Skip to Content

TIOH Art Tour: Reader’s Desk Cover

  • Germany, 1827 
  • Velvet and silver embroidered text. Hebrew dedication to the synagogue in Alzenau, Germany 
  • Gift of the Briskin Family 

This reader’s desk cover is made of velvet and silver thread couched embroidery and has an elaborately-worded inscription indicating that it was dedicated to the synagogue in the town of Alzenau, Germany, in 1827, by one Abraham and his wife, Sarah. 

The Jewish community of Alzenau, a town not far from Frankfurt am Main, was established in the 17th Century, and its Jews played an important role in the town’s economic development. In 1826, the first synagogue in Alzenau was built, and it’s likely that this cover for the reader’s desk was created for the newly inaugurated synagogue. On Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, on November 9, 1938, the interior of the synagogue was ravaged, and its ritual objects destroyed. In 1960, the building itself was demolished. This remarkable textile was perhaps the only remnant of the once vibrant Jewish community of Alzenau. 

Back to top