- Current Projects
- Socialist Utopia and Jewish Belonging: Another History of the GDR
- Weimar's Republicans: German Jews in Democratic and Pacifist Organizations of the Interwar Period (1918 -1933)
- Max Brod's Late Years (1939-1968): Departure into Exile
- Settling with RASSCO: Transfer Paths of the German Aliyah to Palestine-Eretz Israel (1933-1948)
- United in Diversity – An Interdisciplinary Study of Contemporary European Jewry and its Reflection
- The Radical Right in Germany, 1945-2000
- Struggling with Justice: Antisemitism as a Judicial Challenge
- Pilot Project "Jewish Life in Potsdam"
- Jewish History online
- Hakhshara as a Place of Remembrance
- National Socialist Book Burnings 1933
- ArchivedMemory online
- Emil Julius Gumbel Research Department
- Previous Projects
Researchers: Lutz Fiedler, Miriam Rürup
For a variety of reasons, the history of Jews in the GDR has attracted a great deal of interest in recent years. The fact that the socialist polity is at least politically a closed chapter in German history may be favorable to such an inquiry. More important, however, are the historical experiences of Jews themselves, which provide a new and, in many respects, complex view of the German state. Based on the MMZ's collection of numerous interviews with Jews from the GDR, a research project will reconstruct their experiences, perspectives and self-perceptions and thus gain a new perspective on the GDR.Read on…
Weimar's Republicans: German Jews in Democratic and Pacifist Organizations of the Interwar Period (1918 -1933)European-Jewish History
Bearbeiter: Lutz Fiedler
„Der Saal ist gut gefüllt, allerdings nur ein Prozent des deutschen Volkes vertreten – das jüdische“, notierte der Journalist Ernst Feder anlässlich einer Veranstaltung der Deutschen Liga für Menschenrechte in den letzten Jahren der Weimarer Republik. Mochte der 1914 als „Bund Neues Vaterland“ gegründete Zusammenschluss auch keine jüdische Organisation sein, so war die Deutsche Liga für Menschenrechte dennoch eine Vereinigung, die mit ihrem pazifistischen, demokratischen und universalistischen Selbstverständnis ein Anlaufpunkt von einer Vielzahl deutscher Jüdinnen und Juden wurde: Albert Einstein, Stefan Zweig, Kurt Tucholsky und Berthold Jacob, aber auch Ernst Julius Gumbel und Ernst Feder. Zusammen mit der Geschichte des parallel aktiven Republikanischen Richterbundes mit dem manche Personalunion bestand, soll die Rekonstruktion des Wirkens der Deutschen Liga für Menschenrechte als ein neuer Zugang zur Geschichte der Weimarer Republik und dem gemeinsamen Engagement deutscher Juden und Nichtjuden um ihren demokratischen Charakter.Read on…
Researcher: Anna-Dorothea Ludewig
Supported by travel funds of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation
The life and work of Max Brod (1884-1968) marks various cornerstones of European-Jewish cultural history in the 20th century: On top of his contributions to literature and music – areas he was extremely successfully in as an author, critic, and mentor – he became known as a composer, politician (Zionist), and dramaturge. Brod spent more than five decades in his birthcity Prague, closely associated with German-speaking Habsburg culture, which was celebrated in a special way in the city on the river Vltava. Brod was a convinced pacifist and as such opposed to the First World War, fearing rightfully that it would bring the end of the multi-ethnic country. In the founding years of Czechoslovakia he also recognized that the Zionist understanding of Jewish emancipation could serve as a unique way towards recognition as a Jewish nation of itself. After the democratic system established by Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk was destroyed by the Nazis in 1938/39, Brod was forced to leave his hometown and fled to Palestine/Israel. There he worked in Tel Aviv from 1939 to 1968 as a freelance author and dramaturge at the Habimah Theater and exerted great influence on the constitution of a newly emerging Israeli national culture. He also devoted himself to the work of his friend Franz Kafka and developed a marketing strategy that continues to have an impact today on the reception of Kafkas work. These last almost three decades of his life and work have hardly been researched so far, a gap that this biographical project aims to fill.Read on…
Researchers Dr. Ines Sonder, Dr. Ing. Joachim Trezib
Duration: DFG-Grant (2016–2021), ongoing publication phase
The Rural and Suburban Settlement Company (RASSCO) had been founded by the Jewish Agency in 1934 with the aim of settling Jewish emigrants from Germany in Mandatory Palestine in so-called middle-class settlements: former academics, lawyers and merchants were thus "resettled" here as farmers. During this period, RASSCO acted within the framework of the Haavara Transfer (1933), an agreement between the Jewish Agency, the Zionist Association for Germany, and the Reich Ministry of Economics that has received criticism from various sides.
