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 Judentums (Higher Institute for Jewish Studies), the most important liberal rabbinical seminary in the German-speaking world. It was founded in 1872 and forced to close by the Nazis in 1942.
This groundbreaking exhibition will educate about historical issues using physical and digital spaces in an innovative fashion. The project presents the history of the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums Berlin and traces the remains of its library that are today scattered across the globe. It seeks to educate a broad audience about provenance issues and the unique history of the Hochschule and its community. In an international campaign, a global public is invited to become actively involved in a citizen science project. Anyone will be able to contribute to the search for books that were looted by the Nazis. The aim is to reunite remnants of the library in a dynamic virtual map. The campaign will also feature physical installations that mark spaces across the globe where traces of the Hochschule library have been discovered.
"The Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums was one of the central institutions of German liberal Judaism during the interwar period. The exhibition will help to illustrate the great diversity of Jewish society in Germany before the Shoah." Professor David Rechter, Chairman of the Leo Baeck Institute London.
"Our participatory approach combines the physical and digital world. It is geared towards a young audience inviting pupils and students to explore the vibrant community of a German-Jewish educational institution that was attacked and destroyed by the Nazis. We pursue a hands-on approach and hope many young people will get involved in the global search for the Hochschule books in libraries, collections and in antiquarian bookshops." Dr. Irene Aue-Ben-David, Director of the Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem.
The Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future (EVZ) sees the project, which is scheduled to run for 2 years, as an important and valuable contribution to the success of its Education Agenda 'Nazi Injustice' The latter has been initiated in collaboration with the German Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) in 2021. The central aim of this program is to strengthen democratic attitudes and to counter sentiments of antisemitism, antigypsism, racism, and hostility against the LGTBQ+ community.
The PDF version of this press release is available to download here.