LBI News

Exile in the Spotlight: How Kurt Hirschfeld made Zurich into the World Stage for German Theater

Kurt Hirschfeld

The ensemble of refugee Jews and Marxists that Hirschfeld assembled at the Schauspielhaus Zurich—from the expressionist theater pioneer Gustav Hartung to the distinguished actress and original “Mother Courage” Therese Giehse—kept the best traditions of German theater alive during the Nazi years.

In our Midst. Facets of Jewish Life in Leipzig in the Modern Era

The Leipzig Brühl around 1920. Leipzig Jewish Community Collection, F 9629.
One of Leipzig’s oldest streets, the Brühl was flanked by narrow alleys and
courtyards with houses that traditionally offered lodging for Jewish fur traders
during the Leipzig Messe. In the early 20th century, these were replaced by the
furriers’ grand warehouse and office buildings, which reflected the city’s
significance as a hub for the fur trade. When this photograph was taken, around
10,000 people worked in Leipzig’s fur industry, supplying about a third of all fur
goods worldwide.

This exhibition at the City Library of Leipzig illuminates this history with items from LBI’s own rich collection alongside loans from local institutions including the Ephraim Carlebach Foundation and the City History Museum in Leipzig.

German-Speaking Jews and Zionism: 1862-1941

Undated (likely pre-WWI) postcard from the Jewish National Fund AR 2536. This postcard depicts the certificate awarded for a donation to support the planting of five or more olive trees in Palestine at a cost of 6 marks per tree.

This fall, LBI will present an exhibition entitled German-Speaking Jews and Zionism, 1862 – 1941 at the Washington Hebrew Congregation, a historic reform congregation in the nation’s capital. This exhibition will highlight material from LBI collections on the pre-Zionist era and the early years of the Zionist movement in the 20TH century until 1941.

Woman in Gold Screening Brings Restitution Lawyer Randol Schoenberg to Center for Jewish History

Randol Schoenberg

Attorney Randol Schoenberg was the guest of honor at a special advance screening of Woman in Gold presented by LBI, the American Jewish Historical Society, and the Center for Jewish History on the eve of its official New York premiere.

Leo Baeck Medal for Ismar Schorsch

Professor Ismar Schorsch (l) with Robert Rifkind (r) and Dr. Ronald B. Sobel at the Center for Jewish History on March 1, 2015

On March 1, 2015, as LBI opened a symposium and exhibit on the 19TH-century German movement that launched the academic study of Judaism, it honored a scholar who exemplifies the movement’s ideals in the 21ST century

Arnon Goldfinger, Director of The Flat

"When Israel was founded, there was the sense that it was necessary to build a new country with new people by cutting off the Diaspora roots. Now people feel that they missed something. Not just among the Ashkenazim, but among the Sephardim as well."  —Arnon Goldfinger

Arnon Goldfinger’s 2011 documentary The Flat explores the mystery of his German-Jewish grandparents’ curious friendship with a Nazi official, Leopold von Mildenstein, which he learns survived even in the shadow of the Holocaust. After a screening of the film at the Center for Jewish History on April 14, 2015, we asked him about archives, loss, and memory.

Stolen Heart: Exhibit on Expropriation in Heart of Berlin coming to LBI

An aerial photograph of Berlin in 1925 highlighting Jewish-owned properties.

The Leo Baeck Institute plans to mount an exhibit entitled Stolen Heart based on the exhibition Stolen Mitte: The “Aryanization” of Jewish Property in Berlin’s Historic City Center, 1933 – 1945 which was originally installed at the Stadtmuseum in Berlin in September 2013

Sara Levy’s World: Music, Gender, and Judaism in Enlightenment Berlin

Clockwise from top left: Musicians perform a work by J.S. Bach that was preserved in the archive of Sara Levy; an engraving by Anton Graff , probably of Sara Levy; Rebecca Cypess at the harpsichord; (l-r) Cypess, Christoph Wolff , and Nancy Sinkoff Photos by Philip Maier.

The Forchheimer Auditorium at the Center for Jewish History (CJH) took on the atmosphere of an artistic salon in Enlightenment-era Berlin on May 19 as a group of performers and scholars explored the life, times, and music of Sara Levy, one of the most influential hostesses of her day.

Preservation in the LBI Library

Threads in a sewn binding

Lauren Paustian Caring for a library of over 80,000 physical volumes is a hands-on job, according to Lauren Paustian, an associate librarian who handles many of the LBI Library’s preservation efforts. During “National Preservation Week” (April 26 – March 3, 2015), Paustian offered visitors to the Center for Jewish History (CJH) an overview of what…

LBI Materials Now Searchable in More Global Databases

Catalog aggregators that now link to LBI records

Leo Baeck Institute has made strides toward integrating its holdings into major global library catalogs, which means more one-stop-shopping for researchers interested in Jewish history.