Surviving Culture

Out of the Shadows

Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam (NL)

The overview exhibition ‘Wie niet weg is is gezien’ (Out of the Shadows), was on show at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam from 30 November 2010 until 8 May 2011. The exhibition explored the diversity of Jewish Holland after World War II through images, sound, film fragments, interviews and more.

Amsterdam (NL)
Jewish Historical Museum
200 m2
Spatial design, Graphic design
Research and development
Carine Lacor, Bart Wallet
Project management
Hetty Berg
Film research
Gerard Nijssen
Erik Willems
Multi-screen and post-production
Itamar Naamani/Zootroop
Big Orange
Hetty Berg en Judy Schagen
Martine Stroo
Photography and digital files
Peter Lange en Anton Kras
Audio-visual software and installations
VHS (Visual Hardware Services
Amsterdam lighting
Robert Jan Vos with Niels Bakker
Execution furniture and collage poster-reproductions
Fraai Metaal
Technical coordination and execution
Niels Bakker, Alex de Leeuw, Ruud Visser i.s.m. Allard Kaai, Hans de Moor, René Smulders, Rick van Soolingen, Bas Wierda
Judaïsm in the Netherlands after WWII

Subjects are the return after the war, emigration, the processing of the misery suffered, the picking up of connections with non-Jewish surroundings and new trajectories within Jewish society. How did Jewish people pick up their lives again in the first decades after the war? What were the key events? And how did the community come to flourish again?

“The challenge in designing this exhibition was to turn this multi-layered and complex subject into an appealing experience for a broad audience.”

Herman Kossmann


A layered exhibition

Rich, multi-layered images of personal and public moments of joy and mishap were combined with international influences and migration, and the differences in perception within and outside the community. Where does it jar? What makes people proud and what is painful? Which topics are subject of public debate – and which ones are rather discussed among friends and family? The exhibition aimed to both surprise and provoke a sense of recognition. The visitor encountered many more or less well-known people from different generations in interview and film fragments, all with their personal stories and properties. Many of the objects had been selected specifically for the exhibition and were shown for the first time.

Opening up

To accommodate the exhibition, the ceiling between the ground and first floors has been opened up, which does justice to the spatial experience of the synagogue. A cloud of over 60 suspended posters connected the exhibition on the ground floor both spatially and conceptually with the first floor, which hosted the permanent display previously designed by Kossmanndejong.