The Heimann-Rosenthal Villa welcomes visitors with the pleasant atmosphere of a 19th century bourgeois residence. Built in 1864 according to the plans of the Swiss architect Felix Wilhelm Kubly, the villa is named after Clara Heimann-Rosenthal, the daughter of the builder, the textile manufacturer Anton Rosenthal.

Jewish Museum Hohenems

Schweizer Straße 5

6845 Hohenems


In 1936, Clara Heimann-Rosenthal, the daughter of Anton and Charlotte, sold the villa to Dr. Oskar Burtscher, the Hohenems municipal physician at the time. Clara remained in the house on good terms with Dr. Burtscher and his sister Katharina until 1940. In July 1940, together with the last Jewish residents of Hohenems, she was forcibly relocated to Vienna and put to death in the Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1942.
The Burtschers kept Clara's belongings in the attic of the villa and at the end of the war handed them over to their son Jean, who had survived persecution by the National Socialists in Belgium, hidden by his Christian wife Laure. The heirs of Dr. Burtscher and his sisters sold the house to the market town of Hohenems in the mid-1980s.

Since the opening of the Jewish Museum Hohenems in 1991, the ground-floor residential floor has been the 'working floor' - with offices, library, media room, museum café, and foyer. The library, media room and museum café are freely accessible during opening hours. The basement is used for temporary exhibitions and the attic for lectures and other events.

THE Museum

The Jewish Museum Hohenems was opened in April 1991 in the Villa Heimann-Rosenthal in the center of the former Jewish quarter.
The permanent exhibition, completely redesigned in 2007, presents areas of tension in Jewish life in the focus of an exemplary narrated local history and its relational space. Confronted with the visitors' questions, the exhibition unfolds the concrete reality of life in the Diaspora in the context of a European history of migration and cross-border relations, networks and globalization. It puts people in the foreground, their contradictions and subjective experiences, their life plans and customs: people like Salomon Sulzer, the founder of modern European synagogue music, as well as peddlers and innkeepers, rabbis and teachers, merchants and factory owners, like the Rosenthal family, in whose villa, built in 1864, the museum is housed.

Since the opening of the museum, in contact with the descendants of Hohenems Jews all over the world and through multiple donations, a large collection of everyday objects and personal documents has been created, which can now be shown for the first time. Modern audio guides and video stations allow a new access to a "history from the inside".
The exhibition is available in German, English and French for an international audience. A special children's exhibition by Monika Helfer and Barbara Steinitz opens up a new view of history to a young audience from the age of 6 and encourages intergenerational dialogue.

The exhibition architecture by Erich Steinmayr and Fritz Mascher, the design by the stecher id design studio and the new exhibition concept deliberately transform the former residence into a museum: a house in which we can perceive the old villa itself as an exhibit. Thus, the Villa Heimann-Rosenthal is now a place where we can approach the diversity of stories and objects and consciously experience ourselves as "viewers" - a place of encounter with past but still challengingly current experience.


There had already been discussions in Hohenems about a Jewish Museum since the 1970s. When the town of Hohenems acquired the Heimann-Rosenthal villa, built by a family of factory owners, in 1983 and looked for a use for the building, there were soon calls for the possibility of housing it there. Citizens committed to cultural policy founded the 'Hohenems Jewish Museum Association' in 1986 in order to be able to set up such an institution and thus offer the possibility of learning about Jewish history, life, and culture.
In 1989 Kurt Greussing was commissioned to develop a museum concept for the villa restored by Roland Gnaiger, illustrating the history of the Jews in Vorarlberg from the perspective of the relationship between minority and majority. Karl Heinz Burmeister, Bernhard Purin, Eva Grabherr and Sabine Fuchs were involved in the implementation, together with the architect Elsa Prochazka and the graphic designers A&H Haller.

In 2005, the renovation of the museum's cafe and foyer area marked the start of the museum's renewal, a renewal that takes into account the museum's developed collection, the state of research and the new questions of Jewish presence and museology through a new permanent exhibition. In April 2007, the new exhibition and the technically renewed and air-conditioned building were returned to the public.