In 1955, a group of émigré intellectuals gathered in the Jerusalem home of Martin Buber to found an institution that would write the history of German-speaking Jews. Thanks to their courage and foresight at a time when many Jews wanted to look forward and not back, the cultural and intellectual legacy of German-speaking Jews has been, to a remarkable degree, preserved in the collections of Leo Baeck Institute. The history of German Jews was not only written, but enshrined in a growing repository of books and documents to be discovered and interpreted anew by succeeding generations.
As an editor of the four-volume German-Jewish History in Modern Times, Michael Meyer (Hebrew Union College) is one of the principal authors of the historiographic project tied to the founding of the Institute. In honor of the LBI’s sixtieth anniversary, he offered a wide ranging survey on the history of German-speaking Jews for the 58th Leo Baeck Memorial Lecture. With an introduction by historian Michael Brenner (University of Munich/American University), President of LBI International.