Jewish life between the early modern period and the present time is researched in all its diversity at the Institute for the History of the German Jews in Hamburg (IGdJ). Ever since its foundation in 1966, not only has the field of Jewish Studies developed and become differentiated in terms of methodology and disciplinarity, but the profile of the IGdJ has also expanded. While the historical focus on German-speaking Jewry remains, Jewish life in the present, current questions of remembrance and commemoration, as well as scholarly work with new media and digital technologies are increasingly coming into focus.
With the summer semester of 2023, the IGdJ will launch the Gabriele Meyer Fellowship Programme to promote cutting-edge scholarship in the field of Jewish Studies and to further sharpen the Institute’s research profile through international exchange. The physician and psychoanalyst Dr. Gabriele Meyer (29 June 1938–30 March 2018), born and raised in Tel Aviv, with subsequent biographical stations in Malmö and Munich, lived and worked in Hamburg. Named in honour of her as the donor, the fellowship of up to four months will be awarded for the period between April and July 2023. The programme welcomes scholars working on the themes and approaches anchored in the Institute’s research profile. They are encouraged to use the wide-ranging collections of the Institute’s library as well as the holdings of various archives in the region. Fellows are expected to participate in all of the IGdJ’s activities, including presentations of their work in the research colloquium as well as a public lecture. Through the organisation of a one-day workshop the fellows’ project shall be discussed in a broader context of peers, which, in turn, provides valuable networking opportunities in the wider (north-)German scholarly community.
Information on how to apply for a Dr. Gabriele Meyer-Fellwoship 2025 will be published in due course.
Amos Goldberg is the 2023 Dr. Gabriele Meyer Fellow at the Institute for the History of the German Jews in Hamburg. He is an Associate Professor, the Jonah M. Machover Chair in Holocaust Studies at the Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry and the Head of the Avraham Harman Research Institute of Contemporary Jewry at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Goldberg’s work is interdisciplinary in nature, combining history, cultural studies and psychoanalysis. Part of his work focuses on the cultural history of the Jews in the Holocaust and part of it on Holocaust memory and historiography. Much of his work is marked by “multi-directionalism”.
His publications appeared in Hebrew, English, Arabic, French, German, Japanese and Italian. Among them are:
- Editor and a co-author of three of the four volumes in the series Years Wherein we have Seen Evil: Selected Aspects in the History of Religious Jewry during the Holocaust (Yad Vashem 2003–2008)
- Trauma in First Person: Diary Writing During the Holocaust (Hebrew 2012; English Indiana UP 2017). The book won the Eggit prize and was among Choice's ten most outstanding books in the category of “History Geography and Area Studies” for 2018
- He edited several books among them his co-edited volume with Haim Hazan Marking Evil: Holocaust Memory in the Global Age (Berghahn 2015), and his co-edited volume with Bashir Bashir The Holocaust and the Nakba: A New Grammar of Trauma and History (Columbia University Press 2018; in Japanese 2023, forthcoming in Italian).
- His forthcoming book Five Critical Readings in Holocaust Memory is due for publication in Hebrew this year. And he is now finishing writing a book on the Cultural History of the Jews in Warsaw during the Holocaust.
Goldberg is a fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and was the 2018–2019 J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Senior Scholar-in-Residence Fellow in the Mandel Center at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC.
He is among the initiators and the drafters of the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA)
Aspects of Warsaw Jews’ Cultural History under Nazi Rule
“During my tenure at the IGdJ I am planning to finish writing my book on the cultural history of the Warsaw Ghetto – a research project I had been working on for several years. According to Moshe Rosman (who reflected on this in the context of Jewish history), cultural history is not interested in the products of creative forces within a particular group, but in the meanings these forces and products convey. Or in other words, cultural history is not concerned with describing the cultural and religious institution or their products, but rather in the mechanism of meaning-making within a certain society, or in what Peter Burke sees as the common basis of all branches of cultural history: ‘dealing with the symbolic and its interpretation.’ In my research I apply these approaches to the study of the Jews of Warsaw under Nazi rule. The book dedicates a chapter to each of the following topics: the culture of rumors in the ghetto; the Warsaw ghetto street jester and his social critique; coffeehouses in the ghetto; language wars and the transformation of language; clothing and fashion.”
Abby Anderton is an Associate Professor of Music at Baruch College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her work centers on performance and Holocaust testimony, female composers, and post-catastrophic music making. Anderton’s publications have appeared in the German Studies Review, Journal of Musicological Research, Twentieth-Century Music, and Music and Politics. Her research has received support from the Fulbright Commission, the Holocaust Educational Foundation, the Humboldt Foundation, the Eugene Lang Foundation, the American Musicological Society, and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
Survivor Musicians in Postwar Germany
While at the IGdJ I plan on working on my current book project, Audible Testimonies: Holocaust Survival in Music and Media, which explores the early postwar sounds of survivor musicians in Germany, demonstrating that their compositions, recordings, and performances are forms of Holocaust witnessing. Many of the first Holocaust testimonies involved music. Yet decades after producing scholarship on this period, much of this music remains inaudible, fragmentary, or unpublished. Through materials collected in German and American archives, this project reveals how these musicians empowered their communities well before the witness testimonies at the 1961 Eichmann Trial compelled the world to listen. Whether considering the Terezín memory pieces of Erich Adler, the performances of the Ex-Concentration Camp Orchestra with Leonard Bernstein, or the liberation concerts of cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch in Bergen-Belsen, musical testimonies gave survivor musicians a public platform in postwar Germany. I especially look forward to using the Institute’s archival and library collections to integrate more Hamburg-based musicians in my study.