The Hochschule. Material History and Intellectual Legacy

Julia Roos's picture
November 29, 2022 to November 30, 2022
Subject Fields: 
Jewish History / Studies

Held at the Centrum Judaicum in Berlin on November 29–30 2022, this international conference by the Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem and Leibniz Institute for Jewish History and Culture – Simon Dubnow marks the 150th anniversary of the »Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums,« as well as 80 years since its closure by the Nazi regime.

Established in 1872 against the background of the permanent exclusion of Jewish Studies and rabbinical training from German universities, the »Hochschule« became one of the leading Jewish academic institutions in Germany – a spiritual home for prominent Jewish
scholars such as Leo Baeck, Hermann Cohen, Ismar Elbogen, Max Wiener, Emil Fackenheim, Abraham Geiger, Julius Guttmann, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Solomon Schechter, and Eugen Täubler. Over its seven-decade lifetime, the »Hochschule« developed a unique tradition of learning that promoted a broad and liberal understanding of Jewish culture and thought. Although it managed to carry on its work even after November 1938, when most German-Jewish institutions had been dissolved, the »Hochschule« closed for good in 1942, and the majority of its scholars and students perished in the Holocaust. However, the »Hochschule’s« legacy was kept alive against all odds: Some of its members managed to flee Germany and continued their intellectual work in new homelands. This legacy is also preserved in the »Hochschule’s« library, whose remnants survived the war and were disseminated across numerous countries.

This conference brings together scholars dealing with the intellectual legacy of the »Hochschule« as well as with the material aspects of the institution’s historical development. To add a fresh perspective to the question of German-Jewish cultural heritage and its development in the 20th century, we want to focus especially on the post-Holocaust »Hochschule« to understand what its remains may teach us about the »Wissenschaft des Judentums,« Jewish scholarship and culture more broadly.

Venue and Registration

Stiftung Neue Synagoge Berlin – Centrum Judaicum, Oranienburger Straße 28–30, 10117 Berlin, Germany
The international conference is also taking place digitally.
For online and in-person attendance please register here at least one day in advance:



Tuesday, November 29, 2022


12.30 p.m. (Berlin, UTC +2)

Yfaat Weiss/Anja Siegemund



12.45 p.m.

(Material) History and Afterlife of the Hochschule

Chair: TBA


Daniel Schwartz

Hochschule-Style. »Wissenschaft des Judentums« in the Post-Holocaust World

Kerstin von der Krone

Berlin in Breslau: Tracing the Legacy of the Hochschule through the »Monatsschrift für Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums«


2.15 p.m

Coffee Break


2.45 p.m.

Translocation, Exile and New Contexts of Jewish Collections – A Conceptual Framework

Chair: TBA


Caroline Jessen

Reconstructing Contexts. Books and Their Usage

Zsuzsanna Toronyi

Material Evidences of German Jewish Scholarship in Budapest

Rachel Heuberger

The Significance of a Library Catalogue for Jewish Studies: The Digital Reconstruction of the Freimann Collection in Frankfurt am Main


4.45 p.m.

Coffee Break


5.15 p.m.

Keynote Lecture

Chair: Irene Aue-Ben-David


Nils Roemer

Historicities and Legacies of »Wissenschaft des Judentums«, Then and Now


Wednesday, November 30, 2022


1 p.m.

The Library and Librarians of the »Hochschule«

Chair: Miriam Rürup


Avriel Bar-Levav

The Ecology of Jewish Seminary Libraries in the 19th and early 20 Century

Bettina Farack

The Last Years of the Library of the »Hochschule«

Irene Munster

Berlin Legacy: Suse Hallenstein


3 p.m.

Coffee Break


3.30 p.m.

Transfer of Knowledge and Objects of the »Hochschule«

Chair: Alina Gromova


Anna Holzer-Kawalko

Forgotten Heritage: The Fate of the »Hochschule« Library in Israel

Noah S. Gerber

From Barbaric to Promised Land: Refugee Scholars and Hebrew Books in the Wake of the Catastrophe

Irene Aue-Ben-David

Selma Stern‘s Research on German-Jewish History in Exile – a Material Perspective


5.30 p.m.

Coffee Break


5.45 p.m.

Concluding Remarks – Future Perspectives: German Jewish Cultural Heritage outside Germany

Chair: Felix Steilen



Emily Bilski

Joachim Schlör

Christian Wiese


Contact Info: 

Leibniz Institute for Jewish History and Culture – Simon Dubnow (DI)
Goldschmidtstraße 28
D-04103 Leipzig

Contact Email: