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Welcome to the LBI London

The Leo Baeck Institute London is devoted to the study of German-Jewish history and culture. The LBI is an independent charity and aims to preserve and research this history by organizing innovative research projects, Fellowship programmes, and public events. Through the lens of German-Jewish history, the Institute seeks to address some of the most topical and timely questions of our times.

News and Events

The Secret Paths of Provenance – Stories Beyond the Text

On 20 November, the Leo Baeck Institute (London) in partnership with Queen Mary Library Services will launch its exhibition The Secret Paths of Provenance – Stories Beyond the Text”.  

The exhibition ties into a wider project (Library of Lost Books) that is co-led by the Leo Baeck Institutes in Jerusalem and LondonThis international collaboration seeks to trace surviving items from the library of Berlin’s Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums [Higher Institute of Jewish Studies], that fell victim to systematic theft by the Nazis who, alongside their assault on the Jewish people of Europe, aspired to gain power of interpretation over Jewish history and culture. Our exhibition showcases findings from the related, London-based research project,…

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The Shoah and the Tragedy of Assimilation: Lessons from one German-Jewish family 
Simon May

Between 1933 and 1941, Simon May’s mother and her two sisters pushed the boundaries of assimilation among German Jews to their limits. They resorted to conversion, aristocratic marriages, and ‘Aryan’ certificates, which likely saved them from the death camps. However, this marked the defeat of the hope that such strategies would secure acceptance for Jews in German and European society. It led to a unique vulnerability, as these three women – and many others like them – distanced themselves from their cultural roots, leaving them emotionally defenceless when disaster struck. This self-inflicted psychic violence presents challenges for their descendants, grappling with questions of identity and belonging in a world in which millions of people continue to be forcibly displaced.

Simon May is Visiting Professor of Philosophy at King’s College London. His interests lie in ethics, philosophy of the emotions, questions of identity and belonging, and German 19th and…

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Call for Papers: International Feuchtwanger Society Conference

The Feuchtwangers and Britain
From Weimar to Hope - Exile from the Interwar to the Postwar Period


Senate House, University of London, September 13-15, 2024

London, United Kingdom

We are happy to inform you that the eleventh biennial meeting of the International Feuchtwanger Society (IFS) will take place September 13-15, 2024, in London, United Kingdom.

The conference is jointly organized by the Leo Baeck Institute London, the Research Centre for German & Austrian Exile Studies, University of London, and the International Feuchtwanger Society.

The conference centers around the idea of Britain, the British Commonwealth, and the British Mandate of Palestine as hub and transit for Jews, intellectuals, artists, and political opponents of the National Socialist regime in the interwar and postwar years.

A special focus of the…

Dressing Eve: Re-drawing Biblical Women through Comics
Dr Sarah Lightman

Jewish women have been at the forefront of feminist autobiographical comics since the 1970’s as they challenged sexism in popular culture. But how have they revised misogynistic images and stories closer to home? Sarah Lightman will illustrate how Sharon Rudahl in her bildungsroman ‘The Star Sapphire’, Miriam Katin in her Holocaust memoir, We Are on Our Own, and her own graphic novel, The Book of Sarah, transform biblical narratives and images to reflect their own, lived, experiences.

Sarah Lightman is an artist, writer and Faculty at The Royal Drawing School, London. She attended the Slade School of Art for her BA and MFA, University of Glasgow for her PhD and was an Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London (2018-21). She edited the multi-award-winning Graphic Details: Jewish Women’s Confessional Comics in Essays and Interviews (McFarland, 2014), published her autobiographical graphic novel, The Book of Sarah…

LBI Year Book Essay Prize winner 2024: Matthew Johnson

We are pleased to announce that the winner of the 2024 Leo Baeck Institute Year Book Essay Prize is Matthew Johnson for his article Off-Translation: Bertha Pappenheim’s Yiddish-German. The article will be published early, in our 2023 volume of the Leo Baeck Institute Year Book.

