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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 Library of Lost Books launches in the Czech Republic

The Library of Lost Books team has reached another milestone! We are proud to announce that the Czech version of the exhibition is now live!

We would like to thank the Jewish Museum in Prague for the warm and enthusiastic welcome of the Library of Lost Books in the Czech Republic. The museum hosted the launch of the project in Prague on 11th April. We were welcomed by the museum’s deputy director Michaela (Misha) Sidenberg. The evening commenced with a lecture about the Higher Institute for Jewish Studies by Michal Bušek, the head of the Jewish Museum Prague’s library department. The LBI Jerusalem’s director, Dr Irene Aue-Ben David and the LBI London’s deputy director, Kinga Bloch introduced the Library of Lost Books (www.libraryoflostbooks.com). We were honoured that so many dignitaries (the Austrian Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Dr. Bettina Kirnbauer; …

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Heinrich Zimmer, Nazi Racial Politics and the University of Heidelberg, 1933–1938
Dr. Baijayanti Roy

This talk examines the grey zones that exist between the established paradigms of persecution and exile in the ‘Third Reich’, as demonstrated by the trajectory of the Indologist Heinrich Zimmer (1890–1943). Zimmer, who taught at the University of Heidelberg, lost his teaching license in 1938 since his wife Christiane was classified as a Mischling (mixed race) by the Nazi regime. He tried to battle his fate by offering diverse political capital to the Nazi political establishment and by counting on some sympathetic colleagues. Zimmer was able to flee Germany with his family in 1939.

Baijayanti Roy is a postdoctoral researcher affiliated to the University of Frankfurt. Her monograph, The Making of a Gentleman Nazi: Albert Speer’s Politics of History in the Federal Republic of Germany was published in 2016. Another monograph, The Nazi Study of India and Indian Anti-Colonialism: Knowledge Providers and Propagandists in the ‘Third Reich’…

Leo Baeck Institute London Lecture Series 2024

This season’s lecture series Outsiders in German-Jewish History seeks to uncover the shared experiences of individuals and communities who found themselves on the margins of society. Transcending both time and geography, talks will offer different perspectives on the resilience and tenacity of those who have grappled with the challenges of being outsiders. How have they found identity and a sense of belonging in societies that have not understood or even accepted them?

Organised by the Leo Baeck Institute London in cooperation with the German Historical Institute London.

Lectures will be held in Room G3, Ground Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. They will also be streamed live on Zoom. Places at Senate House are strictly limited and must be reserved by contacting the Leo Baeck Institute London at info@leobaeck.co.uk

International Women’s Day 2024: Pauline Paucker
Pauline Paucker

To mark International Women’s Day 2024, LBI London Director Joseph Cronin interviews Pauline Paucker at her home. She talks about her memories of the Institute, her work editing the Year Book, and her husband Arno Paucker, former Director of the Institute.

From the Director’s introduction:

“Over the past 65 years, Pauline Paucker has met just about everyone important who’s been involved with the LBI London. She’s worked on our Year Book, she’s been a scholar of German-Jewish women typographers, and of course she was married to the LBI London’s longstanding Director, Arno Paucker. So she has a lot of experience, and we tried to talk about as much of it as we could in the space of an hour! I hope you enjoy the conversation.”

Pauline Paucker’s testimony is a personal reminiscence, and the views expressed therein do not necessarily reflect those of the LBI London.

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World Book Day 2024

Have you discovered the Leo Baeck Institute London’s Library? Our unique collection contains over 4,500 books, 30 metres of journals, and 2,400 pamphlets. This treasure trove encompasses works in German, Hebrew, Italian, and English, offering a multilingual exploration of German-Jewish heritage. 

Examples from the collection include a Mahzor dating back to 1784, providing insight into traditional liturgical practices, and a complete set of the Bücherei des Schocken Verlags book series from the 1930s, offering a glimpse into pre-war Jewish literature. 

The library also includes the LBI London’s own academic publications: the LBI Year Book, the Schriftenreihe wissenschaftlicher Abhandlungen des Leo Baeck Instituts, and the German Jewish Cultures book series. 

