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Houses of Life: A Letter from the Hohenems Diaspora

By Hanno Loewy

Family history often provides tangible connections to Jewish memory and heritage, with Jewish built heritage as a touchstone. The year 2017 will mark 400 years since Jews settled in Hohenems, a small town in western Austria on the border with Switzerland. Today, few Jews live in either Hohenems or the surrounding Austrian region of Voralberg, but the town has a Jewish museum, a former synagogue, and a Jewish cemetery that bear testament to its past. Next summer, a reunion of hundreds of far-flung Hohenems descendants is set to turn Hohenems into a global hub of Jewish memory. In preparation, Hanno Loewy, the director of the Hohenems Jewish Museum, is traveling around the world to connect with members of the “Hohenems Diaspora” and find traces of their history.

In this essay he describes a recent stop on this journey, in Trieste, Italy.

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