Press Release

14 November 2022

Conference on the »Hochschule der Wissenschaft des Judentums« in Berlin and digital

The Hochschule. Material History and Intellectual Legacy

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Held at the Centrum Judaicum in Berlin on November 29–30 2022, the international conference on »The Hochschule« marks the 150th anniversary of the »Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums,« and commemorates its closure by the Nazi regime 80 years ago. The event is a cooperation of the Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem and the Leibniz Institute for Jewish History and Culture – Simon Dubnow, Leipzig and is also taking place digitally.

Established in 1872 against the background of the permanent exclusion of Jewish Studies and rabbinical training from German universities, the »Hochschule« became one of the leading Jewish academic institutions in Europe – a spiritual home for prominent Jewish scholars such as Leo Baeck, Hermann Cohen, Ismar Elbogen, and Abraham Geiger. In 1942, the Nazi regime shut down the »Hochschule« and looted or destroyed its valuable library holdings. The majority of its scholars and students were murdered in the Holocaust. Some of its members managed to flee Germany and continued their intellectual work in new homelands. Thereby, the legacy of the »Hochschule« has been kept alive against all odds.

80 years later, this conference brings together scholars dealing with the intellectual and material legacy of the »Hochschule.« The focus is on the question of (German) Jewish cultural heritage and its development in the 20th century.

The conference is part of a research project, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) in the framework of its priority program »Jewish Cultural Heritage,« which explores the fate and significance of the library of the »Hochschule,« the whereabouts of its books, and initiatives in the postwar era to preserve its intellectual and cultural heritage.