Thursday, February 2, 2023 | 12pm
ADMISSION: This online program is free
Nineteenth-century Berlin was a flourishing creative center for fashion and ready-made clothing. From Bauhaus architecture to popular musicals, the city’s vibrant art scene stimulated creativity that influenced unique designs sold throughout Germany and worldwide. As the industry reached its height in the 1920s, Jewish fashion designers were at the heart of the metropolis, regarded as trendsetters for modern new styles in Europe.
However, after 1933, most Jewish clothing industrialists, shop owners, and fashion designers were confronted with the hatred and violence of Hitler’s Third Reich. While some Jewish designers managed to escape and launch successful careers in the United States, Nazi raids of hundreds of Jewish companies and shops in 1939 brought an end to more than 100 years of creative fashion and Jewish design. To this day, there is still no official recognition by the German fashion industry of their active part in the confiscation of Jewish companies.
Now, nearly ninety years later, join scholar Uwe Westphal as he traces this long-overlooked history, and discover the rise and fall of the Jewish fashion industry in Germany.
This program is presented in partnership with the Jewish Family and Children's Services (JFCS) Holocaust Center and the Goethe-Institut, in commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
This online Zoom event is free. Please note that a Zoom account is required to register for the program. If you do not have a Zoom account, please create one by clicking "Sign up free" at the top of the registration page.
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Uwe Westphal is an art historian and journalist residing in Berlin and London. During his career as a freelance journalist for fashion shows, Westphal learned about the many Jewish fashion companies in Berlin, and since 1986 has researched contemporary witnesses and archives about the Berlin fashion scene of 1933–1940. His first book, Fashion Metropolis Berlin, 1836–1939: The Story of the Rise and Destruction of the Jewish Fashion Industry, was published on Berlin fashion and ready-to-wear.
After moving to London and then New York City, Westphal worked as a journalist and producer for PBS and BBC, and was secretary of the writers’ association at PEN.
In 2019, Westphal re-released his book, allowing fashion design students and broader audiences to explore this largely under-researched topic at the intersection of modern German-Jewish history, Nazi persecution, and fashion history.
Public Programs at The CJM are made possible thanks to generous support from Grants for the Arts