In the current exhibition, “THE EPHRUSSIS. TRAVEL IN TIME,” the Jewish Museum Vienna relays the saga of the Family Ephrussi based on the bestseller, “The Hare with Amber Eyes,” authored by Edmund de Waal, a descendent.
The Hare with Amber Eyes (2010) is a family memoir by British ceramicist Edmund de Waal. De Waal tells the story of his family, the Ephrussi, once a very wealthy European Jewish banking dynasty, centered in Odessa, Vienna and Paris, and peers of the Rothschild family.
The Ephrussis lost almost everything in 1938 when the Nazis Aryanized their property. Even after the war, the family failed to recover most of its extensive property, including priceless artwork. However, an easily hidden collection of 264 Japanese netsuke miniature sculptures was saved, tucked away inside a mattress by Anna, a loyal maid at Palais Ephrussi in Vienna during the war years. The collection has been passed down through five generations of the Ephrussi family, providing a common thread for the story of its fortunes from 1871 to 2009.
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