This invaluable resource is housed at Queen Mary University of London’s Mile End library and is open for everyone to access. Due to the unique nature of the collection, items are available for…

Who was Fritz Kittel? A German Railway Worker Decides, 1933–2022
Esther Dischereit

In 2023, Esther Dischereit created an exhibition in cooperation with Deutsche Bahn to honour the railroad worker Fritz Kittel. In 1944 and 1945, he hid her mother Hella and sister Hannelore, who as Jews were persecuted by the Gestapo and threatened with death in Germany under National Socialism. They were liberated by U.S. troops in 1945. Dischereit began to search for the family of the rescuer and found them in 2019. Fritz Kittel had not told his own family about his courageous act throughout his life.

Esther Dischereit's literary response in 17 text pieces includes other found objects from the lives of her mother, sister, and Fritz Kittel, and they offer a dialogue with those who are now the daughters and sons or grandchildren. False information given at a registration office, illegal names and addresses ... What do we read when we read these documents? What do we see when we look at these photos?

 

Esther Dischereit lives in Berlin,…

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On Provenance, Prints and People - A Stroll Through the LBI London’s Secret Art Gallery

Kinga S. Bloch

Did you know that libraries can also serve as the custodians of secret art galleries?

In our 12th Snapshot of German-Jewish History and Culture, we would like to introduce our readers to a unique set of etchings and woodprints that is tucked away beneath the covers of the books in our library: a hitherto dormant collection of ornate late 19th and early 20th century imagery that tells us stories about both the practice of collecting books and the self-perception of German-Jewish book collectors. To be more specific, we want to take you for a stroll through our small but nonetheless compelling gallery of Jewish ex libris and talk a little bit about the people who owned them.
 

Ex libris (Latin: ‘from the books [of]’) is another term for a bookplate that is glued or stamped on the inside cover of a book to signify ownership. The practice of attaching these often intricately designed miniatures originated in the 15th century…

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Feuchtwanger Book Club - Der Jüdische Krieg

To celebrate the conference of the International Feuchtwanger Society coming to London in 2024, the Leo Baeck Institute London has organised a Feuchtwanger Book Club, focusing on the work of the acclaimed – but now somewhat forgotten – German Jewish novelist Lion Feuchtwanger. 

Our Feuchtwanger Book Club is starting a new book in next week’s session: Lion Feuchtwanger’s 1932 novel ‘The War of the Jews’ (Der jüdische Krieg). It is open to everyone. 

Join us online on Zoom every Wednesday at 4pm (BST). For details contact j.cronin@leobaeck.co.uk

An English translation of Der jüdische Krieg is widely available in various editions. You can read it for free at the Internet Archive (in German).

 

 

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LBI Summer Lecture: Psychologists in Auschwitz: Accounting for Survival
Prof Dan Stone

The writings of Dutch Auschwitz survivors Eddy de Wind, Elie Cohen and Louis Micheels merit analysis not only because they anticipated what later became known as PTSD and much of the underpinnings of trauma theory. They also advocated a theory of survival that offers a compelling contrast to well-known “self-help” theories put forward by Bruno Bettelheim and, especially, Viktor Frankl. This lecture traces the ways in which this theory of survival challenged these simplistic narratives, explains how their work informed the changing field of psychiatry after the war, and considers its relevance for the historiography of the Holocaust today. 


 

Dan Stone is Professor of Modern History and Director of the Holocaust Research Institute at Royal Holloway, University of London, where he has taught since 1999. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including, most recently, The Holocaust: An Unfinished History (Penguin,…

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LBI Mailing List

Sign up now to receive the Leo Baeck Institute London newsletter. 

Every month you will receive news, upcoming events, lecture recordings and research straight to your inbox. 

http://leobaeck.co.uk/mailing-list/

LBI London has moved!

We’re pleased to announce that the Leo Baeck Institute London has moved.

After many productive years at Queen Mary University of London, we’ve packed up our books and moved back to central London. We’re now located on Russell Square, close to our new partner Birkbeck, University of London, as well as Senate House where we host many of our lectures, and near our friends and colleagues at the German Historical Institute London and the Wiener Holocaust Library.

This relocation brings new opportunities for research, education and outreach and provides a fresh impetus to our popular existing programme of events.

Work resumes without interruption at our new premises and we look forward to seeing you all again soon!

Writing the Lives of Those that Stayed Behind. Georg Hermann’s Long-Lost Exile Novel ‘Die daheim blieben’
Godela Weiss-Sussex

In the winter of 1939–40, exiled in the Dutch city of Hilversum, Georg Hermann was working on a novel that he regarded as one of his most important. Entitled Die daheim blieben (Those that Stayed Behind), it was to be composed of four parts and tell the story of a large, diverse German-Jewish family in Berlin from March 1933 to November 1938. He was unable to complete the novel or see it published, and it was long thought to have been lost. Recently, however, the manuscripts of the first two parts were discovered among papers held by Hermann’s grandson, George Rothschild. After careful editing by Godela Weiss-Sussex, the text was finally published for the first time by Wallstein Verlag (Göttingen) in September 2023. 

