Jewish and Christian Intellectuals in Berlin c. 1800: Friendships, Collaborations, Animosities

International conference and moderated choral concert

When considering the Jewish emancipation of the 18th century from a communication perspective, you encounter a variety of individual and culture-symbiotic connections between Berlin Jews and Christians. The friendship between Gotthold Ephraim Lessing and Moses Mendelssohn is legendary. Other notable examples are less well known, some as yet unexplored. The conference will focus on the connection between Salomon Maimon and Karl Philipp Moritz, Julius Eduard Hitzig and Adelbert von Chamisso, the role of Wilhelm von Humboldt at the salon of Henriette Herz, and the presence of Jews in Friedrich Zelter’s "Sing-Akademie" and other connections.

Convenors: Conrad Wiedemann (TU Berlin) und Avi Lifschitz (University College London) in conjunction with the Jewish Museum Berlin.

Past event

Old Building, level 2, Great Hall

Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin


6 April 2016

17:30 Greetings: Peter Schäfer, Director of the Jewish Museum Berlin

17:45-19:00 Conrad Wiedemann (TU Berlin): Berlin c. 1800: Encounters between Jews and Christians in the context of emancipation

19:00-20:00 Reception

7 April 2016

9:30 Dominique Bourel (CNRS, Paris): Gotthold Ephraim Lessing and Moses Mendelssohn: heretical friendship or iconic lie?

10:30 Avi Lifschitz (University College London): Moses Mendelssohn and Thomas Abbt: The Staging of a Public Correspondence

11:30 Refreshments

12:00 Uta Lohmann (Universität Hamburg): David Friedländer’s social interaction with scholars, artists, and politicians in Berlin

13:00 Lunch break

14:00 Lothar Müller (Süddeutsche Zeitung): Periodical Enlightenment: Salomon Maimon, Karl Philipp Moritz and the "Magazin zur Erfahrungsseelenkunde"

15:00 Iwan Michelangelo D’Aprile (Universität Potsdam): Cultural symbiosis and social reform: Saul Ascher’s political journalism

16:00 Refreshments

16:30 Cord Berghahn (TU Braunschweig): Wilhelm von Humboldt between Henriette Herz, Stieglitz and Koreff

17:30 Christian Filips (Berlin): The birth of the Sing-Akademie from the spirit of Jewish salonières

18:30 Refreshment break

20:00 "Siehe, der Hüter Israels": a moderated choral concert by the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin (pieces by Fasch, Lewandowski, Mendelssohn and others). Presentation and piano: Kai-Uwe Jirka

8 April 2016

9:30 Christoph Schulte (Universität Potsdam): Male friendship, eros, marriage: a paradigmatic gender shift in Jewish-Christian relationships

10:30 Deborah Hertz (UC San Diego): Befriending a public antisemite: Rahel Levin Varnhagen and Clemens Brentano

11:30 Refreshments

12:00 Hannah Lotte Lund (Zentrum Jüdische Studien Berlin-Brandenburg): "I cannot be happy without a spirited female friend" – Gustav von Brinckmann, Friedrich Schleiermacher and some Berliner salonières

13:00 Lunch break

14:00 Gesa Dane (FU Berlin): Caroline Schelling and Dorothea Schlegel – fictions and facts

15:00 Anna Busch (Universität Hamburg): Jewish-Christian symbioses: J. E. Hitzig as a mentor of Adelbert von Chamisso, E. T. A. Hoffmann, and Friedrich de la Motte-Fouqué

16:00 Refreshments

16:30 Adam Sutcliffe (King’s College London): Sociability, politics and Jewish-Christian interaction in Berlin: from Lazarus Bendavid to Eduard Gans

17:30 Concluding discussion

Historical Drawing of three men sitting at a table discussing with eachother

Moritz Daniel Oppenheim: Lavater and Lessing with Moses Mendelssohn, Paris, approx. 1857-1889 (lithography); Jewish Museum Berlin


Old Building, level 2, Great Hall

Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin

Where, when, what?

  • When

    6-8 April 2016

  • Where
    Old Building, level 2, Great Hall

Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin

  • Entry fee