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Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History
Vilniaus Gaono Žydų Istorijos Muziejus


Exhibit of the month

Published: 2024-05-30
Vilnius Fair 1916, postcard, 13.8 x 8.9 cm, Acc. No. VŽM 9187
This colour postcard dating back to World War I was printed in Berlin in 1916. The reverse side of the postcard includes the indication of the printing house: Hollerbaum & Schmidt, Berlin N 65.
A colour drawing by Manfred Bühlmann was used for the postcard depicting a stylised bouquet of flowers in three different colours (yellow, green, and red) and inscriptions in black in five languages:
German Ausstellung der Wilnaer Arbeitsstuben 1916,
Lithuanian — Vilniaus miesto darbo namų paroda 1916 m.,
Polish — Wystawa domów pracy miasta Wilna 1916 r.,
Belarussian — Wystaüka damoü pracy miesta Wilna 1916 h.,
Yiddish — אויסשטעלונג פון ארבייטס היזער פין שטאדט װילנא 1916
Beneath the black contour framing the drawing there is an indication of the author’s surname: “M. BÜHLMANN”.
In September 1915, German troops occupied Vilnius. The German administration of the occupied Vilnius noticed the economic and social significance of the St. Casimir Fair traditionally held in Vilnius and decided to continue with this long-standing tradition in 1916.
The Vilnius Workshop Exhibition (German: Ausstellung der Wilnaer Arbeitsstuben) was held from 1916 to 1918 in the former Pacai Palace in Didžioji Street 43 (currently Didžioji St. 7). The exhibition required numerous halls and was divided into Lithuanian, Polish, Belarusian and Jewish folk art sections. The main highlight of the event was the demonstration of creativity of local craftsmen, craft workshops and the handicraft fair. The exhibition was curated by architect and art critic Manfred Bühlmann (1885–1955).
The German administration took care of the printing of colour commemorative postcards. Most of these “souvenir” postcards were purchased by German army soldiers and sent to their friends and relatives.
2. Raimundas Marius Lapas, Colourful Posters: Witnesses of the Grey Past (access via the Internet, accessed on 22/02/2024: https://draugas.org/key/2015_reg/2015-08-29-DRAUGAS.pdf)
3. Vilnius during World War I: Dainius Raupelis’ Collection; photo albu /compilers: Žygintas Būčys, Dalia Keršytė. Vilnius: National Museum of Lithuanian, 2021
Prepared by Olga Movšovič, curator of the collection of photographs of VGMJH
© From the collections of VGMJH
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