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Chawerim. Jewish Self-Reliance, Resistance and the Hachshara Movement

An exhibition by Institut für Neue Soziale Plastik in cooperation with Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand

The Hebrew word hachshara means "qualification, preparation". It refers to institutions where Jews prepared for their immigration to Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel), starting from the late 1910s.

By issuing the Balfour Declaration in early November 1917 the British government pledged support to the Zionist movement for the "establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people." This raised hopes that this goal would be achieved soon - all the more so when Britain received a mandate for Palestine from the League of Nations. But the Mandatory government restricts Jewish immigration to Palestine through limiting the number of immigration certificates. Those who wanted a certificate usually had to provide proof of skills in crafts, housekeeping, or agriculture. In the hachshara places these skills were taught to the young men and women who often came from academic families or professions. They called themselves chaluzim, "pioneers", or chawerim, "friends".

After the National Socialists took power in 1933, the small movement grew eventually saving the lives of many thousands of people. Its organizational centre for Germany was in Berlin. Most of the hachsharot were in Brandenburg but they were also located in other regions of Germany.

The exhibition by Institut für Neue Soziale Plastik is presented in co-operation with Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand. It traces the history of the German hachshara movement through a selection of places and biographies: from the beginnings at the end of World War I, through the Nazi-period to its conclusion with the foundation of the State of Israel. The exhibition provides an overview of the movement's diverse political and religious currents, its associations and organizations as well as some of its key individuals.

The makers of the exhibition offer guided tours or workshops for groups between five and ten persons. For further information or registration please contact: info(at) You can also obtain preparatory material for a visit of the exhibition with school groups.

The exhibition is on display in the special exhibition area on the first floor from October 8, 2021, until January 9, 2022.

Opening hours

Mon-Fri 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sat, Sun and public holidays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

We reserve the right to make changes. Information by telephone: +49 (0)30-26 99 50 00.