How to search the database

Search form

Press 'SEARCH'  to get the complete list of records in the database.

Search all objects
Enter any word you're looking for in the database.  Entering  'ERR' gives all objects that include the word 'ERR' somewhere. 
Note: Use this search field to find a specific inventory number from the present JHM collection (provenance category JHM). A present consists of five digits, e.g. 00099, 00101.

Prewar refers to the number attributed to an object, as written in the prewar inventory book. The numbering went from 1 till 738a-b. In the database a prewar inv. no. consists of three digits, for example, 002. The database includes only inv.nos. of objects that got lost. Therefore one does not find, for example, 100, which is an object that did return in the collection after the war.

Enter any material. Note: information on material is only added when explicitly mentioned in a prewar description.

Enter any word that is included in the inscription, its transcription or its translation. Hebrew script is not supported. Sometimes the object has an inscription, but when the actual inscription is absent, this is indicated as [text] , [Hebrew], [German] etc.

Enter surname of authors, artist, engravers, etc. Note: information on maker is only added when explicitly mentioned in a prewar description.

Enter an exact year or century, e.g. 1810 or 18 to find all objects made between 1800 and 1900.  Note: only common era notation.

Enter city or country.  Note: information on place is only added when explicitly mentioned in a prewar description.

Acquisition name
Enter name of donors, lenders and of persons or shops where objects were purchased.

Provenance references
Enter any word that may refer to archival documents that provide additional information on the object, e.g. 'confiscated' or 'Stedelijk Museum'.

Literature references
Enter any word that may be part of the title of a publication that refers to the object, such as exhibition catalogues and articles that were published in Jewish and non-Jewish newspapers.

Provenance category
Enter 'lost' in order to find objects from the prewar collection or 'jhm' to objects of the present collection with unknown provenance.


Fields on the object page

This is based on the Dutch description in the prewar inventory book, that formed the basis for research plus additional information on the object retrieved from other sources, such as exhibition catalogues and archival documents.
In the case of objects from the present museum collection (provenance category JHM), this field gives the present inventory number.

Photos and photo credit
Photographs were searched for in different archives. Records may contain more than one photograph of an object (when, for example, photographed from a different angle, or showing other features). Photographs of specific features or details are also included (these features may help to identify the objects). Other photographs show an object in its surrounding, for example, the exhibition spaces. Photos were selected without any criteria of quality. Even when the image of the object is not focused or vague, the contours of the object may help to identify it.

Inventory book 1930-1941
Here the original Dutch description from the prewar inventory book is given. Users of the database that are familiar with the Dutch language can compare the text with the English translation. This may be useful because sometimes the exact meaning of a Dutch term is not completely clear and may be interpreted in more than one way.

Other description
This field contains additional information on an object, retrieved from other sources (see 'source') than the JHM prewar inventory book.

Provenance references
This field refers to archival documents that refer to the object. The document may give additional information on the object, such as specific features, and also sheds light on the location and wartime path of the object. Nature and content of the document are explained here and one finds an image of the page that refers to the object (if the document consists of more than one page, only the relevant page is shown). The following archives hold documents that relate to objects in the prewar JHM collection:

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Between 1939 and 1942 objects were entrusted for safekeeping to the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (SM). The SM archive holds documents that relate to the transfer of these objects from the JHM to the SM. The most important document is an inventory of objects that the JHM handed over to the SM. The inventory consists of lists with JHM objects with and JHM without inv. no., medals without, private loans, loans of the Ashkenazi Community Amsterdam, loans of the Portuguese Jewish Community Amsterdam, and loans of four other institutions. With the exception of the objects of the latter institutions that were returned to these institutions, The objects on these lists were confiscated by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) in 1943. The archive also contains some postwar correspondence about objects that had remained in the SM and were to be returned to the JHM. Another postwar document is an inventory of objects, that according to JHM staff did not return from Nazi Germany.

The Jewish Historical Museum
Most of the Museum archive got lost during the war, only very few documents remain. One of these is an inventory of objects that were present in the Weigh House (Waag) in December 1940. This inventory was made for the insurance policy. Objects that do not appear on the list may already have been handed over to the SM by the time the inventory was made or returned to the owners. At the bottom of the document it is stated that some of the object that are present in the Weigh House may not have been included in the list.
In 1987 the prewar inventory book reappeared: it was anonymously handed over to the museum director during the opening of the Museum at its present location. The last entry in this book, no. 738, was recorded on 18 November 1941. The descriptions of the objects formed the basis for our research.The museum archive also holds a list that mentions 300 looted objects that returned from the Offenbach Archival Depot and were handed over to the Dutch Art Heritage Foundation (Stichting Nederlands Kunstbezit). The list is dated January 1947. These objects were presumed to belong to the JHM. This is difficult to check, since descriptions are poor and identification is possible in only very few cases. Some objects on the list were not part of the prewar collection, such as wooden and silver Torah crowns and two pairs of zinc finials (the prewar collection mentions only one pair).
From about 1960 Museum employees started to register the Museum collection in an inventory book. The numbering that was then attributed to the objects is still valid. In many cases the book does not mention how and from whom an object was acquired. These objects of unknown provenance are included in the database.

National Archives, College Park, Maryland, USA
The National Archives (NA) hold material of the ERR and the US Military Government that relates to the collection of the JHM. Among the Cultural Property Claims Applications, 1946-1948 (that are part of the Records of the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives [MFAA] Section of the Reparations and Restitution Brach, Office Military Government U.S. Zone [OMGUS]), is an inventory (see claim no. N007) listing around 672 Museum objects in German handwriting was probably made after the transfer of the collection from the Institut zur Erforschung der Judenfrage in Frankfurt a/M to Hungen. This transport probably took place in November 1943 (these dates:  12.11.43 and 20.11.43, appear on p. 109, which are objects in the Spar und Leihkasse zu Hungen, and p. 110 resp.). The inventory mentions which objects were broken , and gives information on their specific location, and on dimensions of some objects (dimensions are not given by any other source). Some objects have a code (G, followed by a number) that was most likely assigned by the ERR. The exact meaning of this code is not clear yet. In the same claim application is a typed 'inventarliste des Joodsch Historisch Museum', that combines and orders the Stedelijk Museum lists (see above) according to inventory number.
American loading lists of objects that were returned from the Offenbach Archival Depot can provide valuable information on the date of transport of an object. However, often the poor descriptions do not allow identification of an object.
The National Archives hold photographs of the Offenbach Archival Depot (M1949, roll 29 (section VI of Album). Many of these photographs can also be found in the JHM archive. These photographs, taken in 1946, show the storage of  textiles, Hannukah lamps and other objects. Remarkably, many objects on these photographs are clearly Dutch and were looted from the Museum or  Dutch Jewish communities.