About The Project
The Wallach story is a story of determination, creativity, and tragedy. It is the story of Jewish brothers, who popularised something quintessentially German – the dirndl dress, and in the process, set the scene for the modern day Oktoberfest; brothers whose upscale fashion was worn by performers and princesses; and whose textiles and homewares adorned the most upscale salons.
It is a story of the holocaust. Those same Jewish brothers who had once been purveyors to the royal court of Bavaria and lauded for their contribution to its culture, forced to hand over their business to the Nazis; two of the brothers forced to flee Germany for America; the other murdered along with his wife in the Theresienstadt concentration camp.
But the Wallach story did not end with the holocaust. Instead, its story is also one of renewal. After the war, Moritz Wallach reclaimed the business and ran it from America until his death in 1964, after which Wallach continued to operate under local ownership until its doors closed in 2004. Even up until 2022, its signature fabrics continued to be printed by a long term Wallach collaborator at a workshop in the Bavarian forest, where a number of the company’s most popular textiles are still available today.
The Wallach Project (e.V.) exists to preserve, re-tell, and re-imagine the artistic and cultural heritage of the Wallach brother’s company.
PRESERVe – RETELL – REIMAGINe
To preserve the Wallach company’s heritage – its history and artistic practice, as well as its artefacts, collections, designs, motifs and exhibition materials. We will create a digital catalogue and an online platform where this heritage is available to the public.
To re-tell the story of the Wallach brothers to inspire and inform the public – what can we learn from this history now? How can the Wallach story help open up space for conversation; about belonging, about shared commemoration, about the past’s impact on our present. We will collaborate with public institutions and socially engaged artists and use the Wallach textiles and folk art to encourage different perspectives to meet, for stories to be shared, and for the social practice of remembering together to be explored.
To re-imagine Wallach designs for the present day. The Wallach brothers were designers and retailers of traditional folk art, but they also collaborated with artists and makers from a variety of regions and backgrounds to re-imagine and re-interpret folk art for contemporary, urban audiences. One of their hallmarks was the ability to constantly evolve and adapt designs to changing tastes. In the same spirit, we invite collaboration with those who wish to re-imagine signature Wallach designs today.