The Jewish Museum Berlin continues to be one of Germany’s most successful museums and the Libeskind Building a landmark of international renown.
How did it come about that the former Supreme Court building in Kreuzberg’s Lindenstraße, which housed the historic city museum of West Berlin founded in the 1960s, is now home to the Jewish Museum Berlin? How did the project of expanding the Berlin Museum to include a Jewish department become a national museum of German-Jewish history under the patronage of the Federal Republic?
The author Daniel Bussenius speaks to curator Inka Bertz and “ZEIT” journalist Heinrich Wefing about the emergence of the museum and the controversies that accompanied its founding in the years from 1971 to 2001.
Old Building, level 2, Great Hall
Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin
Inka Bertz is head of collections and art curator at the Jewish Museum Berlin. She has curated exhibitions and published on Jewish art and cultural history, including Eine neue Kunst für ein altes Volk. Die Jüdische Renaissance in Berlin 1900–1924 (A new art for an ancient people. The Jewish Renaissance in Berlin 1900–1924) in 1991 and Familienbilder. Selbstdarstellung im jüdischen Bürgertum (Family Portraits: Self-Image Among the Jewish Bourgeoisie, Dumont) in 2004.
Daniel Bussenius was awarded a doctorate from the Humboldt University Berlin for his dissertation on the history of politics considering the 1848 revolution of the First Republic of Austria and the Weimar Republic in the years 1918 to 1933/34. Parallel to this, he was research assistant to Professor W. Michael Blumenthal for his autobiography Around the World in Eighty Years. He works as a freelance historian and editor in Munich.
Heinrich Wefing is deputy politics editor for “ZEIT” in Hamburg. He studied law and art history in Bonn and Freiburg and wrote for the “FAZ” feuilleton for eleven years, first as Berlin correspondent, then in San Francisco, and lastly as head of the feuilleton office in Berlin. Since 2008, he has worked for “ZEIT” in Hamburg in the areas of legal policy, network and society, and USA. His Gebrauchsanweisung für Kalifornien (Instruction manual for California, Piper) was published in 2011 and Der Fall Demjanjuk. Der letzte große NS-Prozess (The Demjanjuk case. The last big Nazi trial, C.H. Beck) in 2005. He lives in Hamburg.
Moderated by Cilly Kugelmann
About the Series
The Studies of the Jewish Museum Berlin address the diversity of the Jewish experience in the context of general historical and cultural developments in Germany and Europe. They explore questions about the representation of history and reflect on the impact of the Diaspora on Jewish tradition and the social and political developments of the present. The first volume, From a Berlin Farce to a Story of Success. On the Origins of the Jewish Museum Berlin 1971–2001 will be presented at this event.
Volume 2 of the academic book series was published as the Jewish Museum’s first open access publication. Hear the Truth, Whoever Speaks It. Milestones in the Work of Moses Maimonides from Islamic Spain to Modern Berlin (Ed. Lukas Mühlethaler) illuminates on the one hand characteristic aspects of Maimonides’ work with respect to the Almohad revolution in Muslim Spain, on the other unknown Muslim and Christian interpretations of his work.
A discussion as a prelude to the Jewish Museum Berlin's academic book series
A cooperation with Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Publishers
Where, when, what?
- 2 Mar 2015
Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 BerlinSee location on map
Old Building, level 2, Great Hall
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Audio Recordings: Listen to Past Museum Events (64)
Listen to Past Museum Events
Lectures, book presentations, theatrical readings, panel discussions, and award ceremonies
World History in Berlin
The Humboldt Brothers and the Jewish Enlightenment
With: Uta Lohmann, Sebastian Panwitz, and Conrad Wiedemann, Humboldt researchers
30 Oct 2019
Antisemitism Today – A Challenge for School and Society
21 February 2019
Talk by Juliane Wetzel as part of the symposium Actively Countering Antisemitism and Exclusion (in German)
Katharina Galor: The Temple Mount
9 Jan 2019
Archaeologist Katharina Galor talks about the historical and archaeological heritage of Jerusalem’s most controversial site – the Temple Mount (Har haBait). She presents various research initiatives and highlights the role of religiously or politically motivated agendas in the research process.
