Placeography is a wiki where you can share the history of and stories about a house, building, farmstead, public land, neighborhood or any place to which you have a personal connection. If you don’t have a place to contribute, please enjoy learning about others.

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Sticks, Straw & Mud: Jewish Settlers in the Upper Midwest
On Display until January 27th
Elmer L. Andersen Library Gallery and Atrium
University of Minnesota, 222 21st Ave. S, Minneapolis, MN 55455

View our new exhibit showcasing material from the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives. Read more about the exhibit here.

Whiskey and Vice: Uncovering Jewish Criminals
Presented by Kate Dietrick, Upper Midwest Jewish Archives

Like any group during Prohibition, the Jewish community had a few criminals. Interest in this societal underbelly has surged in the past few years, with little documentation to be found. But what happens when you uncover a collection on criminals you’ve never heard of before? And how do you research criminal activity in the archives when those criminals never wanted to be found?

Event Details
What: First Fridays Series 2016-2017
When: February 3, 2017, Noon to 1:00 p.m.
Where: Elmer L. Andersen Library, Room 120
Click here for more information.

Past Events

MN Jewish Genealogical Society Meeting
Sunday, October 30
2016 1:00-2:30 PM
Golden Valley Public Library
830 Winnetka Ave N, Golden Valley, MN 55427

Susan Weinberg will present Capturing the Stories: Jewish Immigrants of the 20th Century, a presentation she gave to the IAJGS at their annual conference in Seattle held earlier this year. This presentation is based on the Jewish Identity and Legacy Project, an arts/ interview project with elders within Sholom Home, a Jewish elder facility in the Twin Cities. Most of the residents interviewed were in their 90s and spanned three groups; those who grew up in early immigrant communities, those who were survivors and those who were immigrants from the former Soviet Union. These three groups represented the three strands of immigrants who came to the Twin Cities in the 1900s and explores their experience. This presentation will make use of short video clips and artwork based on stories to understand the experience of immigrants from varied backgrounds that compose Jewish communities within the United States. Through story it will explore the legacy that these immigrants bring to their communities.


From Novelized Diary to an Illustrated Family History
David Blumenfeld’s A Continent of Glory
Thursday, September 15 at 7:00pm
Sholom Home Shaller Campus, 740 Kay Avenue, St. Paul

David’s great-grandson Frederick Hertz will present the amazing story of David Blumenfeld’s novelized “Diary,” with all the twists and turns on the way to its present form–its disappearance and rediscovery, the research across continents to verify its contents, and the new connections with distant relatives across the world. His
talk will explore the question of “truth” in understanding family history nearly a century after the Diary was written.
There is no charge for this event, and light refreshments will be served.
Please RSVP to Sholom East at 651-328-2000
Sponsored by Jewish Family Service of St. Paul in cooperation with the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest
and the MN Jewish Genealogical Society.Hertz CoG flyer finalMN Jewish Genealogical Society Meeting
Sunday September 18, 2016 1:00-2:30 PM
Golden Valley Public Library, 830 Winnetka Ave N, Golden Valley
Ellen Engseth, Curator of the Immigration History Research Center Archives and Head of Migration and Social Services at the University of Minnesota Libraries, will share information on how to archive your genealogical information in a presentation titled:  Calling Citizen Archivists: Preserving your own history using archival principles and practice


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Scrap Stories Exhibit
Sabes JCC 4330 S. Cedar Lake Road, St. Louis Park, MN 55416

Learn how the barely tolerated Jewish junkman, who picked up everything from bones and bottles to rags and iron, became a leader in the Green Revolution. You may find your grandparents’ story here. Produced by the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest. On display in the Tychman Shapiro Gallery & Shared Walls Exhibition Areas from April 3rd- Memorial Day.