The first part of the study focuses on the institutional history of RASSCO in the context of the Haavara Transfer, as well as its efforts as the first construction company to develop a settlement model for middle-class immigrants from Germany, which was a novelty in Zionist settlement practice in Palestine at the time, as this was where immigrants invested their private capital.
In the second part, the first four RASSCO agricultural middle-class settlements Kfar Shmaryahu (1936), Sde Warburg (1938), Shavei Zion (1938) and Beth Yizchak (1939), as well as the garden suburb Kiryat Bialik B in Haifa Bay (1936) are presented.Read on…
Research: Olaf Glöckner, in cooperation with the Centre for the Study of the Holocaust and Jewish Literature (Charles University Prague), the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry (Tel Aviv University) and the Comenius University Bratislava (Institute for History).
Funding: EU-Programm Erasmus Plus
This interdisciplinary, international study examines at the interface of contemporary history and the present how the relationships between Jews and non-Jews are being redesigned in various countries in Central and East Central Europe, especially in metropolitan areas. The changing history of Christian-Jewish relationships is examined, as is the processing of the Second World War and the Shoah in art and literature. The empirical part, which is methodologically based on the evaluation of narrative and problem-focused interviews among Jews and non-Jews in five different countries (Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Germany), focuses on intercultural perceptions, Jewish participation in social modernization processes, Israel-Diaspora bindings and collective identity courses within and outside of religious communities.Read on…
Project Leaders: Prof. Dr. Frank Bösch (ZZF Potsdam), Prof. Dr. Gideon Botsch (MMZ Potsdam)
Funding: Volkswagen Foundation; with additional support by the Hans Böckler Foundation for three doctoral students.
The research project is dedicated to the history of the radical right in both parts of Germany in the second half of the 20th century. The aim is to analyze their development comprehensively and with archival support, also on the basis of sources that have not yet been made accessible, in a contextualized manner from a contemporary historical perspective.
The focus is on the overarching question of the social practices through which the generational transformation of the radical right in Germany took place - from the actors socialized under National Socialism to the cohorts that grew up under democracy and the SED dictatorship and that have set the tone since the 1970s.
This change will be investigated in various subprojects with socio-historical approaches and actor-oriented perspectives. The focus will be on ideological and organizational formations, cultural and lifeworld practices, and, not least, forms of violence of the radical right and its relations to state and society.Read on…
Sub-project: Qualitative Analysis of Jewish Communities' Handling of Criminal Antisemitic Incidents and their Perception and Handling by the Judiciary
Researchers: Dr. Olaf Glöckner, Dr. Anja Schmidt-Kleinert
Funding: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung. In cooperation with the University of Giessen, the University of Heidelberg, Humboldt University of Berlin and the Research and Information Center on Antisemitism (Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft RIAS).
The judicial practice with regard to antisemitic incidents in Germany has hardly been scientifically examined to date. The project aims to close gaps in scientific knowledge by systematically taking stock of how the judiciary deals with antisemitism, combined with the question of the (legal) terms of antisemitism. The judicial practice is being monitored from a transdisciplinary and in particular a sociological perspective. The often neglected perspective of those individuals being involved also plays a central role. How do affected Jews experience the judicial handling of incidents they experience as antisemitic? As a result of the project, options for action are to be developed, which are prepared in communication processes in an application-oriented manner for legal training and the judiciary.
