Research Unit »Politics«

The Research Unit »Politics« explores the heterogeneous responses of Jews to the political challenges of their times. Unlike the prevailing assumption of the Enlightenment era, Jews were by no means confronted by a linear development going into the twentieth century, but rather with an oscillation between the granting and revocation of civil, meaning: political equality. Thus, this research unit focuses on questions of belonging and the limits and limitations of belonging. The research unit is structured according to the following three focal points.

The focal point »Utopias« explores the great attraction that various political visions of the future, especially those within the Labor Movement and the Left, began to exert on Jews from the nineteenth century onwards.

The focal point »Experiences of Violence« centers on the diverse forms of violence experienced by Jews in the twentieth century, from the eruptions that followed World War One through to Late Stalinism, as well as the eradication of all forms of experience during the Holocaust.

The focal point »Pluralism and Secularization« elucidates the historical and intellectual causes and consequences of regionally and nationally divergent ideas of pluralism. It also emphasizes the flipside, namely the tendency towards ethnic homogenization, which especially affected Jews.

Head of Research Unit
Prof. Dr. Jan Gerber

Research Unit Coordinator
Dr. Jakob Stürmann

Research Projects

A New History of the Labor and Union Movement

The Last Citizen
An Intellectual Biography of Max Horkheimer

Dr. Magnus Klaue (affiliated)

A New History of the Labor and Union Movement

A Labour Man in Berlin –
Richard Löwenthal and the Social Democratic Party of West Germany (SPD)

Felix Pankonin (affiliated)