Paper Calmanson Horse and wagon

Panel Discussion: Sunday, May 1st at 2 PM- FREE
Sabes JCC 4330 S. Cedar Lake Road, St. Louis Park, MN 55416

The Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest will hold a panel discussion about Jews in the scrap business in the Upper Midwest on Sunday May 1, 2016, 2:00 PM at the Sabes JCC. Five people who were formerly in this business will talk about their experiences, and the discussion will be moderated by Linda Schloff, a former Director of the JHSUM.

Preserving History: A Community Scanning Event, May 17th 4-7pm- FREE
Sabes JCC 4330 S. Cedar Lake Road, St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Come armed with five of your best historical photographs or documents and we will digitize them for you on the spot. At the end you will walk away with your original documents along with a thumb drive containing a digital copy of your materials. This is a great way to increase the usability of your photos or treasured historical documents – finally share them with your family or even on Facebook! Presented by the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives.
Ben Milavetz car load of scrap
An amazing number of Eastern European Jewish immigrants tried their hand at peddling soon after they arrived. Some graduated from horse and wagon to truck. You can learn more by visiting the upcoming exhibit at the Sabes JCC. (photos courtesy of the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives.)

Panel Discussion on the History of Jews in the Scrap Business
Sunday, Oct. 11 3-6 pm
Sabes JCC
4330 S. Cedar Lake Road, St. Louis Park, MN 55416


The Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest will hold a panel discussion about Jews in the scrap business in the Upper Midwest on Oct. 11, 2015, 3:00 PM at the Sabes JCC.  Five people who were formerly in this business will talk about their experiences, and the discussion will be moderated by Linda Schloff, a former Director of the JHSUM.

Scrap pile in Northwestern Iron and Metal Yard, Duluth, MN 1912.

Scrap pile in Northwestern Iron and Metal Yard, Duluth, MN 1912.

The event is open to the public with an opportunity for guests to add their stories after the panel discussion.  Guests are encouraged to bring items pertaining to their own family’s involvement in the scrap business, such as photos, displays, artifacts, promotional material, etc.  They will be considered for inclusion in an exhibit planned for Spring, 2016.  A videographer will document the meeting for use in the exhibit and in an upcoming issue of Upper Midwest Jewish History.

Celebrate Jewish Heritage Month with the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives
Thursday, May 28th, 6:30pm, St. Paul Jewish Community Center
free and open to the public


Celebrate Jewish Heritage Month with the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives and the St. Paul Jewish Community Center. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, libations, and conversation. 
A short presentation by Assistant Archivist Kate Dietrick will highlight the history of the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives. The keynote speaker is Annette Atkins, Professor Emerita of History at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict, and author of four books, including Creating Minnesota: A History from the Inside Out and We Grew Up Together: Brothers and Sisters, 1850 – 1920. Attendees at this special event will gain a deeper understanding of the American Jewish experience from a Midwestern perspective.

Sponsored by the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives at the University of Minnesota Libraries and co-sponsored by the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest and by the Friends of the Libraries.
RSVP here.



Aaron Lansky Presents:
Enormous Changes At The Last Minute: New Adventures In Yiddish Culture
October 6, 7PM
Sabes JCC

Lansky_FlyerAaron Lansky, founder and president of the Yiddish Book Center, will recap early adventures to save the world’s Yiddish books and carry the story to the present with a rollicking account of new technologies and the young people using them to reclaim the cultural “flip side” of contemporary Jewish life. GENEROUSLY SPONSORED BY BERYL AND FLORENCE MILLER AND FAMILY. Additional support provided by Kar-Ben Publishing and the Lerner family. Due to our sponsor’s generosity, this event is now FREE to the public. Book signing to follow. More info here.

Sky Tinged Red
Monday, October 7, 7PM
St. Paul JCC
isaiah_highresSky Tinged Red is Isaia Eiger’s chronicle of his years as a prisoner in the death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau during World War II. Bringing it to publication took the passion and skills of four generations of the Eiger family, including daughter Dora Eiger Zaidenweber, who translated the text from its original Yiddish. Hear from family members including great-grandson, Etan Newman, about this labor of love that brought him face-to-face with a relative he never knew and uncovered a critical piece of Jewish history. Part of Twin Cities Yiddish Fest at Sabes JCC. More info here.

