Papieren schat: het familiearchief Asser - Een bijzondere collectie in de wisselvitrine

27 juli t/m 13 september 2015


Tobias Michel Carel Asser From 27 July to 13 September the Jewish Historical Museum exhibited the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Tobias Michel Carel Asser (1838-1913) in 1911. He is the first and so far the only Dutch recipient of this award.

The prize, including a golden medal, a diploma and an attractive case, is part of the Asser family archrive. The Asser family was a prominent Dutch family of legal experts. The extremely significant family archive covers the period 1780-1920 and was given to the Jewish Historical Museum on a long-term lend base in early 2014. The complete archive was put into an accessible form and is entirely digitalised, thanks to a grant from Bureau Metamorfoze, an agency of the Dutch Ministry of Educatoin, Culture and Science (OCW).

The Jewish Historical Museum decided to celebrate this occasion with a small exhibition in its temporary display case. The exhibition was titled Paper treasure: the Asser family archive and it included a representative selection from this extraordinary family archive.

The acquisition was especially interesting since the Asser family history is directly connected to that of the Dutch Jews.

Foto door Peter Lange

The patriarch Mozes Salomon Asser (1754-1826) had a strong influence on the course of Jewish history in the Netherlands. Along with other members of the patriotic Jewish club Felix Libertate (Happiness through Freedom), he formed the foundation for the emancipation of the Dutch Jews. 

In September 1796 Mozes and his political allies were motivated by Enlightenment ideals and persuaded the National Assembly of the Batavian Republic to adopt a decree of the 'Equal Status of Jews'. The National Assembly of the Batavian Republic was the revolutionary regime in power in the Netherlands and the time. This decree was a milestone and it announced the start of the slow and difficult emancipation and integration of Dutch Jews. The Asser family benefited from this emancipation.

Since 1796 the family has brought forth many great legal scholars, such as the above mentioned Nobel Peace Prize winner Tobias Asser.

The treasure did not only include just the Nobel Peace Prize, but additionally an authentic manuscript from Mozes Salomon Asser's autobiography, his granddaughter Netje Asser's diaries, a variety of attractive portrait medallions and various documents relating to the First Hague Peace Conference. The archive offered a fascinating look at the history of Dutch Jewry through the eyes of one family history and it can truly be regarded as a paper reassure.

Deze site is ook beschikbaar in het Nederlands