Gerald Westheimer: A Vision for Scholarship on German-Jewish History

Gerald Westheimer on his first day of school in Berlin at the age of six and at his home in Berkeley, California in 2015.

Gerald Westheimer, born 1924 in Berlin, established the Gerald Westheimer Career Development Fellowship in 2008 to support scholarship on the history and culture of German-speaking Jews by offering financial support to recent PhDs early in their faculty careers.

Michael Brenner Recognized as “Guardian of Jewish History”

Michael Brenner (l) with German Federal Justice Minister Heiko Maas. Photo, Emily Andresini.

On November 19, 2015 at the Center for Jewish History, German Justice Minister Heiko Maas presented LBI International President Michael Brenner with the Federal Order of Merit, (Verdienstkreuz am Bande) praising the historian as a guardian of Jewish history and an important supporter of Jewish life in Germany and worldwide.

Understanding through Cooperation: Germany Honors Carol Kahn Strauss

Carol Kahn Strauss (c) with her husband, Peter Strauss, and German Consul General Brita Wagener. Photo, Celia Rogge.

On January 20, 2015, LBI International Director Carol Kahn Strauss was presented the Commander´s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany by Consul General Brita Wagener. The decoration was awarded in appreciation of her outstanding accomplishments and commitment to German-American-Jewish relations for more than two decades.

Leo Baeck Medal for Josef Joffe

Josef Joffe (r) with Henry Kissinger. Photo by Christina Domingues.

The German journalist accepted the honor at LBI’s Annual Award Dinner at the Center for Jewish History on December 3, 2014 and delivered the 57th Leo Baeck Memorial Lecture, in which he weighed the possibility that a new golden age of German-Jewry might arise again.

New Gift to Support Pilot Projects in Transcription and Photograph Digitization

This handwritten diary from the 18TH century is typical of documents that could be transcribed under a new program. Photo, Jon Pack.

LBI will launch pilot projects aimed at improving access to and discovery of two classes of materials in LBI archives that are rich in information but too often hidden from researchers: handwritten manuscripts and photographs.

Family Matters: In Chicago, Generations Gather for Intimate Look at Family Histories Preserved in LBI Archives

Marianne Dreyfus, the granddaughter of Leo Baeck, discusses her family’s history during an LBI event October, 2014 in Chicago

LBI convened genealogists, friends, and family of two Chicagoans with German-Jewish roots for a discussion that connected individual and family narratives to the historical context of Jewish life in Germany before 1933, during the Holocaust, and today.

Germany’s Top Justice Official Tackles His Ministry’s Past at LBI

Rebecca Wittmann (University of Toronto) and Christoph Safferling (University
of Marburg) discuss the role of former Nazis in Germany’s post-war Justice
Ministry at the Center for Jewish History on November 14, 2014.

In the Center for Jewish History’s packed Forchheimer Auditorium, German Federal Justice Minister Heiko Maas addressed the crowd and spoke about the high numbers of Nazi Party members and sympathizers that were employed in the post-1949 Ministry of Justice in Germany, which was tasked with interpreting and enforcing the law.

Wissenschaft des Judentums: Jewish Studies and the Shaping of Jewish Identity

Moritz Steinschneider writing at his desk

This exhibit shows that the early academic study of Judaism was directly motivated by the desire for the civil rights still denied Jews in Europe in the 19th century. Moreover, the “Wissenschaft des Judentums” would become the forum in which most of the competing visions for how Jews should exist within the larger society and how they should practice Judaism were articulated and advanced.

LBI News No. 96 — Fall 2014

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In this issue, LBI announces the digitization of nearly 100 rare periodicals, Josef Joffe considers the “Golden Age of German Jewry.” Plus, a selection of highlights from LBI Collections related to WWI.

WWI Art—Hermann Struck’s portraits of Muslim POWs

Raupratta Chan, Punjabi, 1916, Etching by Hermann Struck.

As empires clung to their supremacy and nationalist movements advanced an opposing vision of the link between ethnicity and state, troop movements and migrations brought people from across the globe into contact with one another. Artists like Hermann Struck, a Zionist and orthodox Jew from Berlin, turned an ethnographic lens on various groups of “exotic”…