In his article, Johnson analyzes Bertha Pappenheim's translations of Old Yiddish literature, with a particular focus on Die Memoiren der Glückel von Hameln (The Memoirs of Glückel of Hameln), which was published as a private edition in Vienna in 1910. The article delineates Pappenheim's evolving approach to translation and contextualizes this approach in terms of her feminist and religious commitments. Based on both close and paratextual readings of Die Memoiren, it identifies a trajectory in Pappenheim's work from 'translation proper' to 'off-translation…

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What a shayna punim!: Cute Jews, Photography, and Jewish Regeneration
Prof Daniel Magilow

Jüdische Kinder in Erez Israel, a collection of twenty-one photographs of adorable Jewish children in Mandatory Palestine, was the last overtly Jewish-themed photobook published in Germany before the Holocaust. Yet its propaganda mission transcended its diminutive size and surface superficiality. This talk examines how this photobook creates an allegory of Jewish vulnerability by eliciting responses associated with the minor aesthetic category of ‘cuteness.’ In so doing, it broadens our understanding of how photobooks helped expand the visual lexicon and aesthetic strategies central to Jewish cultural and political regeneration.

Daniel H. Magilow is Professor of German at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Co-Editor-in-Chief of Holocaust and Genocide Studies. His research centers on photography and its intersections with Holocaust Studies, Weimar Germany, and postwar memory. He has authored and edited six books, including The…

Invitation for submissions to the 2025 Leo Baeck Institute Year Book Essay Prize in German-Jewish Studies

The Leo Baeck Institute for the Study of the History and Culture of German-speaking Jewry is inviting submissions for the 2025 Year Book Essay Prize. The Leo Baeck Institute Year Book is a fully refereed Oxford University Press journal and covers cultural, social, and economic history. A leading journal in the field, the Year Book has appeared annually since 1956.

The Essay Prize was established in 2011 to stimulate new research on the history and culture of German-speaking Jewry, and to promote young researchers in the field. The essay can be on any topic on the history and culture of German-speaking Central European Jewry from early modern times through to the present.


The Prize 

The winner will receive:

Publication of the winning essay in the 2025 volume of the Leo Baeck Institute Year Book  A cash prize of £500 A free year's print and online subscription to the Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 


How to enter

Entries should be…

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Welcome Dr Joseph Cronin!

The Leo Baeck Institute London warmly welcomes its new director, Dr Joseph Cronin. Dr Cronin took up the post on 1 September and we look forward to a dynamic new era for the Institute under his leadership.

Dr Cronin specialises in research into Jewish life in Germany after the Holocaust. After graduating with a BA and MA from Durham University, Joseph conducted his PhD at the University of London between 2012 and 2016 with a LBI studentship in Modern Jewish History. During that time, he was fortunate to meet many of the institute’s former directors and chairpersons, including Arnold Paucker and Peter Pulzer. Joseph’s first monograph, published in 2019, is titled Russian-speaking Jews in Germany’s Jewish communities, 1990–2005.

As a Research Fellow at the German Historical Institute London, he was co-investigator for a project looking at German-speaking Jews who found refuge in colonial India during the 1930s and 40s. He has taught at King’s…

Press Release "Have you seen this book?“

New Innovative Project: "Have you seen this book?" combines a virtual online campaign with parallel physical exhibitions addressing both the Nazi theft and the rescue of a German-Jewish library. This collaborative initiative of the Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem and the Leo Baeck Institute London is funded by the Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future (EVZ) and the German Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF).

The Freunde und Förderer des Leo Baeck Instituts, on behalf of LBI Jerusalem and LBI London, have been awarded a grant from the Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future (EVZ) and the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) to undertake the exhibition project "Have you seen this book?". This collaborative project is part of the EVZ’s Education Agenda 'Nazi Injustice'. The exhibition project is dedicated to the history of the Berlin Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des…

The Secret Life of Anna O. – Bertha Pappenheim’s Gender Revolution, Religion, and Modernity
Bertha Pappenheim (LBI NY)Gebete booklet

The LBI London Pamphlet Collection holds a small inconspicuous booklet bound in plain black cardboard that appears to have been softened by many readers’ hands. Its cover is adorned with the facsimile of an energetically handwritten label ‘Gebete’. It contains 24 brief prayers written between 1922-1935 by German-Jewish feminist Bertha Pappenheim (28th of May 1936). 

These prayers are unique in being Pappenheim’s call for strength in pursuing her ground-breaking path in German-Jewish feminist activism and in the establishment of modern Jewish social welfare. Whilst they are an intimate testimony to her spirituality, the texts go beyond the religiosity of an individual; they open a view into a remarkable woman’s determination to revolutionise stereotypical ideas about the place of women in society, religion, and education.

Today, Bertha Pappenheim is most widely known for a brief encounter in her 20s. Between 1880-1882, she…

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