The Transfer Agreement
3 October – 17 November 2019
In the staircase of the Max Liebling House in Tel Aviv, a tile peeled off the wall during renovation work. The name of the manufacturer appeared under the plaster: Villeroy und Boch – Made in Germany. Other materials from Germany can also be found in the building erected in Tel Aviv in 1936. The Max Liebling House is one of about 4,000 houses in the “White City”, whose architecture is closely connected to the formal language of the Bauhaus. The use of building materials from Germany is based on the almost unknown Haavara Agreement.
The houses in the “White City” in Tel Aviv (Israel), a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2003, were partly erected of building materials from Germany. The Haavara Agreement, a contract between Zionists in Palestine and National Socialists in Germany, played an important role for this. The exhibition The Transfer Agreement deals with this agreement from an artistic, architectural and political perspective. It will be shown during the Triennale of Modernism at the Bauhaus Dessau.
The controversial agreement between the Jewish Agency, the Zionist Association for Germany and Nazi Germany was valid from 1933 to 1938. It should be an incentive for German Jews to emigrate, by enabling them to transfer part of their property to Palestine. They paid in the property at one of the transfer banks in Germany. Local importers used this money to buy goods in Germany, e.g. building materials, and sold them in Palestine. When the emigrants arrived in Palestine, they got their money back, after the deduction of the cost.
More than 50,000 German Jews emigrated under the Haavara Agreement. Estimated 150 million Reichsmarks are assumed to have been transferred. A real building boom began, based on this mass of construction material, coining the “White City” Tel Aviv – from cement to tiles. For the exhibition The Transfer Agreement in the Bauhaus Building, some of the building materials from Tel Aviv return to Germany.
The Transfer Agreement is a joint project of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and The White City Center. The exhibition is simultaneously shown in Tel Aviv. The focus of the team around the artists Ilit Azoulay, Lou Moriah, Nir Shauloff and Jonathan Touitou, the curator Hila Cohen-Schneiderman and the monument conservationist Sharon Golan-Yaron is on the concept of the “Societies on the Move”: the move of people, materials and cultures as central element of modern architecture and its influence on urban development. The project will investigate historical and contemporary relations and raise the question for the impact of migration and mobility on individuals, cities and culture while they reshape their identities