Wiener Library
Centre for German-Jewish Studies
Leo Baeck Institute

For the first time, Britain’s leading institutions for the study of German-speaking Jewry and the Holocaust have combined to present a programme of public lectures.
Drawing on the strengths of these three renowned institutions, the lectures pose a series of probing questions: How did Jews in the aftermath of the Shoah deal with feelings of revenge? In what ways does the concept of trauma help us to understand the life of individual survivors? How did Christians and Jews live together in a German city between 1933-1945? What can we say about coercion and consent during the Third Reich?

The Wiener Library, founded in 1933, is Britain’s largest documentation centre for the study of the Nazi era, the Shoah and the historical consequences of the attempted annihilation of Europe’s Jewry.

The Centre for German-Jewish Studies at Sussex University is the first university-based research institute where students are taught German-Jewish history, culture and thought.

The Leo Baeck Institute, named after the last public representative of the Jewish community in Nazi Germany, was founded in 1955, and is the world’s leading research institute in the field of German- Jewish history.


28 September 2004

Dr Hans Keilson
Leben und Trauma

The distinguished psychiatrist Dr Hans Keilson will speak about his life’s work in psychiatric trauma. Born in Germany in 1909, he published his first novel Das Leben geht weiter (Life goes on) in 1933, shortly before his emigration to the Netherlands. In 1943 he went underground and worked as a doctor and courier for the resistance group “Vrije Groepen Amsterdam”. In 1948 he received his Dutch approbation as a doctor and subsequently specialised in psychiatry and psychoanalisis.

Hans Keilson‘s thesis, published in 1979, Sequentielle Traumatisierung bei Kindern (Sequential Traumatisation in Children), has been translated into several languages and was based on the therapeutic work he carried out on behalf of Le Ezrat HaJeled until 1970. His most recent work Sieben Sterne. Reden, Gedichte und eine Geschichte. Mit einem Nachwort von Gerhard Kurz (Seven stars. Speeches, Poems and a Story. With a postsript by Gerhard Kurz) was published in 2003. An edition of his collected works is currently in preparation with the renowned publishing house S. Fischer.

19 October 2004

Professor Robert Liberles (Ben Gurion University, Beersheva)
Jews, Coffee, and Innovation in Early Modern Germany

Coffee first arrived in Germany from the Middle East in the late seventeenth century and spread across Europe in the early eighteenth century. The lecture will explore German Jewish responses to the introduction of the new beverage.

Professor Liberles will examine responses by Jews and the Jewish community to questions of halachah or religious law, social challenges, and the economic opportunities that emerged with the arrival of coffee. The “coffee debates” provide a fascinating insight into some of the controversies that raged amongst Jews who had recently acquired a higher economic status and mercantile aspirations, and yet were still tied to the traditions of life behind the ghetto walls.

Robert Liberles, holds the David Berg and Family Chair in Eastern European History at Ben Gurion University in Beersheva and is a mathematics graduate of MIT, an ordained rabbi and has a Ph.D. in Jewish History (1980). He is the author of Religious Conflict in Social Context (winner of the 1986 National Jewish Book Award in History); Salo Baron: Architect of Jewish History (1995), and one of the four authors of Jewish Daily Life in Germany (2004). Professor Liberles is currently working on Jews, Coffee, and Innovation.

23 November 2004

Professor John Grenville
Bitter Harvest: Jews and Christians in one German City: Hamburg 1933-1945

In the years following Hitler’s rise to power, Jewish-Christian relations were more varied than popularly supposed – as demonstrated in the case of Hamburg, a traditionally liberal city with a strong mercantile past. Professor Grenville uses data from offi cial records and private documents to present a vivid picture of a city in crisis. Reichsstatthalter and Gauleiter Karl Kaufmann was the Nazi in overall command. Although one of Hitler’s favourites, he was not always as obedient and offi cious as his leader might have wished. There were instances where economic interests prevailed over ideology, with some Jewish fi rms still functioning in 1940. Professor Grenville explores this and several other ‘grey’ facets of Nazi Hamburg.

