The Leibniz Institute for Jewish History and Culture – Simon Dubnow (DI) is an interdisciplinary research institute. Its main focus lies on the investigation of Jewish history and culture in Central and Eastern Europe from the Middle Ages to the present day. The work conducted by the institute adopts a European perspective, including also the spaces of Jewish emigration, especially Israel and America.
The DI is dedicated to the secular tradition of its namesake, the Russian Jewish historian Simon Dubnow (1860–1941), who acted as a cultural mediator between Eastern and Western European Jewry. At the DI, Jewish history is always regarded in the context of its non-Jewish environs and as a seismograph of general historical developments.
The Institute has been directed since April 2017 by Yfaat Weiss, Professor of Modern History, especially Jewish history, at Leipzig University and Professor of Jewish History at the Hebrew University Jerusalem. Between 1999 and 2014 it was managed by Professor Dan Diner and from April 2015 onwards by Professor Raphael Gross. The founding director from 1995 to 1998 was the historian Prof. Stefi Jersch-Wenzel.
The research activities of the DI are divided into the three research units »Politics«, »Law«, and »Knowledge«. These orient themselves towards the methodologically renewed fields of political, legal, and diplomatic history, the history of migration and scholarship, as well as the classical canon of intellectual history and the history of ideas, moreover incorporating questions from the fields of material culture and the history of transfer and restitution.
The research findings are disseminated to both a specialized audience as well as the interested public through a broad range of publications. These include among others the bilingual and internationally renowned Jahrbuch des Dubnow-Instituts/Dubnow Institute Yearbook; a book series; the essay series toldot; and the magazine Jüdische Geschichte & Kultur (Jewish History and Culture). The blog »Mimeo« offers a platform for young researchers on Jewish history and culture. The specialist collection of the institute library is open to both scholars and guests.
Special emphasis is placed on cooperative research at national and international levels. The institute works together closely with the Leipzig University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. It moreover maintains close links with numerous scholarly centers in Israel, the United States, Europe, and Germany, and constitutes a place of exchange for scholars from all over the world.