Research on Jewish sacral buildings in the Weimar Republic. Architectural style and Jewish identity in the age of modernism

We warmly welcome Jay Geller from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland! From June - August 2024, he will be working on his project "Jewish Sacred Buildings in the Weimar Republic. Architectural style and Jewish identity in the age of modernism".

Jay Geller holds the Samuel Rosenthal Professorship in Jewish Studies and is Professor of History at Case Western Reserve University, where he heads the interdisciplinary Jewish Studies program. From 2015 to 2020, he was book review editor for AJS Review, the journal of the Association for Jewish Studies, the American Jewish Studies Association. His research interests include German-Jewish political, social and cultural history in the late 19th and 20th centuries. He is the author of Die Scholems. Geschichte einer deutsch-jüdischen Familie (Suhrkamp Verlag, 2020) and Jews in Post Holocaust Germany (Cambridge University Press, 2005) as well as co-editor of the anthologies Three-Way Street: Jews, Germans and the Transnational (University of Michigan Press, 2016) and Rebuilding Jewish Life in Germany (Rutgers University Press, 2020). He is a former scholarship holder of the DAAD, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the Gerda Henkel Foundation.

At the IGdJ, I will examine the connections between Jewish identity and the architecture of Jewish buildings in the Weimar Republic, including cemeteries, communal institutions, and especially synagogues. I seek to understand why, after almost a century of architectural historicism, which was inextricably linked to German-Jewish collective identity, community leaders and Jewish architects abruptly turned to modernism. A particular focus of my research is the Israelite Temple Association of Hamburg.