John Grenville was born in Berlin and is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Birmingham. He is a visiting Professor at City University New York, the University of Hamburg, and the Peoples’ University Beijing. He is the author of Lord Salisbury and Foreign Policy (first edition 1964, second edition 1970); Europe Reshaped 1848-1878 (first edition 1966, fourth edition 2000); Politics and Strategy. Studies in American Foreign Policy (first edition 1968, second edition 1970); and most recently Collins History of the Twentieth Century (first edition 1995, three subsequent editions and a new update scheduled for 2005). His forthcoming book on German-Jewish history is entitled Fortunate Years and Bitter Harvest. He is also Joint Editor of the Leo Baeck Institute Year Book.

7 December 2004

Gerhard Riegner Memorial Lecture

Professor Carlo Ginzburg (University of California, Los Angeles)
Sacred Sociology: A French Approach to the Religious Dimension of Fascism

Georges Bataille, the French thinker and novelist, put forward a religious interpretation of Fascism in the framework of the Collège de Sociologie, which he founded in Paris with his friend Roger Caillois in 1937. The lecture will deal with the precedents, ambiguities, and relevance of Bataille’s approach.

Carlo Ginzburg is the Franklin D. Murphy Professor of Italian Renaissance Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. He received his Dottore in Lettere from the University of Pisa (1961) and taught at the University of Bologna before moving to the United States. His fi eld of interest ranges from the Italian Renaissance to Early Modern European History. He is a leader in the field of ‘microhistorical’ methodologies. He has published extensively and written numerous books including The Night
Battles: Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (1983), The Enigma of Piero della Francesca (1985 and revised edition 2000), History, Rhetoric, and Proof. The Menachem Stern Jerusalem Lectures (1999).

27 January 2005

Holocaust Memorial Day Lecture

Professor Anson Rabinbach (Princeton University)
Raphael Lemkin and the Notion of Genocide

Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959) is best known as the creator of the term genocide and the author of the United Nations Genocide Convention. His admirers have emphasized his single-minded belief in the efficacy of both law and language to alter reality, as well as his conviction that the extermination of entire peoples and cultures was by no means a uniquely modern experience in history. Critics have pointed to the lack of means to enforce the convention, to Lemkin’s almost naïve belief that language translated into law could prevent mass murder, and the difficulties of translating supranational principles into a world where law and sovereignty remain intimately linked.
This talk takes as its starting point Lemkin’s belief that genocide was an unpolitical concept and looks at how Lemkin’s lifelong campaign was thwarted by the United States’ failure to ratify the convention. Professor Rabinbach will look at the reasons behind the United States’ obduracy and at the resulting stalemate which made genocide a lost cause until the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1994.

Anson Rabinbach is the Director of European Cultural Studies at Princeton University. He is a specialist in modern European history with an emphasis on Nazi Germany, Austria, and European thought in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He is the co-founder of New German Critique, the premier journal in German studies in the United States. He has published extensively and is the author of The Crisis of Austrian Socialism: From Red Vienna to Civil War 1927-1934 (1979), The Human Motor (1991) and In the Shadow of Catastrophe: German Intellectuals between Apocalypse and Enlightenment (1997). His current research is on Nazi Germany and on post-Second World War exchanges between European and American intellectuals.

23 February 2005

Research Professor John Rohl (University of Sussex)
The Kaiser and the Jews

What are the roots of National Socialism and where do the origins of the Holocaust lie? Attention is beginning to turn to the attitudes and activities of the royals and aristocrats who dominated Germany’s ruling elite prior to 1918. One key development has been the discovery of the depth of the last Kaiser’s antisemitism, particularly during his long years of exile in Holland. The realisation has led to widespread recognition of the long strands of continuity reaching back from the Third Reich into the Imperial past. The lecture will assess the extent and nature of the Kaiser’s antisemitism and explore its signifi cance for our understanding of German history in the fi rst half of the twentieth century.

