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Shared History

Conference on 1,700 Years of Jewish Life in German-speaking Lands (video recordings available, in German)

In 2021, Germany will celebrate 1,700 years of Jewish life in German-speaking lands, and the Leo Baeck Institute – New York | Berlin (LBI) is marking the occasion by launching its “Shared History Project.” As the name suggests, the lives of Jews have always been tightly interwoven with the history of the regions and countries where they lived. But to what extent can we truly speak of shared experiences during the past 17 centuries in Central Europe? What forms have the social, economic, and scientific exchange between the Jewish minority and Christian majority taken?

recordings available



The international conference by the LBI in cooperation with the German Federal Agency for Civic Education (BpB) will investigate these questions in several interdisciplinary panels. The conference will foreground the diversity and multiplicity of voices within and among the Jewish communities in German-speaking lands over the centuries. It will also tackle the dominant themes of Jewish life and explore their enduring relevance to the present-life as a minority; social inclusion and exclusion; persecution, flight, and exile; acculturation; and questions of group and individual identity and place in society.

Shared History Project

More on lbi.org


Mon 7 Dec 2020

4.30 pm

Images and objects from a shared history in the collections of the Jewish Museum Berlin

Chair: Aubrey Pomerance


Inka Bertz: J.F.A. Darbes‘ Gemälde der Büste Moses Mendelssohns: Bilderverbot, Antikenrezeption und Mediengeschichte

Theresa Ziehe: Fotografieren trotz Lebensgefahr: Werner Fritz Fürstenbergs Aufnahmen antisemitischer Schilder in Nazi-Deutschland

Dr. Tamar Lewinsky: Migrationsgeschichten sammeln – die Objekttage des JMB

6 pm

Key note discussion: Jewish Life today – A multitude of voices 

Moderated by Dr. Josef Joffe (Die Zeit), speaking with Hetty Berg (Jewish Museum Berlin) and Max Czollek

Tue 8 Dec 2020

1.30 pm

The search for belonging: The ongoing struggles for minority identity

Chair: Hannah Dannel (Zentralrat der Juden)


Dr. Dani Kranz (Ben Gurion University of the Negev): Sharing is caring: Meet Cologne Jewry 2.0

Sabine Bergler (Jüdisches Museum Wien): „Erde aus Österreich”: Das verklärte Habsburgerreich als Teil der österreichischen Identität

Jo Frank (Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Studienwerk): Dynamics of Jewish identities in Germany today

3 pm

Migration: From Refugees to Citizens

Chair: Prof. Dr. David Sorkin (Yale University)


Prof. Dr. Tobias Brinkmann (Penn State University): Fathers and Sons: Writing the History of the Morgenthau Family

J.J. Kimche (Harvard University): Migration as a National Desideratum: The Peregrinatory Strain Within German Jewish Thought

Dr. Vera Kallenberg (University of Erfurt): Almost equally unequal? The “Shared history” of Jews and Gentiles in the Frankfurt Criminal Justice System around 1800

4.30 pm

A rupture in History: Talking about the Holocaust

Chair: Prof. Dr. Deborah Dwork (Graduate Center—CUNY)


Prof. Dr. Uzi Rebhun (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem): Holocaust, Memory, Migration: The Burden of Catastrophe Among Israelis in Germany

Dr. Anna Koch (University of Leeds): „I am a German; this is my language, my culture:” Reclaiming Germanness after the Holocaust

Dr. Melanie Carina Schmoll (Bar Ilan University Israel): Holocaust Education at Jewish Schools – what Israel And Germany might learn from each other

5.30 pm

Virtual Coffee Break: Break out room for discussions

6 pm

Flight: Exile in Modern Times

Chair: Dr. Simone Blaschka (Deutsches Auswandererhaus Bremerhaven)


Dr. Emilie Kutash: Hans Jonas Trauma, Exile and German Philsophy

Malte Spitz (Selma Stern Zentrum): Hermann Grabs Pianoforte aus der Werkstatt J. A. Stein

Dr. Sheer Ganor (UMN, Twin Cities): 'Hilde Scott Diskutiert:' Advice for the Displaced Family

Wed 9 Dec 2020

2.30 pm

Memory and commemoration: Historical narratives of minorities within discourse of the majority society

Chair: Dr. Andreas Eberhardt (Alfred Landecker Stiftung)


Dr. Liat Steir-Livny (Sapir College): Shared History: The Hybrid Identity of Jewish immigrants from Germany to Eretz-Israel in the 1930s in the Israeli Documentary The Flat
Aya Zarfati (Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz): Talking about the Holocaust in the post-witnesses era: the Relation Between archival sources and family memories

Adam Kerpel-Fronius (Stiftung Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas): Die aktuelle Wissensvermittlung und Desiderate in der Mehrheitsgesellschaft

4 pm

Withstanding the pressure: Resilience and self-assertion in times of discrimination

Chair: Prof. Dr. Miriam Rürup (Institut für die Geschichte der deutschen Juden)


Dr. Christopher Brennan (London School of Economics and Political Science) and Alma Hannig (Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms- Universität Bonn): Jews in governmental politics and diplomacy in Germany and Austria-Hungary

Anna Knoblauch (SCHUM-Städte): Architektur als Spiegelbild gesellschaftlicher Resilienz: Die Synagoge in Worms zwischen dem 12. Jahrhundert und der Shoah

Dr. Nathaniel Weston (Seattle Central College): Sharing Vienna in Hugo Bettauer’s The City without Jews (1922)

5.30 pm

Shared spheres and cultural exchange – Acceptance as challenge and opportunity

Chair: Dr. Aya Elyada (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)


Renate Evers (Leo Baeck Institute New York I Berlin): The 1484 Nuremberg Jewry Oath (More Judaico)

Dr. Susanne Korbel (University of Graz): Private Spaces as Spheres of Jewish and non Jewish Relations: Encounters Between Jews and Non-Jews in Viennese Homes

Dr. Daniel Baránek (Czech Academy of Sciences): Crossing the Ghetto Borders: Integration of Jews in Loschitz and Mährisch Weisskirchen, 1848–1921

6.30 pm

Virtual Coffee Break: Break out room for discussion

7 pm

Final Discussion: “Shared” History? Reflections on a complex  interplay

Moderated by Shelly Kupferberg, talking to Prof. Dr. Raphael Gross (Deutsches Historisches Museum) and Ambassador Michaela Küchler (Auswärtiges Amt)

Hand turns over a page of an open thick, old book

Copyright: Leo Baeck Institute New York | Berlin

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Video Recordings: Watch Past Museum Events (70)

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