Community partners: Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest, Adath Jeshurun Congregation, Beth Jacob Congregation, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

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These events are planned in conjunction with the Twin Cities Yiddish Fest. For a full list of events, please visit:

Recent Past Events

Wilensky Family

Rachel Calof: A Memoir with Music
August 18th & 21st
Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company
Hillcrest Center Theater
1978 Ford Parkway St. Paul, MN 55116

August 18th is JHSUM Day at the Minneapolis Jewish Theatre Company! Join your friends for this 1pm performance of Rachel Calof: A Memoir with Music.

About Rachel Calof: A Memoir with Music:
This dynamic, solo theatrical event is based on the memoir of a Jewish picture bride who emigrated from Russia to North Dakota in 1894 to marry a man she had never met, determined to make a new life as a homesteader.  For four years after she arrives, she and her husband live in a twelve by fourteen shack with her in-laws and their children. Years later, at the age of 55 and living in St. Paul, Rachel chronicled her story which was discovered by her children after her death.  This memoir with music is complete with engaging humor, compassion, and a detailed account of the hardships she encountered.

After the show stay for a discussion on the history behind it!
Jews and North Dakota
On August 18 & 21 join Katherine Tane, Executive Director of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest as she tells us the tale of how the Jewish immigrants landed in North Dakota.

For ticket information visit here.

JHSUM Annual Meeting, Archive Tour and Reception
Thur., May 16 3:00 pm
Elmer L. Andersen Library
University of Minnesota, 222 21st Ave. S., Minneapolis
Parking information:

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The University of Minnesota Libraries and the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest cordially invite you to attend a reception on May 16, 4:30 p.m., to meet and welcome Katherine Dietrick, the new archivist for the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives at the University of Minnesota Libraries.

Members of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest, and community members, are also invited to the 29th annual meeting of the JHSUM, which begins at 3 p.m. in Andersen Library.

A tour of the Archives and Special Collections department underground storage facility in the caverns beneath Andersen Library will take place at 3:45 p.m. followed by the reception at 4:30 p.m.

3:00 p.m.JHSUM Annual Meeting
3:45 p.m.Cavern Tour
4:30 p.m.Welcome and Reception for Katherine Dietrick
Reserve your spot in any of the three activities at

‘Oy Vey’ Is Jewish For ‘Uff-Da’
Sat., April 6 7:30 pm  
Sun., April 7 4:00 pm
Created/performed by Elisa Korenne
Center For Jewish Arts & Ideas
4330 S. Cedar Lake Road Minneapolis, MN 55416

DYAS_Elisa.Korenne 1130 - Version 3When performer/songwriter/storyteller Elisa Korenne moved from NYC to New York Mills, MN she felt like the only Jew for miles – or so it seemed. After noticing Jewish names on street signs and stores, Elisa started researching the Jews who once lived near her new hometown and discovered that in the 19th- and 20th-centuries, many Jews immigrated to the rural upper Midwest, and a good number of them were farmers. A fascinating, humorous and thoughtful hour of stories and songs about this small, unlikely, and mostly extinct group of rural Minnesotans, North Dakotans, and other Midwestern Jews. ‘Oy Vey!’ Is Jewish For ‘Uff-da!’ bridges a large gap in the knowledge of and about Jews in our own backyard and around the country. Learn more at Elisa Korenne used materials from JHSUM archives!

