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Shared History Project

The Leo Baeck Institute – New York | Berlin (LBI) is initiating our new project, Shared History: 1700 Years of Jewish Life in German-speaking Lands through 52 Objects.

The Shared History project tells the story of Jews in Central Europe throughout history using 52 objects, beginning with an edict from Constantine the Great in 321 C.E. that granted the Jews of Cologne the right to hold public office and concluding with a contemporary artifact in 2021. Each object will illustrate how German-Jewish history is deeply interwoven with the peoples, regions, and countries throughout Central Europe. To learn more about the Shared History project, please see here.

LBI invites you to nominate objects for the Shared History project. Because the goal is to create a virtual exhibit, nominations are not limited to physical artifacts. In addition, we will also consider metaphorical motifs, fictional concepts, mythologies, architectural landmarks, and imagery as eligible. Each nominated object should serve as commentary on historical events and their contemporary relevance to larger themes, including migration, inclusion, acculturation, exclusion, persecution, success, and resilience.

The proposed objects will be evaluated by a Selection Committee in early 2020 based on how they:

  • tell a compelling specific story or phenomenon about German-speaking Jewish history;
  • illustrate important aspects of Jewish culture and religious practice throughout this time period;
  • add understanding to the broad message that Jews have been living in German-speaking lands for centuries;
  • add to an understanding of one or more of the larger themes of the historical narrative (e.g., migration, inclusion, exclusion, acculturation, persecution, success, and resilience);
  • document the interaction and on-going cultural, scientific and economic exchange between majority Christian, Jewish, and other populations;
  • collectively represent a broad geographical area to be defined as territories that include European lands where German once was or still is the predominant language or an important language for a significant population; and,
  • offer interesting opportunities for display in a virtual exhibition and in print.

The 52 objects and their stories will be researched in depth and posted in chronological order (one object each week starting in January 2021) on a Shared History website, both in German and English. As the attached project description explains, the examples from the website will serve as a basis for additional activities – a conference, a traveling exhibition (using replicas), public events, pedagogical applications, and a publication.

Nominations (in German or English) can be submitted here. The deadline for submission is Tuesday, December 31, 2019. For additional information or if you know of others who might want to submit nominations please contact us at

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The Leo Baeck Institute

Shared History Project Call for Nominations

The Shared History Project will illuminate the long and rich history of Jews in German-speaking lands over the last 17 centuries. Since the lives of Jews in these countries were deeply interwoven with local culture, customs, and people, it is a “shared history” in its truest sense.

Each week in 2021 one new object will be displayed on the Shared History website. The objects will represent different eras ranging from the first document citing the presence of Jews in the area of modern-day Germany in 321 CE and the entire range of Central European regions in which German was ever a prominent language.

You can read more about the project and the selection criteria at

Shared History seeks nominations for 52 unique objects that illustrate Jewish history in German-speaking lands over the past 1700 years. We will consider not only museum artifacts, but also iconic buildings or locations , metaphorical motifs, fictional concepts, mythologies, and imagery.

Please submit your nominations no later than December 31, 2019We accept nominations in English or German. 

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Basic Information

Object Information

(e.g., migration, inclusion, exclusion, persecution, success, resilience, etc...)

(e.g., name of town, city, region, state, etc...)

(e.g., Middle Ages, Renaissance, Reformation, Enlightenment, more than one historical period, etc...)

Institution Information
Please provide the contact information for the institution that owns the object.

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