In her talk Godela Weiss-Sussex, Professor of Modern German Literature at the Institute of Languages, Cultures and Societies (University of London), considers the story of the manuscript and its journey to publication, and…

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Feuchtwanger Book Club - Die Oppermanns

To celebrate the conference of the International Feuchtwanger Society coming to London in 2024, the Leo Baeck Institute London is organising a Feuchtwanger Book Club, focusing on the work of the acclaimed – but now somewhat forgotten – German Jewish novelist Lion Feuchtwanger. 

This book club, which will be held online between March and June 2024, will focus initially on a reading of Feuchtwanger’s 1933 novel The Oppermanns, a chronicle of the collapse of Weimar Germany and the rise of the Nazis, seen through the eyes of one German Jewish family. 

An English translation of The Oppermanns is widely available in various editions. You can also read it for free at the Internet Archive. (You can, if you prefer, read the novel in German.)

If time permits, we will also read and discuss some of Feuchtwanger’s other works, including The Devil in France…

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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…

Library of Lost Books Launch at the Staatsbibliothek Berlin

The Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem together with Leo Baeck Institute London and the association Freunde und Förderer des Leo Baeck Instituts are pleased to announce the launch of our hybrid exhibition project centred on the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums and the remnants of its library:

The Library of Lost Books

https://libraryoflostbooks.com/

This exhibition project aspires to engage broad international audiences in joining the search for the library’s lost books as citizen scientists.

 

The launch event was held at the Staatsbibliothek Berlin on the 28th November 2023.

Speakers Dr Irene Aue-Ben-David, Director of the LBI Jerusalem Prof Dr Achim Bonte, Head of the Staatsbibliothek Berlin His Excellency Shimon Stein, Chair of the Freunde und Förderer of the Leo Baeck…
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Leo Baeck Institute London Library

Since its foundation in 1955, the Leo Baeck Institute London has been the foremost academic institution in the UK conducting and supporting research on the history and culture of German-speaking Jewry from the 17th century to the present day. Today, the Institute is located on the campus of Queen Mary University of London where it plays a key role in the research and teaching of German-Jewish history and culture at the School of History.

Shlomo Zemach, ‘Das jüdische Dorf’ (The Jewish Village), 1932

The Institute’s specialist Library is an invaluable resource for the study of German-Jewish history and culture. The collection consists of over 4,500 books, 30 metres of journals and 2400 pamphlets. It is a multilingual collection, with works written in German, Hebrew, Italian and English. Many of the items are from the early 20th century and are not held by any other library in the UK. Started by the LBI’s first director, the writer and journalist Robert…

London Calling! – The Library of Lost Books in Britain

We are excited to announce that the Leo Baeck Institutes in Jerusalem and London celebrated the launch of their international collaboration on 28 November 2023 in a grand opening ceremony at the German National Library (Staatsbibliothek Unter den Linden) in Berlin. On this occasion, the innovative online exhibition and citizen science project Library of Lost Books (www.libraryoflostbooks.com) was released to the public in Germany. This international project aims to commemorate and educate about the Higher Institute for Jewish Studies, Berlin (Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums, 1872–1942) that was dedicated to the study of Jewish history and culture and to rabbinical studies in Liberal Judaism. The team also pursues a pioneering innovative methodological approach in provenance research, seeking to recruit…

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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…
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News from the LBI London Pamphlet Collection Digitisation Project

The Leo Baeck Institute London was happy to welcome Naomi Korn and Sean Waterman of Naomi Korn and Associates this morning who will do a copyright review of the LBI London Pamphlet Collection today. This marks an important step in our conservation and digitisation project, commenced in 2019 with the support of MAX Communications and Queen Mary University of London’s library where our archive is currently on loan.

 Stay tuned for more news about our unique collection of leaflets, pamphlets and prints!

 

More information on our pamphlet collection:

https://www.leobaeck.co.uk/pamphlet-collection

https://www.leobaeck.co.uk/snapshots

https://naomikorn.com/about/who-we-are/

https://maxcommunications.co.uk/