Academic conferences organized or co-organized by the IGdJ bring together researchers from different levels of qualification and disciplines for international exchange.


On June 26 and 27, 2024, the international workshop “Constructions of Jewish Cultural Heritage in Literary Texts on Architecture, City and Space” took place at the Warburg-Haus of the University of Hamburg. The workshop was organized by the Institute for the History of the German Jews in cooperation with the Bet Tfila – Research Unit for Jewish Architecture at the TU Braunschweig. In a thematic introduction and 13 contributions, academics from various disciplines explored the connection between architecture and literature against the background of Jewish cultural heritage negotiation processes.  


The relationship between built architecture and its literary representation in the medium of text is currently enjoying increased academic interest. In the Jewish context, the descriptions of the architecture, furnishings, and rooms produced after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE can be seen as prominent reference point that illustrates this interaction between architecture and text. Nevertheless, beyond these early religious references, there are numerous examples in the various Jewish literatures of all periods that represent the relationships between built and imagined architecture as well as the significance of urban and spatial experience for literary texts. The perception and function of the relationship between text and (built) space changes in line with historical precedents, opening up a complex and exciting space for negotiation.


The understanding of the meaning of architecture, space, and city articulated in the texts was examined using different methodological approaches and questions. Various text genres, from novels to dramatic texts, as well as a wide range of places, spaces, and landscapes, from utopian village settlements to soccer stadiums and synagogues, formed the basis of the contributions. These were linked by the question of the specific semiotic systems, narratives, motifs, and symbols that are used for the literary construction of Jewish identities and Jewish heritage.


The workshop was organized as part of the DFG-funded project “Constructions of Jewish Cultural Heritage in Theoretical-Critical and Literary Texts on Architecture and Space,” which the two project partners are conducting in the context of the DFG Priority Program 2357 “Jewish Cultural Heritage”.


More about the project 


The workshop "The Space of the Museum" focussed on the complex challenges of the museum presentation and representation of "Jewishness". On the initiative of this year's Fellow Prof. Yaniv Feller (IGdJ/University of Florida) and in cooperation with Dr Kim Wünschmann and Dr Björn Siegel (both IGdJ), the workshop questioned the role of museums and focused both on the architecture of the buildings and the messages they convey in stone, as well as on the various narratives that are shown in temporary and permanent exhibitions in the buildings themselves.


The discussions showed how complex the challenges are in this regard, which curatorial decisions are made how and when, and which needs are brought to museums by an urban society and its communities. The keynote speech by Prof. Yaniv Feller and the comments by Dr Anna von Villiez (Memorial and Educational Site Israelite Girls' School, Adult Education Centre Hamburg) and Jana C. Reimer (Museum am Rotherbaum - Cultures and Arts of the World - MARKK) showed the possibilities of combining methodological-theoretical and practice-oriented approaches and discussed the different layers of perception and attributions of "Jewishness" as well as the limits of what is feasible. This also provided a link to many contemporary issues facing museums - including those in Hamburg - when redesigning a permanent exhibition or implementing a temporary exhibition, as demonstrated by the presentation by Prof Bettina Probst and Dr Kerstin Petermann (MHG), among others.


International Conference at Warburg-Haus Hamburg, 27–29 March 2023

The international conference “Experiences of Violence and Notions of Temporality in Jewish History“ took place from 27 to 29 March 2023 at Warburg-Haus Hamburg and was organized by Monica Rüthers, Ilay Halpern (both Universität Hamburg) and Kim Wünschmann (IGdJ). Over 30 scholars from different academic disciplines discussed practices and experiences of anti-Jewish violence with a special focus on the analytical category of temporality. The key note lecture entitled „A Time to Live and a Time to Die, A Time to Remember and a Time to Forget: Temporality and Violence in the Modern Jewish Experience“ was delivered by Elissa Bemporad (City University New York).

Timing and escalation of violent acts such as pogroms were highly ritualized. Religious holidays or the state of war were predictable time frames for the perpetration of violent acts, which Jewish communities anticipated and remembered in specific ways. Conference delegates discussed various modes of anticipating anti-Jewish violence and actions that resulted from these anticipation. The processing, interpretation and narration of experiences of violence were another key theme. The conference fruitfully explored synergies and intersection between new research on anti-Jewish pogroms, Holocaust studies, Eastern European history and Jewish studies

The conference was based on the work of the organizers as members of the research unit “GewaltZeiten / Times of Violence: Temporality in Violent Undertakings”, funded by the State Research Program of the City of Hamburg (LFF), in which scholars from Universität Hamburg, the Institute for the History of the German Jews and the Helmut Schmidt University of the Bundeswehr cooperate.

The conference report, composed by Katja Grosse-Sommer, has been published on HSozKult. The programme can be found here.



9. - 11. November 2022

Unter dem Titel „Deutsch-jüdische Geschichte und Gegenwart“ widmet sich das IGdJ im November 2022 den großen Herausforderungen und den unterschiedlichen Perspektiven auf die jüdische Geschichte nach 1945. Mit einem multi-disziplinären Blick soll die Konferenz, die von Karen Körber und Björn Siegel federführend organisiert und von der Zeit-Stiftung und dem Carlebach Arbeitskreis an der Universität Hamburg finanziell gefördert wird, neue Zugänge zur Geschichte post-1945 eröffnen und unterschiedliche Antworten auf die Fragen nach Zugehörigkeit, Religiosität, Aufarbeitung und Erinnerungskultur sichtbar machen. Was die Adjektiv-Paarung „deutsch-jüdisch“ bedeuten kann, welche Inklusion- und Exklusionmechanismen hier zum Tragen kommen und wie Geschichte, Literatur, Architektur u.ä. zur Beantwortung dieser Fragen beitragen können, wird die Konferenz zeigen. Den Eröffnungsvortrag wird Prof. Dr. Anthony D. Kauders (University of Keele/Großbritannien) am 9.11.2022 im Lesesaal des IGdJ (Beginn: 18:00 Uhr) halten.