Simon Dubnow Institute
for Jewish History and Culture at Leipzig University

Courses at the Dubnow Institute, Summer Semester 2021

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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.


Jewish Typography in the Nineteenth Century. Readings in Social and Cultural History

Lecturer: Dr. Arndt Engelhardt


Time: Tuesdays, 11.15 a.m. to 12.45 p.m. (2 hours per week)

First session: 13 April 2021

Venue: digital event, if possible with presence parts in the Dubnow Institute


Description: A modern Jewish book trade emerged in the nineteenth century that was related in many respects to the general shifts in the contemporary book trade, such as the reform of practices, increased centralization, and the onset of industrialization. Along with the development of a modern Jewish press and a politically and culturally interested public, new typographic procedures played a key role in this context, as the production especially of foreign-language books was simplified and increasingly accelerated. This seminar will investigate the broad developments in the German-language book trade by analyzing the autobiographical testaments of the actors involved, such as Jewish printers, publishers, and prominent authors, and by reconstructing the material legacy of a selection of publishing companies.



Literature: Peter Fraenkel, The Memoirs of B. L. Monasch of Krotoschin, in: Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 24 (1979), 195–223; Karen Auerbach, »Verlagswesen«, in: Enzyklopädie jüdischer Geschichte und Kultur, ed. by Dan Diner, 2016; Kenneth B. Moss, »Printing and Publishing after 1800«, in: YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe.


Participation is limited to 25 people. 

Open to mature students: no


Exhibiting: Auschwitz – History and Impact

Lecturers: Prof. Dr. Raphael Gross/Fritz Backhaus

Seminar Time: Block seminar (2 hours per week)

First Session: 7th May 2021, 11.15 a.m. to 12.45 p.m.

Block Seminar: 04.06. (11.15 a.m. to 12.45 p.m.), 09.06. (3.15 p.m. to 4.45 p.m.), 11.06. (11.15 a.m. to 12.45 p.m.), 16.06. (3.15 p.m. to 4.45 p.m.) and 18.06.2021 (11.15 a.m. to 12.45 p.m.)

Venue: digital event, if possible with presence parts in the Dubnow Institute


Description: The history and aftermath of the concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz, which was created by the German occupiers in Poland, shaped the twentieth century like no other event. Auschwitz has become a synonym for the Holocaust itself. Knowledge of the mass murder, its legal prosecution in the immediate postwar years in Poland, and the trails that took place following a considerable delay in the Federal Republic of Germany belong to a range of topics alongside literary, philosophical, filmic, and artistic engagements that exemplify the special significance of this concentration and extermination camp into the present day. This seminar aims to sketch an exhibition that is being planned at the German Historical Museum. Besides the presentation of events that took place at this site since the camp was created in 1941, it will focus on engagements with Auschwitz and its impact into the present day.


Participation is conditional on giving a short presentation. Topics will be assigned in the introductory session on 7th May 2021.


Literature: Sybille Steinbacher, Auschwitz. Geschichte und Nachgeschichte, München 2020; Shoah, Frankreich, 1985, Regie: Claude Lanzmann; Georges Didi-Huberman, Bilder trotz allem, München 2007; Primo Levi, Ist das ein Mensch? Ein autobiographischer Bericht, München 2016 (1947); Nikolaus Wachsmann, KL: Die Geschichte der nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager, München 2016.


Participation is limited to 25 people.

Open to mature students: no


Jewish Diplomacy in the Interwar Period: The Fight for Minority Rights

Lecturers: Marcel Müller/Momme Schwarz


Time: Wednesdays, 11.15 12.45 a.m. (2 hours a week)

Venue: digital event, if possible with presence parts in the Dubnow Institute


Description: This seminar aims to interpret and disseminate Jewish initiatives to realize and defend a binding system of minority rights in Europe between 1919 and 1939. Beginning with the establishment of the Comité des délégations juives at the Paris peace conferences and extending through the participation of Jewish delegates at the Congress of European Nationalities between 1925 and 1933 to the foundation of the World Jewish Congress in 1936, we will use selected sources to examine and discuss the strategies and demands for the protection of Jews from economic, political, and cultural ostracism. Through a precise investigation of institutions and individuals, we will illuminate the close networks of Jewish minority diplomacy in the interwar period. We will moreover investigate the question of what potential for protection and salvation remained for the Jews of Eastern and Western European under the worsening conditions of the 1930s. Participation is conditional on the readiness to prepare a presentation.


