LBI News No. 104 | Fall 2017

Walter Langhammer and the Illumination of India

Walter Langhammer, born in 1905 in the Austrian city of Graz, is considered one of the founding fathers of the most famous of India’s schools of modern oil painting, the “Bombay Progressives.” The LBI preserves three of his joy- and colorful paintings, both in its New York based archives as well as online. In this article, we honor Langhammer’s creative and dedicated path of life, all the way to India and back.

A New Provenance Research Handbook for Jewish Ceremonial Objects

The idea for a new handbook on provenance research emerged during preparations for the Terezin Declaration at the Holocaust-Era-Assets Conference in Prague in 2009. After overcoming the financial and organizational hurdles that come with such an endeavor, Julie-Marthe Cohen presents a work that includes detailed guides to the main archival sources for provenance research on looted goods as well as a historical overview of looting and dispersion and an illustrated introduction to Jewish ceremonial objects in general.

Commemorating 80 Years Since 1938, One Day at a Time

1938 was a watershed year for German-speaking Jews as they were forced to realize that they had no future in Germany. In 2018, the Leo Baeck Institute will post online a document from each day of the year. Join us for an unusual journey, 80 years back in time, to remember—or to learn—how the events unfolded.

Knowledge in Flight: A Conversation with Henry Kaufman on Scholar Rescue

The LBI archives are full of references to scholars who escaped the Nazi threat with the aid of foreign benefactors. The political philosopher Hannah Arendt, the sociologist Werner Cahnman, and the writers Franz Werfel, Hans Sahl, and Lion Feuchtwanger are among the hundreds saved by the American journalist Varian Fry working in Marseille. The list of over 330 scholars placed by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in an effort helmed by Edward R. Murrow resembles a list of LBI archival collections. Illustrator Hugo Steiner-Prag landed at NYU, a position was found in Berkeley for historian Ernst Kantorowicz, and the art historian Hermann Gundersheimer took a position at Temple University. Today, another generation of benefactors is continuing this work through some of the same institutions.

A Visit to the German Literature Archive in Marbach

This June, Renate Evers, Director of Collections, visited the German Literature Archive. (Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach – DLA). In Marbach, she gave a talk about traces of emigrant libraries in the collections of the LBI and spent a week learning about the activities and holdings of the leading repository of sources related to German-language literature. In this article, Evers shares about the many parallels she and her colleagues at the DLA discovered between their institutions as well as rich opportunities for future collaboration…

Making the Edythe Griffinger Art Catalog – Interview with Chris Bentley, Systems Archivist

In March 2017, LBI celebrated the launch of the Edythe Griffinger Art Catalog, a new way to search LBI’s unique art and objects catalog online. LBI News spoke to two staff members who played a key role in developing this unique resource. Here is the interview with Chris.

Making the Edythe Griffinger Art Catalog – Interview with Kerry Elkins, Project Manager

In March 2017, LBI celebrated the launch of the Edythe Griffinger Art Catalog, a new way to search LBI’s unique art and objects catalog online. LBI News spoke to two staff members who played a key role in developing this unique resource. Here is the interview with Kerry.

Working To Get Memory, and the Past, Right

David N. Myers is professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he holds the Sady & Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History. He was recently named President & CEO of the Center for Jewish History in New York. As he wrote in this essay originally published in the Jewish Week, his personal connection to Germany and its past is one of deep ambivalence.

Roger Cohen on German-Jewish History in the 21st Century

Roger Cohen’s journalistic career has included stints covering Beirut in the 1980s, the Bosnian war in the 1990s, the return of the German government to Berlin in 2000, and the War in Afghanistan as the New York Times’ foreign editor after September 11, 2001. In the biweekly columns he has written for the Times since 2009, he often tackles the issues of the day with historical context and analogies. In advance of the 60th Leo Baeck Memorial Lecture, which Cohen will deliver this October, we asked him about the relevance of German-Jewish history to the Syrian refugee crisis and other pressing contemporary issues.

Preserving Yesterday’s News with the CJH and Frankfurt University Library

The LBI is working toward the digitization of 60 rare periodicals encompassing 70,000 pages in 2017 after having already digitized 130 periodical titles in 2016. Many of the newspapers preserved in the collections of the LBI are more than a century old, and few other media in the library world show the ravages of time like newspapers, which were practically designed to be disposable. That makes digitizing them as tricky as it is urgent.