Achtzehn Hiebe (Eighteen Blows)
28 July 2018
Reading and Discussion
Achtzehn Hiebe is a novel of love and a detective story, a piece of contemporary history, and a journey through Israel of today. The Israeli author Assaf Gavron presents his new novel with the actor Golo Euler and the journalist Ulrich Gutmair (taz).
Provenance Research in Israel and Germany
In this symposium, research that explores the origins of Jewish ceremonial objects exclusively in Israel and Germany, took center stage for the first time.
18/19 Jun 2018
Rechavia – Grunewald in the Orient
28 February 2018
Reading with Thomas Sparr on German-Jewish Jerusalem (in German)
A Canon of Jewish Renaissance
22 February 2018
Bernhard Jensen, author of the first monograph about the Soncino Society in conversation with publisher Thedel von Wallmoden (in German)
Jerusalem for Cowards
19 February 2018
Discussion with filmmakers Dalia Castel and Orit Nahmias following the screening of Jerusalem for Cowards (in German and English)
Who is carrying the Menorah?
8 February 2018
Talk by Steven Fine on Jewish Counter-Histories of the Arch of Titus Spoils Panel
The Many Deaths of Jew Süss
22 January 2018
Reading with Yair Mintzker on Joseph Süß Oppenheimer – Jew Süss
Germanija. How I Became an Adult and a Jew in Germany
Reading and discussion on Dmitrij Belkin's narrative that also throws light on immigration today.
19 Oct 2017
IN-/EXCLUSIONS and Self-Empowerment in the Cultural Business
With Max Czollek, Dan Thy Nguyen, Sandrine Micossé-Aikins, and Mutlu Ergün-Hamaz (in German)
12 Oct 2017
Volk, Volksgemeinschaft, AfD (People, National Community, AfD)
Book presentation and discussion with Alexander Häusler and the author Michael Wildt (in German)
10 Oct 2017
5 August 2017
Iris Berben reads Paula Buber (in German and English)
Before the After Party
15 July 2017
Reading and talk with the author Molly Antopol, translator Patricia Klobusiczky and actor Katharina Marie Schubert (in German and English).
Eliz Sanasarian and Elham Rokni on video art by Elham Rokni and the situation of Jews in Iran from the 1979 revolution to today.
6 Jul 2017
The New Völkerwanderung
Book Presentation by Asfa Wossen Asserate
3 July 2017
Asfa-Wossen Asserate presents his latest book Die neue Völkerwanderung (The New Völkerwanderung) on the grievances of the EU’s Africa policy.
Peter Schäfer – "Two gods in heaven. Concepts of god in the ancient Jewish world"
12 June 2017
Peter Schäfer and Michael Wolffsohn on monotheism in Judaism and Christianity and concepts of a second god.
With Karamba to the Bundestag – My Journey from Senegal to the German Parliament
Karamba Diaby tells of his birth country Senegal, of life in the GDR, his work in the Bundestag, and of his vision of an open and future-oriented society (in German).
1 Jun 2017
Ariel Sabar: My Father’s Paradise: A Son's Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq
Reading and talk with the writer Ariel Sabar on the story of his father Yona Sabar, professor of the Neo-Aramaic language, and the Kurdish-Jewish history.
11 May 2017
The Dress of the Unfaithful Wife
Artist Talk and Discussion on Women and Sexuality in Judaism
9 May 2017
Talk with Andi LaVine Arnovitz, Amy K. Milligan, Professor for Jewish Studies and Women's Studies, and Emily D. Bilski, art historian, on the role of women in religious Judaism.