Researcher: Julia Kleinschmidt
The Moses Mendelssohn Center for European-Jewish Studies is developing a pilot project on "Jewish Life in Potsdam" in cooperation with a Potsdam high school. In a six- to eight-hour project day, the students will learn about Jewish culture and religion as well as their Jewish environment. The local and regional history of Jewish life in Potsdam and Brandenburg will be explored through various sites and topics. The goal is to introduce the students to Jewish topics, which will be deepened and specialized in the coming years. At the same time, the media competence of the students will be promoted. Jewish history is not to be conveyed through the prism of National Socialist persecution, but rather as a German-Jewish history that spans centuries.
The content topics are tested in the classroom together with the high school and adapted to the needs of the students. The educational program developed as part of the pilot project will furtheron be applicable to other Brandenburg schools.Read on…
Researchers: Daniel Burckhardt, Miriam Rürup, Nina Zellerhoff in cooperation with Anna Menny (IGdJ Hamburg)
A portal for European-Jewish history will be created at the Moses Mendelssohn Center in the upcoming years. The goal is to integrate various online projects on Jewish history, which are self-contained and yet remain independent, into a common portal in modular form. Individual projects at the MMZ can become part of the new platform as well as curated content from other online digital edition and database projects on Jewish history. The online edition Key Documents on German-Jewish History realized at the Institute for the History of German Jews will be a central module of the portal. The added value of this modular platform is, among other things, a unified search function, indexing and linking, as well as a sustainable and lasting research data management.Read on…
Bearbeiter:innen: Miriam Rürup, Daniel Burckhardt, Nina Zellerhoff in Kooperation mit dem DFG-Projekt „Nationaljüdische Jugendkultur und zionistische Erziehung in Deutschland und Palästina zwischen den Weltkriegen“ an der TU Braunschweig und der Stiftung Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas in Berlin
Mit einer selbstorganisierten, praktischen Ausbildung auf meist landwirtschaftlichen Gütern, bereiteten sich ab den 1920er-Jahren jüdische Jugendliche und junge Erwachsene auf die Auswanderung nach Palästina vor. Die meist landwirtschaftliche, gärtnerische, handwerkliche oder hauswirtschaftliche Ausbildung war Voraussetzung zur Einwanderung nach Palästina. Um die bislang verstreuten Quellen und Forschungen über die verschiedenen Orte der Hachschara, von denen sich viele im heutigen Brandenburg befanden, und deren Akteur:innen zu bündeln, entsteht eine Online-Datenbank zur Forschung, Vermittlung und Erinnerung der Hachschara. Ziel ist es, die lokale Ebene mit den transnationalen Strukturen dieser Bewegung zu verschränken.Read on…
Researchers: Daniel Burckhardt, Julia Kleinschmidt, Werner Treß, Nina Zellerhoff
Based on the "Library of Burned Books" developped at the Moses Mendelssohn Center for European-Jewish Studies in 2008 and the website http://www.verbrannte-buecher.de/, the digitization project "Book Burnings 1933" is being created on the occasion of the 95th anniversary of the student book burnings. It commemorates the beginning of the systematic persecution of Jewish, Marxist, pacifist and other politically dissenting writers immediately after the transfer of power to the National Socialists.
For the purpose of this project, the existing online content is being comprehensively revised and supplemented by a digital edition of public domain works. The representative selection initially includes 20 books from the original list of 316 titles. These publications will be made available free of charge on the website and freely reusable for download in PDF format. Short introductions briefly explain the content of the work, the historical context, and the reasons for its classification at the time as a "forbidden" or "burned" book. The books will be supplemented by short biographies of the authors.
Researchers: Daniel Burckhardt, Julia Kleinschmidt, Nina Zellerhoff
The original "Archive of Memory: Interviews with Survivors of the Shoah" was created in the 1990s in cooperation with the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies and the memorial site Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz.
The videographed interviews show the life stories of Jews persecuted during the Nazi era as well as the broad spectrum of Nazi persecution and the personal ways in which former victims processed their experiences. This video edition will be partially digitized for online presentation. By linking the transcripts and accompanying materials with linked open data, the integration into the portal "Jewish History online" is ensured. And it will be supplemented by educational material.
The technical and editorial experiences of the project serve at the same time as a prototype for the online presentation of further interview collections of the institute.Read on…