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Institute for the History of German Jews (IGdJ)


The Institute for the History of German Jews (Institut für die Geschichte der deutschen Juden), which opened in 1966, is the oldest (and for a long time was the only) scientific institution of its kind in the Federal Republic. The IGdJ, a foundation under civil law sponsored by the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, is dedicated to researching the history of German Jews and promoting young academics in this field in accordance with its statutes. It also has the task of making research results generally accessible. For example, the publication series “Hamburg Contributions to the History of German Jews” was founded in 1969, and since then numerous monographs, documentation and anthologies have appeared.



In order to arouse interest in German-Jewish history among students and to promote young academics, IGdJ staff regularly hold courses, which they offer primarily, but not exclusively, at the History Department of the University of Hamburg. In seminars, exercises and lectures, different topics and epochs of the Jewish past and present are addressed, which also reflect the current profile of the IGdJ.


Employees of the IGdJ regularly advise and accompany students who are dealing with topics of Jewish history in their bachelor’s or master’s theses. Doctoral projects at the University of Hamburg and at other German universities are also supervised by the scientists working at the IGdJ, who are also involved in specialist organizations – such as the scientific working group of the Leo Baeck Institute, the Society for Research into the History of the Jews or the Association of Judaists – or use them as liaison lecturers for the promotion of young people.

German Israeli Archival Exchange Colloquium (GIAEC)

The GIAEC is a cooperation project of the IGdJ, the Moses Mendelssohn Center for European-Jewish Studies (Potsdam) and Tel Aviv University. It was created in 2014 by Prof. Dr. Miriam Ruerup and Dr. Sagi Schäfer initiates and offers five doctoral students from Germany and Israel the opportunity to present and network their own doctoral project internationally, to organize and carry out archival research in Germany and Israel and to talk to leading experts in both countries about Jewish history, culture and politics to enter the discussion.

The interdisciplinary format includes a one-week stay in Germany and Israel. Meanwhile, important archives, libraries and research institutions are visited. The intensive examination of the various topics is intended to promote the doctoral students, strengthen binational networking and show the participants possible fields of work.


The IGdJ offers students of history, Jewish studies, Jewish studies, political science, etc. the opportunity to gain insights into the fields of work of a scientific research institution.

Research projects

In order to counteract the widespread equation of Jewish history with a history of passive persecution, the research focus of the IGdJ was and is on the historical reconstruction of German-Jewish existence from the early modern period to the post-war period and the beginnings of the Federal Republic.

Digital offers

The digital work area bundles the digital offers of the IGdJ, which are located at the interface between research and communication. In accordance with its digital history research focus, the IGdJ designs and implements various formats that enable historical research using digital means, are available for scientific reuse and appeal to a broad public

Jewish Hamburg

Reference work project on the Jewish side of the city of Hamburg. They wanted to contribute to making knowledge about Jewish Hamburg, its history, its personalities and most important organizations accessible to a broad public.