Participation is conditional on giving a short presentation.


Literature: Dan Diner, Imperiale Residuen. Zur paradigmatischen Bedeutung transterritorialer Erfahrung für eine gesamteuropäische Geschichte, in: Daniel Weidner (ed.), Figuren des Europäischen. Kulturgeschichtliche Perspektiven, München 2006, 259–274; Philipp Graf, Die Bernheim-Petition 1933. Jüdische Politik in der Zwischenkriegszeit, Göttingen 2008; Mark Mazower, Reiche, Völker, Minderheiten, in: idem, Der dunkle Kontinent. Europa im 20. Jahrhundert, Frankfurt am Main 2002, 69–116; Ezra Mendelsohn, Zwischen großen Erwartungen und bösem Erwachen. Das Ende der multinationalen Reiche in Ostmittel- und Südosteuropa aus jüdischer Perspektive, in: Dittmar Dahlmann/Anke Hilbrenner (eds.), Zwischen großen Erwartungen und bösem Erwachen. Juden, Politik und Antisemitismus in Ost- und Südosteuropa 1918–1945, Paderborn 2007, 13–30.


Participation is limited to 25 people.

Open to mature students: no



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«

American Jewish Political Thought: Transnational Varieties

Lecturer: Dr. des. Imanuel Clemens Schmidt

Research Colloquium

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

First session: 15 April 2021

Venue: digital event


Description: This lecture series offers some new perspectives on the history of twentieth-century American Jewish political thought in a transnational dimension. It focuses on the diverse ways in which American Jews, through their communal institutions and organizations, articulated a variety of ideas about their responsibilities for Jews and Jewish life abroad. It also asks how those actions, in turn, reflected concerns the Jews of the United States had for themselves and their place in American life. What tasks did they take up for Jews in other places, and what did their actions mean for their various understandings of Jewish life in the United States? The lecture series emphasizes both common concerns among American Jews and widely divergent views of what to do and how.

The lectures explore how American Jews articulated in words and deeds the multiple and often conflicting perspectives about their own situation in America and their relationship to the Jewish people worldwide.

The series is linked to and sets the stage for the Digital Annual Conference of the Dubnow Institute, in cooperation with The Goldstein-Goren Center for American Jewish History at New York University (Prof. Dr. Hasia R. Diner), conducted on June 15–16, 2021.



Open to mature students: yes


More information on the speakers, the schedule and the registration, are available here: Reaerch Colloquium.


Registration: See the central deadline of the Historical Seminar



Mastermodul 03-HIS-0407, Geschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts: Der Kampf zwischen Demokratie und Diktatur

Colonialism and National Socialism: Gillo Pontecorvo’s »The Battle of Algiers« (1966) as a Case Study

Lecturer: PD Dr. Jan Gerber


Time: Thursday, 1.15 p.m. to 2.45 p.m.

First session: 22 April 2021

Venue: digital event, if possible with presence parts


Description: What is the relationship between colonialism and National Socialism? Does colonialism form a part of the prelude to National Socialism or are these two separate developments? And does the memory of National Socialism stand in competition to the memory of the crimes of colonialism? These questions are not new, they were already being discussed in the era of decolonization in the 1950s and 1960s as well as in the framework of the Cold War and thereafter. The Algerian War in particular stretched the limits of political and historical judgment, not least of all because of its close temporal proximity to World War Two, but also because people were fighting on both sides who had only a few years earlier belonged to the resistance against National Socialism. Numerous Algerians who had served in the Free French Forces until 1945 joined the Algerian independence movement after the end of World War Two. On the French side, it was not seldom former members of the Résistance who were responsible for expanding the authority of the military and for the systematic application of torture in the Algerian War.

This seminar will examine this complex constellation through Gillo Pontecorvo’s famous 1966 film »The Battle of Algiers«. Through this icon of anticolonial cinema, the seminar will highlight the specificity of the colonial situation in Algeria in the late 1940s and 1950s, its relationship to the Cold War, and the contrary experiences and memories that arose from the Algerian War.


Literature: will be provided at the beginning of the semester