The Savannah collection consists of about 175 linear feet of material, 6,000 photographs and 150 oral histories about the port city and the Chatham County Jewish community from the 1750s to now.
The Breman’s Cuba Family Archives for Southern Jewish History became the home for the materials after the Savannah Jewish Archives and Savannah Jewish Federation searched for a place offering increased access.
“We determined that the logical choice was the Breman Museum in Atlanta, which collects Jewish historical items from all over the state of Georgia,” said Kaye Kole, one of the founders of the Savannah Jewish Archives. The Savannah Federation’s board voted unanimously to deed the collection to the Breman based on the recommendation of a committee composed of Edwin Byck, Jeff Kole and Susan Lieber-Lozada.
Breman Executive Director Aaron Berger said that being selected among such centers shows the strength of the museum and its archives.
“The Breman Museum will provide Jewish oversight to the collection in a facility where it will be a major addition,” said Jeremy Katz, the director of the Cuba Family Archives. “It will be highly regarded and publicized and featured in exhibitions highlighting Jewish contributions to the history of Georgia.”
The Breman will make the collection available to researchers, genealogists, scholars, historians and students around the world.
Breman board members Judith Taylor, Laura Dinerman and Jerry Rosenberg guided the process the past eight months.
“We feel this is the ultimate win-win. Savannah’s tremendous historical documents will gain a broader audience, and the Breman will be able to tell a more comprehensive story of Jewish life in Georgia,” said Taylor, who chairs the Breman’s collections committee. “There are so many families in Atlanta that have Savannah roots and vice versa. We’re proud and honored to have this collection as a jewel in our crown.”
The Breman has established the Savannah Jewish Archives Fund to address expenses related to the preservation, processing, digitization, promotion and growth of the collection.
Once the Breman integrates the materials, the museum intends to use the Savannah items in programs and exhibitions, including online exhibitions, to expand their availability.