Each performance will be followed by a discussion with the artist
$8 for JCC Premium & Community Members
$10 for Fitness Members & General Public
For reservations call the JCC Box Office at (952)381-3499  or email

Highlights from JHSUM’s Annual Meeting: Three Great Things to Celebrate

Three Great Things to Celebrate
Sunday, September 30

2-4 p.m. Reception
A brief program will begin at 2:45 p.m.
Regis Center for Art, U of M West Bank 405 21st Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN 55455

Three Great Things to Celebrate:

1. The Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest’s gift of its archives to the University of Minnesota Libraries,


2. The extraordinary vision of Theresa Berman, Sharron Steinfeldt, and all those who helped to found the Society and were crucial to preserving this remarkable history, and . .


3. Theresa Berman’s 100th Birthday!

Highlights from Rimon’s Artist Salon, Augie’s Secrets:
The Wicked Past of a Famous Avenue

The Rimon Artist Salon Series opens its 2012-13 season with

Sunday, October 21, 2012, 2 p.m.
JSB Tek Box, The Cowles Center for Dance (2nd floor)
528 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis
Cost: $10 (Students: $5)
Tickets for the Artist Salon may be reserved by contacting the Rimon office at 952-381-3449 or online at

Twin Cities Jewish Book Fair Presents Alicia Oltuski:
Precious Objects

Sunday, November 4 7:00- 9:00 pm
St. Paul JCC
Member Fee:$ 6 Non-Member Fee:$ 9

Journalist Alicia Oltuski, the daughter and granddaughter of diamond dealers, seamlessly blends family narrative with literary reporting to reveal the fascinating secrets of the industry and its madcap characters.

For more information visit
/>Recent Past Events

Save the Date for a Screening of Cornerstones: A History of North Minneapolis

Capri Theater and JHSUM are partnering for a screening of Cornerstones on Saturday, July 28th 3pm at Capri Theater (2027 West Broadway, Minneapolis). This screening is a part of the Annual FLOW NorthSide Art Crawl. More details coming soon.


Finding Your History, Telling Your Story
Artist talk and reception 6 pm, Lecture 7:30pm
Tuesday, March 20th
Sabes JCC, 4330 S. Cedar Lake Road

JHSUM presents “Finding Your History, Telling Your Story” Genealogy lecture on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. at the Sabes JCC. The lecture will be presented by videographer Max Orenstein and genealogist and artist Susan Weinberg. If you are interested in genealogy but don’t know where to start, this event is for you! Take the first steps of your genealogy journey with two seasoned professionals.Weinberg and Orenstein will discuss their approaches to genealogy as an artist and a videographer and what inspired them to explore their family’s stories.

The lecture is in conjunction with Susan Weinberg’s art exhibit on display in the Eiger-Zaidenweber Holocaust Resource Center located on the second floor of the Sabes JCC. The exhibition features art work from previous Weinberg exhibitions “A Hole in Time,” The Silence Speaks Loudly,” and selected works from her Jewish Identity and Legacy Project. In addition to Weinberg’s painting are photographs of the Eiger-Zaidenweber family in Radom, Poland. The Eiger-Zaidenweber families survived the Holocaust and were instrumental in promoting Holocaust education in Minnesota. There will be an artist reception and talk with Susan Weinberg and Dora Zaidenweber immediately before the genealogy lecture. All are invited to attend the reception. Please RSVP to

No Generation of Silence:
American Jews and the Holocaust in the Post-War Era

March 21 7:30 pm
Temple Israel
2324 Emerson Ave S, Minneapolis
American Jews in the two decades after the end of World War II found many ways to make the tragedy that had engulfed their people in Europe at the hands of the German Nazis a part of their communal culture. The Holocaust loomed large for them. How did postwar American Jews experiment with language and ideas to keep alive the memories of those who had perished in Europe— and use their memories to effect changes in the world of the late 1940s through the early 1960s?

Hasia Diner is Paul S. and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History at New York University and director of the Goldstein Goren Center for American Jewish History. Her many books include We Remember with Reverence and Love: American Jews and the Myth of Silence After the Holocaust, 1945–1962, winner of the 2010 National Jewish Book Award in American Jewish Studies. She was the recipient of a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship. Click here for more info.

