LBI News

LBI News is the official newsletter of Leo Baeck Institute. It appears in print and online three times annually in Fall, Winter, and Spring. Click the image to download a PDF copy (6MB).

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Milestone in the Reconstruction of the Freimann Collection

The Library of the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt added the 10,000th title to the Freimann Collection of books related to the Wissenschaft des Judentums. The LBI Library and the Center for Jewish History (CJH) have been working for years to help Frankfurt virtually reconstruct a foundational collection for Jewish studies that was once thought lost forever.

Promoting the Braunschweig Region as Cradle of Modern Jewish Studies

The banker Israel Jacobson (1768–1828) founded a school that became the first in Germany to educate both Jewish and Christian pupils. It was one of the first educational institutions to emerge from the Haskalah, or Jewish Enlightenment, and Israel Jacobson became a leader in the Jewish Reform movement. The Israel Jacobson Network, founded in April 2016 by representatives of 30 academic, cultural, business, and political institutions, promotes public awareness of the unique achievements of the remarkable citizens of the region. The founders of the network made it their goal to promote interest in Jewish history and culture through the creative use of historic sites.

“German and Jewish”— A traveling Exhibition by Leo Baeck Institute in Germany

In recent years, the Leo Baeck Institute (LBI) has increasingly worked to support the engagement of modern German society with German Jewish history—especially from the perspective of the émigré community that built the LBI’s rich collections. The new traveling exhibit, “German and Jewish” takes this a step further. The objects in the exhibition are returning for the first time to the land that their owners left the better part of a century ago.

Conferences in Germany 2016: “1938: Forced Migration and Flight” and “Jews in the GDR”

LBI co-sponsored two conferences in Germany in fall 2016: The conferences in Leipzig and Berlin took a fresh look at two chapters of German Jewish history—forced migration, specifically in the year of 1938, and Jewish life in the GDR.

Survey of Romanian Archives Shifts Focus to Jewish Community Records

A survey of archival material related to the Jewish history of Transylvania and Bukovina will begin a new chapter based on important discoveries by project director Julie Dawson, who found rich unprocessed information in Jewish community archives.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Listening to Records—The Jacob Jacobson Collection in Research

Jordan Katz, a fellow at the Center for Jewish History and a member of the Leo Baeck Fellowship Programme in 2016–2017, has been making use of the Jacob Jacobson Collection at the LBI for her doctoral research. The fourth-year Ph.D. student in Early Modern Jewish history at Columbia University explores the role of Jewish “wise women” and midwives in communities in the early modern Ashkenazic world.

Research, Exploitation, and Survival: The Story of Jacob Jacobson, a Jewish Archivist in Nazi Germany

One of the largest and most-used collections in the LBI archives is named for a little known historian and archivist who, like Leo Baeck, survive Theresienstadt. The Jacob Jacobson Collection spans 16 feet of archival boxes plus oversized materials, encompassing birth, death, marriage, and circumcision registers dating back as far as 1671. How could this enormous body of materials survive the Nazi period?