historical site – from the Jewish cemetery that dates back to the Middle Ages, to the Judengasse which was replaced by the Börneplatzsynagoge in modern times to the memorial of the Frankfurt Jews that were deported and murdered.
As before, it is located amid the foundations of five houses that once formed part of the Judengasse, or Jewish lane, a ghetto where Frankfurt’s Jews were forced to live from the mid-15th century for more than 400 years — by the 16th century, some 3,000 people lived there.
The Judengasse was torn down as part of urban renewal at the end of the 19th century, and a new synagogue was built nearby on Börneplatz (it was destroyed on Kristallnacht). The site became derelict after World War II.
In the 1980s, a civic alliance of churches, political parties, intellectuals and cultural figures protested plans to build a public utilities center there; excavations for the new building had uncovered the foundations of Judengasse houses — of the original 195 buildings, the foundations of 19 were uncovered.
Eventually, the center was built there, partially atop the site of the destroyed Börneplatz synagogue, and the excavated remains of Judengasse were displayed, along with an exhibit on the Börneplatz protests, as a branch of the Jewish Museum and incorporated into the new building.
The main Frankfurt Jewish Museum, located in the Rothschildpalais, is currently closed. Its new exhibition, scheduled to open in 2018, will cover the period from 1800 to the present.