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-…
Biennial LBI Lecture
Edmund de Waal
On the Eve of Departure: Art and Exile
During the talk Edmund de Waal discussed the telling of family stories through words and sculpture, touching on his writing of The Hare with Amber Eyes and works by Paul Celan and Walter Benjamin.
Edmund de Waal is an artist and author of The Hare with Amber Eyes
Organised by the Leo Baeck Institute London in collaboration with Queen Mary University of London, School of History. The lecture took place at Queen Mary University of London, Arts Two Lecture Theatre, Mile End…
Prof David Nirenberg
In his recent book "Anti-Judaism: The History of a Way of Thinking," David Nirenberg argued that Anti-Judaism should not be thought of as some archaic or irrational closet in the vast edifices of Western thought. Instead, he suggested, it was a powerful conceptual tool, one that played an important role in helping many people make sense of the complex world they lived in. In this lecture he will explain how Anti-Judaism became so central, and describe some of the work it has done in shaping the ways in which past peoples interpreted the worlds they lived in.
The 1st Biennial Leo Baeck Institute Lecture - Regaining Jerusalem: The Learned ex-Converso Nassy and Jewish Colonisation
Prof Natalie Zemon Davis
Through the person of David Nassy, Jerusalem Regained explores the adventures of a former Portuguese converso in the seventeenth century, from his arrival in Amsterdam and his participation in the Dutch world of geographical learning, his stay in Dutch Brazil, to his support for the return of the Jews to England, and his leadership in projects for Dutch colonization, especially in Suriname.
What were the sources for his urge for Jewish colonization? What hopes were fulfilled? What contradictions were faced for Jews in establishing an ideal village based on the labor of…