John Rohl is Research Professor of German History at the University of Sussex, a position he has held since retiring from teaching in 1991. From 1979-1991 he was Chair of History at Sussex. He is the author of The Kaiser and His Court: Wilhelm II and the Government of Germany (1994), which won the Wolfson History Prize. He is currently working on the third volume of his biography of Kaiser Wilhelm II. The first two volumes published to date: Young Wilhelm. The Kaiser’s Early Life 1869-1888 (Munich 1993, Cambridge 1998) and Wilhelm II. The Kaiser’s Personal Monarchy 1888- 1900 (Munich 2001 and Cambridge 2004) have received international recognition. The biography was awarded the Gissings Prize in 2002.

15 March 2005

Hilde and Max Kochmann Memorial Lecture

Research Professor Edward Timms, University of Sussex
Origins and Angels: Karl Kraus’s Religious Ideas as Interpreted by gershom Scholem and Walter Benjamin.

Kraus was a double renegade, rejecting both Church and Synagogue, but sensitive readers of his magazine Die Fackel were aware of the religious dimension of his writings. Walter Benjamin and Gershom Scholem were both fascinated by this aspect. The theme of this lecture is their debate about the religious implications of Kraus’s writings, especially his attitude to language. A careful reading of recently published sources, especially Benjamin’s letters and Scholem’s diaries, makes it possible to reconstruct their Krausorientated debate about the ‘messianic movement of language’, which began in 1918 while they were students at the University of Berne and continued intermittently for twenty years, inspiring a wealth of intellectual refl ection and philosophical insight.

Edward Timms is Research Professor in History at the Centre for German-Jewish Studies, University of Sussex. His specialist field of interest is Austrian Jewish cultural history. He is best known for his book Karl Kraus – Apocalyptic Satirist: Culture and Catastrophe in Habsburg Vienna first published in 1986 and subsequently translated into several other languages. Recent publications include Romantic Communist: The Life and Work of Nazim Hikmet (1999) co-edited with Saime Gosku; Writing After Hitler: The Work of Jakov Lind (2001), co-edited with Andrea Hammel and Silke Hassler; and Intellectual Migration and Cultural Transformation: Refugees from National Socialism in the English Speaking World (2003), co-edited with Jon Hughes. His second volume on Karl Kraus, Karl Kraus – Apocalyptic Satirist: The German-Jewish Dilemma between the World Wars is scheduled for publication in 2005.

22 March 2005

Dr Jael Geis
“Yes, you have to forgive your enemies, but not before they are hanged.” Reflections on Revenge for the Destruction of European Jewry

The majority of Jews living in Germany in the immediate aftermath of the war expressed very little desire for revenge. Considering the Nazi aggression directed at every single Jew and Judaism on the one hand, and the complete suppression of one’s own aggression as a condition of survival on the other hand, one would have expected a ringing cry for vengeance at the very least. Why was there so little of it? In order to understand this surprising absence, Dr Geis will investigate issues relating to estrangement, isolation, selfpreservation, lack of energy and last but not least, the teachings of Judaism.

Jael Geis is a freelance historian from Berlin. Her specialist field is German-Jewish relations of the immediate post-war period. She is the author of Leftover Lives: Jews of German Descent in the British and American Zones of Germany 1945-1949. She is currently working on Jews in the Federal Republic of Germany during the 1950s.

6 April 2005
Dr Avraham Barkai
The Centralverein and the Search for a Modern Jewish Identity

The Centralverein deutscher Staatsbürger jüdischen Glaubens (Central Union of German Citizens of Jewish Faith), known as the C.V., was the most infl uential Jewish representative body before and during the Nazi Era. The lecture, based on the fi rst comprehensive study of the CV includes a signifi cant amount of recent archival fi ndings and will trace how this institution shaped German Jewish identity.

Avraham Barkai was born in Berlin and now lives on a kibbutz in Israel. He has worked as a lecturer and researcher at the University of Tel Aviv, the Leo Baeck Institute in Jerusalem and the research institute of Yad Vashem. He has written many books and essays, in particular about German- Jewish history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and on National Socialism. He is the co-editor of the series Deutsch-Jüdische Geschichte in der Neuzeit published by the Beck Verlag 1996/1997.