Israelis in Germany
Ideological Debates and Changing Identities
Talk and Slideshow with Dr. Dani Kranz and Katja Harbi from the University of Wuppertal on Israeli Jews in today’s Germany, in German
4 May 2017
Im/Possibilities – Perspectives on Refugee Participation
Conference on the situation for refugees in Europe and Germany. Recording of the opening event with a talk by Gurminder K Bhambra, Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick, UK, followed by a panel discussion, in German and English
29 Mar 2017
Our Father: A Sinti Family Recounts
Conversation and reading with the German-Sinti civil rights activist and author Anita Awosusi and her daughter Tayo Onutor about their family’s history, in German
23 Mar 2017
Europe Against the Jews. 1880-1945
Historian Götz Aly and Daniel Cohn-Bendit discuss antisemitism in Eastern and Western Europe from 1880 to the present, in German
22 Feb 2017
The Acid Test
How Fear of Foreigners is Threatening our Democracy
The Islamic studies and education scholar Lamya Kaddor reads from her book and discusses integration with Minister of State Aydan Özoğuz and Andreas Zick, in German
Gottes Körper (God's Body)
Christoph Markschies in conversation with Peter Schäfer about Christian conceptions of God and their roots in other ancient religions, in German
13 Feb 2017
All Sorts of Stories
The actor Johanna Wokalek reads from Bertha Pappenheim’s German translation of the Maase book, a collection of Yiddish stories, fairy tales, and legends, in German
21 Nov 2016
Joshua Cohen: You want a golem?
Reading and conversation with Joshua Cohen and Caspar Battegay about the golem myth in the age of automation.
17 Nov 2016
A Jew in Neukölln – My Path to Coexistence of Religions
The theology student and writer Ármin Langer reads from his book and talks about Jewish life in Neukölln, in German
19 Oct 2016
The Clay Giant's Alive!
Anke Kuhl reads from her comic about two kids and their golem, with musical accompaniment by the cellist Martin Klenk, in German
8 Oct 2016
Reading with Christian Berkel: Tevye the Dairyman
To mark the 100th anniversary of Sholem Alejchem’s death, the actor Christian Berkel will read from the new translation of the book Tevye the Dairyman
9 Jul 2016
Herzl reloaded – It’s No Fairytale
Staged reading. Doron Rabinovici, writer and historian, and Natan Sznaider, sociologist, have a fictional email correspondence with Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism, in German
7 Jul 2016
Ludwig Haas – A Left-liberal Campaigner for Peace and Democracy
Symposium with Evening Lecture by Gerhart Baum on the liberal Campaigner Ludwig Haas (1875–1930) and Perspectives of Left-wing Liberalism Today.
9 Jun 2016
The Holocaust and the Problem of Visual Representation
Talk with artist and exhibition curator Peter Weibel about Boris Lurie and visual representation of the Holocaust, in German
30 May 2016
Helga Krohn: Bruno Asch
19 May 2016
Reading and talk with Helga Krohn on the local politician and socialist Bruno Asch.
Angst ums Abendland (Fears For the West)
Book Presentation with Daniel Bax
Talk with Daniel Bax and Gideon Botsch on Right-wing populist parties, anti-Muslim sentiments, flight and asylum (in German).
6 Apr 2016
Béla Guttmann - The World History of Football in one Person
The writer Detlev Claussen presents his book about the Hungarian-Jewish soccer coach Béla Guttmann, in German
4 Aug 2015
Attempts to Describe Anti-Semitism
Book presentation and discussion on the history of antisemitism research before 1944 with Hans-Joachim Hahn, Olaf Kistenmacher, Dr. Werner Treß, and Franziska Krah (in German).
22 Apr 2015
From a Berlin Farce to a Story of Success
The writer Daniel Bussenius talks with Inka Bertz and Heinrich Wefing, reporter from Die Zeit, about the museum’s development from 1971 to 2001, in German
2 Mar 2015
The Realignment of “Education after Auschwitz” in Immigration Society
Book presentation and panel discussion with the author Rosa Fava, Angela Kühner (University of Frankfurt), Selman Erkovan, history teacher in training, and Marco Kühnert, a guide at the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial, Hamburg, in German
27 Jan 2015
The Book of Job. Aesthetics, Ethics, Hermeneutics
The editors of a volume of essays about the Book of Job, Leora Batnitzky (Princeton) and Ilana Pardes (Jerusalem), in conversation with Vivian Liska
Language: in German and English
21 Jan 2015
What’s your "Heimat"?
