Migrant Knowledge

Call for Proposals: Online Source Portal ‘History of the German-Jewish Diaspora’

For a German version of this call, please visit Geschichte der deutsch-jüdischen Diaspora Deadline: January 31, 2024.

The Moses Mendelssohn Center for European-Jewish Studies is seeking authors for a digital platform. It is dedicated to the lifeworlds of German-speaking Jewish women and men who emigrated or fled from their countries of origin beginning in the 1820s, passing through and building new lives in various countries – from A as in Argentina to Z as in Zimbabwe – especially after 1933. The resource will not only present individual stories of escape and emigration, but also explore questions of where, when, and in what numbers these migrants left German-speaking Europe. Further, it will illuminate processes of diasporic group formation, transnational networks, and plural identities beyond 1945.

The online source portal is part of a hybrid publication project of the Leo Baeck Institute (LBI), specifically its Academic Working Group (WAG). Its goal is to compile the first ever comprehensive history of the German Jewish Diaspora. Alongside the digital platform, a volume will be published as part of the LBI’s distinguished series "German Jewish History in Modern Times" (C. H. Beck Munich). Complementing the volume’s broad survey of the subject matter, the online platform will present biographical case studies and lesser known events and locations in greater detail. The print publication will include links to articles on the digital platform.

The publication project is not thematically restricted to German Jews per se, but is rather dedicated to individuals who are associated with a German-speaking and culturally German community. It is aimed at university students, researchers, and teachers, but also at school classes and interested lay people. The online platform will have a multilingual design with an initial release in German and English and prospects for a future Spanish version as well.

We are currently seeking proposed articles for this project about

i) Sources

ii) Historical figures

Sources may include historical texts, images, audio recordings, or audiovisual documents. Three-dimensional objects are expressly welcome. The sources will be textually prepared through a source description (about 150–200 words each) and a source interpretation (about 1,500 words each). Each source should be situated in terms of its production context and intended use, and the authors should consider unresolved questions and alternative interpretations.

The project will also profile individual historical figures who left the German-speaking region of Europe, thereby giving a human face to the German-Jewish Diaspora and combating the impersonal nature often associated with the theme of migration. Articles about individuals

should vividly illustrate their life stories with photographs and primary-source first-person accounts. They should comprise about 1,500–2,500 words. The individual sources and historical figures should highlight overarching issues and key aspects of the German-Jewish Diaspora, combining facts with analytical interpretation. Possible thematic categories to which they can be assigned include:

Diaspora Pathways: Bureaucracy of emigration and escape; temporary refuge and transmigration; refuge in (post)colonial spaces

Arrival: Jewish communities; welfare and social clubs; press and publishing; kindergartens, schools, retirement homes; art and cultural institutions; sports clubs; cafés

Everyday Life: Demographics; professional life; education and upbringing; domestic culture; life in the center vs. periphery

Identity and Religiosity: Diversity of German speakers; landsmanshaftn; religious identities (Reform Judaism, Neo-Orthodoxy, etc.); synagogues and congregations; hybrid identities

Gender and Generations: Gender roles; domestic servant emigration; family life and childrearing, ”Kindertransport”; post-migrant perspectives

Transnational Networks: Associations and advocacy groups; newspapers and magazines; religious networks; lodges; informal networks (among neighbors, friends, and family)

Language: Publishing; Stammtisch; diasporic humor, speechlessness, language change, language hybridity

Encounters: Relations between longstanding residents and newcomers: exclusion, antisemitism | coexistence, cooperation; enemy aliens; while serving as Allied soldiers; encounters with other Jewish groups; the Civil Rights movement, anti-apartheid movement

Culture and Knowledge Transfer: Emigration of scholars and scientists; literature, art, theater and music; architecture; appropriation of cultural and knowledge assets

Return: Return as interrogation officers, interpreters or GIs; returnees after 1945; reconstruction of Jewish communities; organized and informal visits; connections to places of origin and discussions of return migration

Legacy and Memory: German-speaking cultural heritage (intangible and tangible); archives, libraries, museums, etc., for preserving this heritage; transgenerational transmission; memoirs, oral history, literature, theater, music, and film; the struggle for ”Wiedergutmachung” (reparations) as a diasporic project

Please send brief, meaningful proposals that categorize the source or historical person in a thematic category and draw on pertinent published research, together with a short CV, to Dr. Lisa Sophie Gebhard (diaspora@juedische-geschichte-online.net) by January January 31, 2024. We will inform you without delay whether your proposal has been accepted. The deadline for submitting texts in German or English is scheduled for May 2024. The contributions will be subject to editorial supervision and a peer review process. A highly qualified, international advisory board advisory board is overseeing the project. We also encourage early-career scholars to submit proposals!