Thomas Ritzerfeld, a graduate of the University of Cologne, has spent December and January interning with the Collections and Exhibition department. Tall, thin, and with a small amount of stubble, Thomas was full of wonder when asked to describe his experience, both here at MJH and in our humble city. “The diversity of the workplace…and the city,” he said without hesitation. “I work with 23-year-olds and survivors of the Holocaust…and I live near Harlem. Here, people take pride.” He is friendly with the guy who sells newspapers and frequents a local bagel place in his neighborhood, noting that in Germany, “bagels are just round bread.”
Thomas worked on a range of projects during his tenure, everything from transcribing Holocaust testimony to translating German papers into English. Utilizing his sports knowledge (his degree is in English and sports), he researched photos taken during the Maccabee Games, and contributed to staff development by teaching a beginning German class. He is grateful to Esther and the staff for “exposing me to as many great experiences as possible.” When not interning, he took “a million” photos, visited other museums, and went on a tour of Jewish Brooklyn. Gallery Educator Talya Gitin was his host for the winter.
Thomas met a former MJH intern in Germany, who happened to be wearing a Yiddish “I Heart NY” t-shirt, and that’s how he was introduced to the Museum of Jewish Heritage. This intern recommended him and it’s only fitting then that Thomas will be succeeded by another Cologne intern he recommended; she starts February 1. On that day, Thomas will start student teaching at a school in Bonn.
Next week, though, Thomas gets to show off the city he loves when his parents visit NYC for the first time. Thomas plans to keep in touch with the Museum via Facebook. “I was a fan before I got here!” he says, and considers Facebook “a living comment book.”
These are just some of Thomas' photos.