E-Workshop: (Re-)Collections – Jewish Archives & Cultural Memory

Following Aleida Assmann’s description of the archive as potential memory or as material precondition for future cultural memories, the workshop seeks to combine perspectives from memory studies, archival science and Jewish history.

While unlocking the potentials of archival sources, scholarship on European-Jewish history in the 20th century is confronted with the challenge of transferring scattered, forgotten or otherwise inaccessible archives into scholarly and public discourse. Ambitious projects like the complete edition and English translation of the Ringelblum-Archive from the Warsaw Ghetto attest to this challenge. Our workshop addresses questions that arise from these transfer processes between archive and memory.

What are the criteria and the agents involved in selecting and interpreting the documents? Which (scholarly, technical, artistic) means are available to make them accessible? How can the history of scattered Jewish collections be traced back through time and space? What is the relationship between individual contribution and collective memory? To what extend do these studies have a political relevance for current discourses on European-Jewish history?




To participate in this workshop, please use the following Zoom meeting registration link:



Upon completing the registration, you will receive an email with individual access to the meeting.



MONDAY, MAY 10, 2021                               starting: 08:00 EST | 13:00 WET |14:00 CET| 15:00 IST


Welcome and Introduction                                                                                   14:00-14:15


To Remember, to Forget. Jewish Archives and/as Cultural Memory          14:15-15:45

Chair: Daniel Wildmann

  1. Sigrid Weigel (ZfL Berlin, DE): The grave and the archive
  2. Simon May (King’s College London, UK): Archives, moral dilemma, and memory
  • discussion

Ingathering the Exiles. Challenges of Dispersion                                       16:15-17:45

Chair: Martina Mampieri

  1. Stefan Litt (NLI Jerusalem, IL): Home or Exile? German language personal archives in the collections of the National Library of Israel
  2. Katarzyna Person (JHI Warsaw, PL): Ringelblum Archive and crossing borders in the immediate postwar world
  • discussion

From Storage to Story. Telling the Archives                                              18:15-19:45

Chair: Sebastian Schirrmeister

  1. Anika Reichwald (JM Hohenems, AT): A slightly different approach – the Jewish Museum Hohenems
  2. Janis Lutz, Franziska Krah (JM Frankfurt/Main, DE): Out of the archive – into the showcase? The Jewish Museum Frankfurt
  • discussion


TUESDAY, MAY 11, 2021                              starting: 08:30 EST | 13:30 WET |14:30 CET| 15:30 IST

Reading the Archive. Case Studies                                                                 14:30-16:00

Chair: Kora Baumbach

  1. Weronika Romanik (Li-Ko Göttingen, DE): Transformations of memory. The works of the resistance leader from the underground archive of the Białystok Ghetto
  2. Caroline Jessen (DLA Marbach, DE): “… separated by a cruel fate”: The history of Salman Schocken’s Novalis collection
  • discussion

Politics of Possession. Theft, Rescue and Restitution                               16:30-18:00

Chair: Birgit Erdle

  1. Anna-Carolin Augustin (GHI Washington D.C., US): Ingathering objects, neglecting provenances. The Zvi Sofer Judaica Collection as archive of (no) knowledge and memory
  2. Jacques Schuhmacher (V&A London, UK): ‘There is no doubt that it would have been better to look at this much sooner’. British Museums and Nazi-era provenance
  • discussion

Closing remarks and final discussion                                                               18:30-19:00



The workshop is organized by Dr. Weronika Romanik and Dr. Sebastian Schirrmeister, Moritz Stern Early Career Fellows for Modern Jewish Studies, and Prof. Dr. Birgit Erdle, Senior Fellow-in Residence at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg, in cooperation with Dr. Martina Mampieri, Martin Buber Society of Fellows, Hebrew University Jerusalem. Coordination: Dr. Kora Baumbach, tech support: Jan-Wilke Brandt.

Hosted by Lichtenberg-Kolleg, The Göttingen Institute for Advanced Study in collaboration with the Leo Baeck Institute London.