Roads Taken: Peddlers and the Great Jewish Migration

March 22 12:00pm- 1:30pm
308 Elmer L. Andersen Library

Hasia Diner, Paul S. and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History; Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, New York University,  will present “Roads Taken: Peddlers and the Great Jewish Migration.” Click here for more info.


Exhibits by Susan Weinberg
Eiger-Zaidenweber Holocaust Resource Center
Second floor of the Barry Family Campus, 4330 South Cedar Lake, Minneapolis
Ongoing through June 30, 2012

Susan’s work explores Jewish identity, and asks the question of who will tell Jewish history, especially that of the Holocaust, for future generations. Her work has taken her on a personal journey to Lithuania and Poland, where she discovered a shared past with Dora Zaidenweber, once a resident of Radom, Poland. This journey led her to interview Jewish Minnesotans who survived the Holocaust, whose stories she has interpreted in her paintings. Click here to read a review of Susan’s previous exhibit.

Presenters: Talmud Torah of Minneapolis, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest, Tychman Shapiro Gallery.

The Eiger-Zaidenweber Holocaust Resource Center is located on the second floor of the Barry Family Campus, 4330 South Cedar Lake Road, Minneapolis, 55416. The Resource Center is open Monday through Thursday 7:30 am to 9 PM Friday 7:30 am to 6 PM. Sunday 9 AM to 1 PM. Closed for Jewish Holidays. For more information please contact the Talmud Torah of Minneapolis at 952.381.3300.

Above: A Hole in Time by Susan Weinberg
Recent Past Events

A Time Capsule Revealed
Thursday, November 10, 7pm
St. Paul JCC 1375 St. Paul Avenue, Saint Paul

Adina Hoffman & Peter Cole
Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza

MacArthur-winning poet and translator Peter Cole and acclaimed essayist Adina Hoffman tell the story of the retrieval from an Egyptian geniza—a repository for worn-out texts—of the most vital cache of Jewish manuscripts ever discovered. Presenting a panoramic view of nine hundred years of vibrant Mediterranean Judaism, Hoffman and Cole bring modern readers into the heart of this little know trove, whose contents have rightly been dubbed “the Living Sea Scrolls,” and the adventurous characters who revealed its depth. A gripping tale of adventure and redemption.

Internationally renowned scholar and author on Holocaust denial Deborah Lipstadt to speak at Coffman
Wednesday, October 26, 7:00 p.m.
Coffman Theater, Coffman Memorial Union, on the East Bank of the U of M

The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (CHGS) proudly presents the Bernard and Fern Badzin Lecture featuring Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University and author of internationally acclaimed books related to the Holocaust.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. at the Coffman Theater, Coffman Memorial Union, on the East Bank of the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Lipstadt will speak on Holocaust Denial: A New Form of Anti-Semitism and her recent critically acclaimed book The Eichmann Trial.

The event is free and open to the public; however, reservations are required. To reserve your tickets please click here or call the reservation line at 612-626-2587.

JHSUM Annual Meeting
Sunday, October 16th 2-4 pm
Shirley Chapman Sholom Home East- 740 Kay Avenue St. Paul, MN 55102

Saint Paul’s Jewish Neighborhoods – We Built Community exhibit opening and talk presented by Linda Mack Schloff, JHSUM past Director of Collections, Exhibits and Publications. Linda will be discussing JHSUM’s upcoming Upper Midwest Jewish History Journal Who Knew? Stories Unearthed From the Archives. Take an armchair tour of St. Paul. Free and open to the community. Refreshments will be served.

Picture:  Mt. Zion Women’s Sisterhood members looking at a Shabbat dinner table setting. Left to right: Mrs. Allan Firestone, Mrs. Max Whitefield, and Mrs. Joseph Stein.



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Click here to view past JHSUM events.