Very near here, on the next street corner, Isak Gutmann and his wife Lina ran a store selling fabrics and trousseau goods. This elaborately carved cupboard in the Old German style stood in their parlor. They’d bought it from a well-known furniture manufacturer in Stuttgart as a solid, middle-class piece that could basically have stood in any house in Creglingen.
So the Gutmanns furnished their home in the same style as their Christian neighbors – and weren’t dismayed by the chubby-cheeked little angel that adorned the top panel of their cupboard. Everyday matters like taste in furnishing reveal how solidly the Jewish families were rooted in German society – and not just in Creglingen.
But in 1939, the Gutmanns were forced to leave Germany, and they passed the cupboard on to their Christian neighbors. This is what Isak and Lina Gutmann’s nephew, Hermann, later remembered:
“There were many German Jews who felt more German than Jewish. […] But Hitler reminded them that they are Jews. So many Jews who really hadn’t felt like Jews beforehand returned to Judaism.”
After the Gutmann family fled, the cupboard stood in Wilhelmine Oppelt’s home for decades. When she died, she left it to the foundation Stiftung Jüdisches Museum Creglingen.
Now, if you turn around, we’ll introduce you to four Jewish community institutions. Make your way to the long table in the center of the space to hear about the Jewish cemetery, the mikvah, the school and the synagogue.
Zitat Hermann Gutmann: Naser, S. 175.
Foto: © Martin Heuwinkel