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.

LBI_Spring15News_banner


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

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.

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

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.

New Gift to Support Pilot Projects in Transcription and Photograph Digitization

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.

Leo Baeck Medal for Josef Joffe

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.

Understanding through Cooperation: Germany Honors Carol Kahn Strauss

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.

Michael Brenner Recognized as “Guardian of Jewish History”

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.

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

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.

Collections
Pioneers of Jewish Studies

The definitive collection of Wissenschaft scholarship was created by curator Aron Freimann at the Frankfurt City Library between 1898 and 1932. Large portions of the collection were lost in WWII, but today LBI is working with the Frankfurt University Library to recreate Freimann’s collection online. The following profiles of key Wissenschaft scholars and some of their most important works illustrates the intellectual breadth of the Wissenschaft movement, its diversity of religious and political perspectives, and its impact on Jewish practice and identity today. The texts below were largely adapted from the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, an important compendium of Jewish knowledge which was written in the spirit of the Wissenschaft and recently entered the public domain.


German-Speaking Jews and Zionism: 1862-1941

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.

Meine Liebe Käthe—A trove of century-old letters adds fuel to WWI debate

Engagement letters from a young Bavarian Catholic aid to the German Chancellor and the daughter of one of early 20th century Germany’s most famous painters speak volumes about the German-Jewish milieu in Wilhelmine Berlin and may also shed light on the origins of World War I.

Final Sale in Berlin—Database of Jewish-Owned Businesses in Berlin Now Part of LBI Collections

Christoph Kreutzmüller On September 30, 2015, historian Christoph Kreutzmueller presented the new English translation of his study on the destruction of Jewish commercial life in Berlin and formally donated a remarkable database of Jewish businesses to Leo Baeck Institute. Since 2005, I have been studying how the National Socialist regime systematically destroyed and looted businesses…

Tarnschriften: Camouflaged Publications in Resistance Against the Nazis

Tarnschriften, or camouflaged publications, were one way to avoid censorship in Germany between 1933 and 1945: Texts that were forbidden by the Nazis were hidden between inconspicuous cover pages. The LBI holds two of these publications in its collection.

The Roedelheim Mahzor Collection: Change and Continuity

Recently Moriah Amit, a librarian at the LBI and the Center for Jewish History, finished cataloguing a unique collection of mahzors published in Roedelheim. These editions, comprising 15 complete sets of the prayer books, were published between 1800 and 1923 in Roedelheim, Germany. Over more than 140 hours, Amit cataloged 304 volumes of 77 editions that are preserved in the LBI library collection. Their appearance—the change in printed layout and language chosen by the publisher, as well as notes and inscriptions by the owner, or generations of owners—reflect the interplay of continuity and change that mark all religious-cultural traditions.