Pedestrians walk outside the Jewish Museum of Munich, March 24, 2007. (Wikimedia Commons/Maximilian Dörrbecker)

Pedestrians walk outside the Jewish Museum of Munich, March 24, 2007. (Wikimedia Commons/Maximilian Dörrbecker)


(JTA) — The Jewish Museum of Munich and the Jewish Museum of Vienna announced plans to reopen later this month, making them the first Jewish museums in Europe to open doors to the public after being closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Munich institution, which shut down on March 14, said this week that it will reopen on May 10. The Vienna museum, which has been closed since at least March 16, is set to follow suit on May 31. It opened its restaurant café, Eskeles, on May 4 for takeout orders.

The reopenings are made possible because of the easing of social distancing restrictions in Austria and Germany, whose responses to the pandemic have been seen as successful in terms of reducing both contagion and fatalities.

Austria and Germany currently have about 68 and 86 deaths per million respectively from the virus. Belgium, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and Ireland all have a death rate at least three times higher than Germany’s.

The Jewish Museum of Vienna’s director, Danielle Spera, announced her institution’s reopening plan in a statement Tuesday.

Emile Schrijver, the Amsterdam-based chairman of the Association of European Jewish Museums, rejoiced at the news of the reopenings, he told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

A museum “should be an open space, and it is good to know that at least some of us are allowed to reopen again,” said Schrijver, who also is the general director of the Amsterdam Jewish Historical Museum and of the city’s Jewish Cultural Quarter.

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