12 April 2005

Dr Cynthia Hooper
Volunteers against Fascism, yet Victims of Dictatorship: Remembering the Stalin Era in Soviet Russia

How did members of the Soviet Communist Party recall the Stalin era and respond to successive, Kremlin-sanctioned retellings of the Soviet past? How did participants in the repressions justify their actions in retrospect? Soviet terror during the 1930s involved an extraordinarily high level of mass mobilization in practices of denunciation, investigation, and surveillance, as well as fl uid, constantly shifting boundaries between “perpetrators” and “victims,” prosecution and defence. As a result, offi cials charged with “explaining” the Stalin era, most notably under Nikita Khrushchev, often found themselves at a loss for words. Frequently seeking to simplify the dynamics of past political repression, they argued that virtually everyone had been a prisoner under Stalin and trapped in a coercive system. Yet Communist leaders on the other hand vociferously rejected any possible comparisons between Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia and the role of the individual in each. How did Soviet leaders and ordinary citizens struggle to distinguish between the two regimes?

Cynthia Hooper is a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute and received her Ph.D. in Soviet history from Princeton University in 2003. She was recently awarded a two-year fellowship from the U.K. Arts and Humanities Research Board to conduct archival research in cities across Russia and is currently preparing her dissertation, Terror from Within: Participation and Coercion in Soviet Power, 1924-1964, for publication. Her academic interests focus on the practice of dictatorship in the modern era, both inside the Soviet Union and throughout Eurasia. Dr Hooper was a Fraenkel prizewinner in 2003.

4 May 2005

Professor Richard J. Evans, University of Cambridge
Coercion and Consent in Nazi Germany

Coercion and Consent in Nazi Germany In the years after the end of the Second World War, historians saw the Third Reich as a totalitarian dictatorship in which terror and coercion cowed the population into submission and prevented any serious resistance to Nazi rule. More recently however, this view has come under increasing attack, and a new consensus has emerged which sees the regime as one to which the great mass of ordinary Germans gave their voluntary and often enthusiastic support. Dissent and resistance were crushed not by terror imposed from above, but by the ‘self-surveillance’ of the population, who secretly denounced non-conformists to the Gestapo. This lecture questions the new consensus and argues that it is time to take a fresh look at the balance of coercion and consent in Nazi Germany.

Richard J. Evans is Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University. His main area of interest is German history, especially social and cultural history from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. Since acting as principal expert witness in the David Irving libel trial before the High Court in London in 2000, his work has dealt with Holocaust denial and the clash of epistemologies when history enters the courtroom. He is the author of numerous books including In Hitler’s Shadow: West German Historians and the Attempt to Escape from the Nazi Past (1989), In Defence of History (second edition with Reply to Critics 2001, first published 1997), and Telling Lies about Hitler: History, the Holocaust and the David Irving Trial (2002). He is currently writing a large-scale history of the Third Reich; volume one, covering the period to July 1933, was published in October 2003, volume two, dealing with the years 1933-39, is scheduled for publication in October 2005, and volume three, covering the years 1933-45 is to be published in September 2007.

8 June 2005

Dr Nikolaus Wachsmann (Birkbeck College, London)
Prisons and Camps. Terror and Confinement in Nazi Germany

This lecture compares and contrasts the two main sites of confi nement and terror in the Third Reich: the SS concentration camps and the regular prisons controlled by the legal apparatus. Looking at the conditions inside the two institutions, inmate relations, and the behaviour of their respective offi cials, the lecture will highlight differences and similarities between these two parallel institutions of imprisonment.

Nikolaus Wachsmann is a Lecturer in Modern German History at Birkbeck College (University of London). He has written widely on Nazi terror and is the author of Hitler’s Prisons. Legal Terror in Nazi Germany (Yale University Press, 2004). In 2001, he was jointly awarded the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History for his research on German prisons.