Simon Dubnow Institute
for Jewish History and Culture at Leipzig University

Courses at the Dubnow Institute, Summer Semester 2019

Module 03-HIS-0218 »History of the Jews in the Modern Period« (This module comprises two seminars which can be chosen from three options, totaling altogether four hours per week during the semester)


The two courses comprise the module »History of the Jews in Modernity« (03-HIS-0218) in the BA degree program in History in the Department of History. The courses are open to students registered in the MA degree program »European Studies« and in the previous MA and Teacher Training degree programs in the Department of History, the the Institute for Cultural Studies, and the Institute of Political Science at Leipzig University. The courses are also open to students in the MA degree program »History and Politics of the 20th Century« at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena.


Linguistic Thought and Linguistic Critique of Jewish Intellectuals after 1945


Lecturers: Dr. Nicolas Berg/Dr. Elisabeth Gallas


Time: Mondays, 3.15 p.m. to 4.45 p.m. (2 hours per week) 

Venue: Leibniz Institute for Jewish History and Culture – Simon Dubnow, Ground Floor Seminar Room, Goldschmidtstraße 28, Leipzig

First Session: Monday, 1 April 2019


Description: The American literary scholar George Steiner wrote in 1959 that National Socialism had found in the German language »precisely what it needed to give voice to its savagery«. The hypothesis that the German language is not innocent of Nazi crimes has never been more decisively formulated than it was in Steiner’s essay The Hollow Miracle. Yet the disturbing narration of the relationship between the German language and Nazi jargon can be found not only in Steiner’s work, but also in surprisingly many postwar diagnoses of the time. The authors range from H. G. Adler and Jean Améry through Victor Klemperer to Joseph Wulf. These writers placed the contamination of the German language and its functionalization center stage in often complex interpretations of Nazi rule that took the form of linguistic critiques. An entire corpus emerged, consisting of essays, studies, and even dictionaries, in which language was cast as an instrument of ostracization, expulsion, and extermination. However, it soon became clear that such analyses themselves required the creation of new terminologies, as the Jewish experience of Nazi rule could no longer be adequately described with the conventional thesaurus. This reading course examines reflections on the German language during and after the catastrophe.

Literature:George Steiner, Das hohle Wunder (1960), in: George Steiner, Sprache und Schweigen. Essays über Sprache, Literatur und das Unmenschliche, Frankfurt a. M. 1973, 155–176; Victor Klemperer, LTI. Notizbuch eines Philologen (Berlin: Aufbau 1947); derzeit in 18. Auflage, Reclam-Tb., 2018.


Participation is limited to 20 people. Participation is conditional on the readiness to conduct a brief presentation.


Open to mature students: no



Exhibiting: German Jewish History in Conflicts and Objects

Lecturers: Prof. Dr. Raphael Gross/Fritz Backhaus


Time: Block seminar (2 hours per week)

First Session: Friday 3 May 2019, 10.30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Block Seminar: Thursday, 4th July, 10.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. and Friday, 5th July, 10.30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Venue: Leibniz Institute for Jewish History and Culture – Simon Dubnow, Ground Floor Seminar Room, Goldschmidtstraße 28, Leipzig


Description: This seminar examines museal forms of representation of German Jewish history through various conflicts and related objects. To this end, it will focus both on determining themes as well as the use of media and the potential of visualization in exhibitions generally. The aim is to design an exhibition that presents German Jewish history in conflicts. This course will take place in one block. A prerequisite for participation is the willingness to deliver a short presentation. Topics will be allocated in an introductory meeting on 3 May 2019.


Participation is conditional on the readiness to conduct a brief presentation. Presentation topics will be assigned during the preliminary session at the beginning of the semester on 27 April 2018.


Literature: Cilly Kugelmann, art. »Museen«, in: Enzyklopädie jüdischer Geschichte und Kultur, ed by, vol. 4, Stuttgart/Weimar 2013, 274–279


Participation is limited to 20 people and is conditional upon readiness to conduct a brief presentation.


Terms of enrolment: See the central deadline of the Historical Seminar


Bachelor of Arts History/Master of Arts Medieval and Modern History, Advanced module of study 03-HIS-0312/03-HIS-0511

»Fundamental Issues in Jewish and General Modern History«


Lecturers: Anna Holzer-Kawalko, Dr. Enrico Lucca, Judith Siepmann

Research Colloquium

Time: Thursday, 5.15 p.m. to 6.45 p.m. (every other week)

Start: 4 April 2019

Venue: Leibniz Institute for Jewish History and Culture – Simon Dubnow, Goldschmidtstr. 28, Leipzig


Jewish Material Cultures in East Central Europe in the 20th Century


Description: Modern Jewish history can be explored anew by assuming a perspective that adopts materiality as its point of departure. As portable belongings, visible remnants, or just silent reminders of lost stories, objects illuminate the Jewish experience of migration and transfer, as well as expulsion, annihilation, and destruction, from a unique angle.

Against this background, the colloquium addresses the fate of Jewish cultural artifacts and the institutions to which they belonged in the twentieth century. It explores libraries, archives, as well as private book collections in Central and Eastern Europe, including the Czech lands, Hungary, and Poland. This focus will offer a glimpse of the richness of European Jewish intellectual and spiritual life in the interwar period, it will shed light on the history of destruction in the course of World War II and the Nazi looting of Jewish cultural property. Finally, it will enable us to track the reconstruction of Jewish cultural heritage in the aftermath of the Holocaust. While presenting a sort of biography of objects, it will reflect some fundamental changes that affected both the cultural geography of the Jewish world and Europe’s geo-political map after 1945.


Open to mature students: yes


For further information on dates and lecturers see here.


Registration: Please register individually by email to Marion Hammer.



Modul 03-HIS-0214, Gesellschaftsgeschichte im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert


Faschismus und Nationalsozialismus. Theorien, Interpretationen, Kontroversen


Lecturer: PD Dr. Jan Gerber


Time: Thursday, 11.15 to 12.45

Venue: GWZ H4 2.16