Importance of Maxymilian Goldstein and his collections in the knowledge of art and culture of the Jews

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Importance of Maxymilian Goldstein and his collections in the knowledge of art and culture of the Jews

Monuments, relics and artefacts are prominent symbols of the identity of a nation. Unfortunately, Jewish community developed understanding of their value quite late. They started saving them only when most of them were already destroyed or dispersed. 

In 1910, on the initiative of an eminent collector from Lwów, Maksymilian Goldstein, an assemblage of an important collection of Jewish religious and cultural objects began. It comprised items connected with family and social life, portraits and caricatures, Jewish clothing, calendars, objects of worship, illustrations and photographs of synagogues and cemeteries, exlibrisses and posters, metalwork, manuscripts and prints, as well as memorabilia from the First World War.

Within thirty years, in order to achieve his goal, Maksymilian Goldstein, got to the furthest parts of Galicia, Podolia and Volyn. Even the First World War did not stop him from assembling the items for his collection. In order to share the knowledge about it, a guide entitled „Art and culture of the Jewish people on Polish territories” by Maximilian Goldstein and Dr. Karol Dresdner was published. It was intended to build awareness of the Jewish people and to awaken respect for their own history, and regardless of the future of the collection, to save it from oblivion.

It should be noted the Goldstein collection has been of great importance in terms of knowledge and development of knowledge about the history and culture of Polish Jews, placing the author in the forefront of people of outstanding merit who have contributed to saving Jewish relics, monuments and artefacts.

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