The Material and Intellectual Legacy of the Higher Institute for Jewish Studies in Berlin

The project »German-Jewish Cultural Heritage Abroad,« which is being funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) in the framework of its priority program »Jewish Cultural Heritage,« focuses on the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums, the Higher Institute for Jewish Studies, established in Berlin in 1872 and shut down by the Nazis in 1942. In the framework of a cooperation with the Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem, the project explores the fate and significance of the institute’s library, the whereabouts of its books, and the initiatives of the postwar era to preserve both its intellectual and cultural heritage.

The project, which will run for three years, aims to reassess the afterlife of the institute in Berlin. It uses approaches from material culture research, library scholarship, provenance research, and intellectual history to reconstruct the institute’s intellectual and material legacy in different locations. A range of scholarly publications and events will be prepared for a not exclusively academic audience.

Proceeding from a material perspective, the project is dedicated to new research on a central field of Jewish intellectual, cultural, and memorial history in the postwar era. The first module of the project focuses on postwar initiatives to preserve the heritage of the institute, which were spearheaded primarily by intellectuals and Jewish institutions from Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The second module explores the paths taken by the scattered books from the institute’s destroyed library.

The project is being financed by the German Research Foundation (DFG) in the framework of its priority program »Jewish Cultural Heritage« (SPP 2357) through to 2025. The priority program aims to explore the developments of the social and cultural/political standing as well as the treatment of Jewish cultural heritage in Europe from an interdisciplinary and multi-perspectival approach.

Project Coordinatior at the Dubnow Institute, Leipzig
Dr. Felix Steilen

Project Members at the Leo Baeck Institute, Jerusalem
Dr. Anna Holzer-Kawalko
Bettina Farack

Research project at the Dubnow Institute

Research Projects at the Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem

Books and Stories: The Significance of the Library of the Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem
Bettina Farack (LBI Jerusalem)

Books from the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums and the National Library in Jerusalem
Dr. Anna Holzer-Kawałko (LBI Jerusalem)

Cooperation Partner

Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem