Turning Object into Subject

»Turning Object into Subject. Communicating Jewish Everyday Culture in Germany« is a cooperative project that combines foundational research in cultural studies with applied research of textbooks and aims to make its findings applicable for teaching staff. It is not oriented towards the study of antisemitism in the traditional sense. Rather, it aims to educate and disseminate knowledge about Jewish history, culture, and religion. The base assumption is that the process of coming to terms with National Socialism in Germany has led to a reduction of Jewish history to an ostensibly exclusive experiential framework of persecution, antisemitism, and the Holocaust, and thus to an obfuscation of the pluralism of Jewish life in Europe. This has engendered a fragmented or diminished knowledge about the religious and everyday practices of Jews – a deficit that is compounded by a lack of direct experience. The project aims to counter these isolating perspectives and stereotypical perceptions through a well-founded and easily accessible knowledge concerning Jewish history and culture.

Specifically, the project aims to disseminate basic knowledge about religious practices as well as the transformations of the Jewish community in Germany through various publication formats. At the same time, it will explore the extent to which school materials, the politics of historical education, and popular historical narratives have relayed and reproduced false perceptions and a lack of knowledge. The results will be used to conceptualize new school materials, teaching instructions, and further training. This will be achieved through altogether three subprojects that will be conducted in close cooperation with established cooperation and practical partners.


Subproject 1 will be based at the Dubnow Institute and will culminate in

  • four volumes of toldot comprising case studies on objects, discourses, and transformations in everyday Jewish culture in Germany, and
  • a Digital Catalogue focusing on the transformation of Jewish life in Germany since 1989.


Subproject 2 will be based at the Georg Eckert Institute and will culminate in

  • a scholarly monograph on the dissemination of stereotypes of Jews and Jewish in German-language history textbooks and popular historical magazines.


Subproject 3 will be conducted by the Working Group for Jewish-German History of the Association of History Teachers in Germany and will culminate in

  • three topical textbooks for secondary levels I and II,
  • further training for disseminators working in the field of pedagogical and political historical education, and
  • recommendations for textbook authors.


This research project is being funded for a period of four years by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in the framework of the Directive Concerning the Promotion of Cooperative Research Projects in the Field of Antisemitism Research, »Current Dynamics and Challenges of Antisemitism.«

Project Heads
Prof. Dr. Yfaat Weiss (DI)
Dr. Dirk Sadowski (GEI)

Project Coordinator
PD Dr. Philipp Graf (DI)

Contact Person at VGD
Dr. Helge Schröder

Research Projects at the Dubnow Institute

Negotiating Visibility
A Cultural History of Wearing the Kippah

Itamar Ben Ami (affiliated)

City without Jews
On the Treatment of Halberstadt’s Jewish Heritage since 1945

PD Dr. Philipp Graf

The Jewish Cemetery in Berlin-Weißensee
Jewish Burial Culture in Germany

Dr. des. Andrea Kirchner (Fritz Bauer Institute)

Research Project at the Georg Eckert Institute

Between Facts and Prejudices. The Depiction of Jewish History, Culture, and Religion in Textbooks and History Magazines
Dr. Matthias Springborn (GEI)



Topical Textbook

Thematic Issue 1
Jewish Religious Traditions.

Leipzig 2023