A new exhibition in the Chelsea area of New York City details the history of German-Jewish migration to Washington Heights and how Jewish immigrants created a community for themselves in the Manhattan neighborhood, amNY reported.
“Refuge in the Heights: The German Jews of Washington Heights” opened on Feb. 3 at the Leo Baeck Institute at the Center for Jewish History. It runs through the end of July.
About 20,000 German Jews fleeing Nazi Germany during the late 1930s and early 1940s came to Washington Heights.
Magdalena Wrobel, curator and project director of the exhibition, said “we try to show in our exhibit what happened to this immigration wave.”
Jews made up about 37 percent of Washington Heights in the 1930s and ’40s, and represent about 12 percent now of the neighborhood’s population now.
The exhibition includes photos and historic artifacts, including passports, photo albums, a handbook for refugees on how to adapt to life in America, footage from the 1950s and ’60s of Washington Heights and personal testimonies from immigrants who moved to New York. The show also explains the establishment of religious institutions in New York, as well as social life and education for immigrants, amNY reported.
The exhibition explores the issue of “what role a neighborhood could play in becoming American, but also preserving tradition from the homeland,” explained Wrobel. “What makes the neighborhood so interesting is there were many immigrant groups who saw Washington Heights as their home.”