Simon Dubnow Institute
for Jewish History and Culture at Leipzig University

2001/2005 »Jewish Chapters in the History of Leipzig University - Biographies, Disciplines, Eras«

With the six hundredth anniversary of the University of Leipzig in 2009 in mind, the exhibit in the Institute traced the paths of its Jewish scholars and students down through the centuries.  The University of Leipzig, in the nineteenth century one of Germany's foremost centers of research and leading universities, was especially suitable as a site for exploring an integrated German—Jewish history.


Especially in the nineteenth century, academic higher education had a central place in German-Jewish identity and was associated with high social prestige.  And in the nineteenth century, the German universities played a leading role within the international system of knowledge. Students and scholars from across Europe and North America were attracted by the pull of studying or doing research at German universities, the university in Leipzig among them. Already from the eighteenth century on, Jews at various levels also left their stamp on the evolving profile of the University of Leipzig. Important scholars, rabbis and persons in public life were once students in Leipzig.


The exhibit under the direction of Stephan Wendehorst  provided a look at a little-researched sub-field of Jewish history, and sheded light at the same time on different areas in general history, extending far beyond the context of the history of science and knowledge in Leipzig and the state of Saxony.  The exhibit consisted of eighteen chapters, presented in succession at an interval of several months. Three chapters were presented simultaneously under the topics »biographies,« »disciplines« and »eras.« The authors of the individual sections of the exhibit are Institute staff, guest scholars, lecturers at the University of Leipzig and researchers from elsewhere. The individual chapters comprising the exhibit were on display in the rooms of the Institute over a period of some four years, from 2001 to 2005.