W. Michael Blumenthal, Founding Director of the Jewish Museum Berlin, and Monika Grütters, Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, talk about culture, religion, and being at home in a foreign place, in German
14 Nov 2014
Zimzum. God and the creation of the world
Author Christoph Schulte talks with Micha Brumlik and Vivian Liska about his book on the notion of zimzum (tzimtzum) in Jewish mysticism
30 Oct 2014
Hebrew Worlds – On the Presence of Ancient Texts in Modern Ivrith
Anne Birkenhauer, a translator and the August Wilhelm Schlegel Guest Professor of the German Translation Fund and the FU Berlin, gives her inaugural lecture (in German).
27 Oct 2014
Historian Tim Grady presents his research on the commemoration of German-Jewish soldiers from the First World War.
3 Sep 2014
Modernized, then Tolerated?
Micha Brumlik, Petra Bahr, Kadir Sanci, and Thomas Bauer about religion and navigating between tradition and adaptation, in German
10 Oct 2013
1933: Denial, Opposition, and Protest
Wolf Gruner about his research into German Jews’ responses to Nazi persecution, in German
8 Aug 2013
Peter Schäfer: The Origins of Jewish Mysticism
Panel discussion between the author Peter Schäfer, Christoph Markschies, and Micha Brumlik about Schäfer’s book on the history of early Jewish mysticism, in German
25 Jun 2012
The History of Jews and Dönme in Turkey
The Turkish studies scholar Corry Guttstadt and the historian Marc Baer discuss the history of Jews and Dönme (converts) in Turkey, in German
31 Jan 2011
Perrine Simon-Nahum: Jews in France Today
Talk by Perrine Simon-Nahum about her book on the circumstances of Jews in France, both past and present.
29 Nov 2010
W. Michael Blumenthal: Around the World in Eighty Years. My Life
W. Michael Blumenthal, Founding Director of the Jewish Museum Berlin, presents his memoir, in German
30 Sept 2010
Jewish Youth Movement in Germany
Talk by Ulrike Pilarczyk and panel discussion with Micha Brumlik, Hans Jakob Ginsburg, Stefanie Schüler-Springorum, and Moshe Zuckermann about the history of the Zionist youth movement in Germany, in German
22 May 2010
Dialogues on Jewish Present: On the Question of Redemption – Messianism and the End of Days
with Moshe Idel, Elliot R. Wolfson, and Micha Brumlik about the Messianic promise of redemption and its relevance in the twenty-first century, in English
10 Dec 2009
Walther Rathenau’s Life: Text and Context
Talk by Shulamit Volkov about the life of the writer, politician, and industrialist Walther Rathenau, in German
15 Oct 2009
Migrants Moving History
Saskia Sassen about immigration, diversity, and future prospects for dealing with history and citizenship in multiethnic societies.
25 Oct 2008
Self Displaced Person. Peter Szondi’s Problematic Judaism
Talk by Andreas Isenschchmid about the life and work of the literary scholar Peter Szondi, in German
3 Dec 2007
Painted in words. The portrait of a lost time
Reading and conversation with the artist Samuel Bak about his family’s story and his survival as a child in German-occupied Vilnius, in German
10 Oct 2007
A synagogue curtain at the Brandenburg Cathedral Chapter
Talk by Vera Bendt about a synagogue curtain that was discovered at the Brandenburg Cathedral Chapter, where it had been listed in records as an altar curtain, in German
23 Nov 2006
Exile in Shanghai
Conversation between W. Michael Blumenthal and Horst Eisfelder about the time they both spent in Shanghai, where 18,000 Jews from Germany had taken refuge, in German
14 Nov 2006
The place of psychoanalysis in the history of the Jews
Talk by Eli Zaretsky about the influence of psychoanalysis on Judaism and the place of psychoanalysis in Jewish history
30 May 2005
Breaking Ground: Adventures in Life and Architecture
In conversation with Susanne Weingarten, Daniel Libeskind presents his autobiography, in English
25 Jan 2005
The Fragile Foundation: The Quest for German-Jewish “Normalcy”
Salomon Korn reads essays from his book about Jewish life in Germany, Jewish culture and remembrance, architecture, and politics, in German
30 Sep 2003
Times of Commemoration: On Jewish Histories and Others
Book presentation by the historian Dan Diner about remembering the twentieth century as an era of violence, forced displacement, and genocide (in German).
24 Jun 2003