College for the Science of Judaism

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The former university building at 9 Tucholskystraße

The Berlin-based University for the Science of Judaism (HWJ) existed as an academic research and study facility from 1872 to 1942.


The University for the Science of Judaism was opened on May 6, 1872 in Berlin as an independent educational institution for the purpose of maintaining, further training and disseminating the science of Judaism . Its founding members included Abraham Geiger , Ludwig Philippson and Salomon Neumann . The university was given its own building in 1907 at Artilleriestraße 14, today Tucholskystraße 9 in Berlin-Mitte .

From 1883 to 1922 and again from 1933 to 1942 it was called the "Educational Institute for the Science of Judaism".

The university should be based on impartial scientific research and teaching that is not tied to any religious direction, treat the entire field of the science of Judaism and be accessible to all students regardless of faith or faculty. In the period that followed, however, it was expanded to include the scientific training of rabbis and religious teachers.

Famous teachers included Leo Baeck , David Cassel , Hermann Cohen , Ismar Elbogen , Ernst Grumach , Julius Guttmann , Leopold Lucas , Chajim Steinthal , Eugen Täubler , Naftali Herz Tur-Sinai , Max Wiener .

The students included Felix Adler , Emil Fackenheim , Abraham Joshua Heschel , Julius Jelski , Regina Jonas , Emil Kronheim , Alex Lewin , Samuel Poznanski (1864–1921), Solomon Schechter , Julius Cohn , Leo Trepp , Martin Salomonski (1901–08 ) and David Selver .

Final phase

During the National Socialist rule , advanced training courses for Jewish social work were set up. A move of the institute to London failed. On July 19, 1942, the facility was closed and the valuable inventory was confiscated. The only remaining teacher and rabbi Leo Baeck was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1943 together with the remaining students . Regina Jonas , who had been trained as a religion teacher and subsequently the first female rabbi, had already been deported to Theresienstadt with her mother on November 6, 1942.

Post-history and today's situation

Since there was no longer any Western European rabbi training center after the college was closed, Leo Baeck College was founded in London in 1956 . The founding director was the college graduate, Rabbi Werner van der Zyl from Berlin. The first lecturers were teachers at the university, such as Rabbi Leo Baeck, Rabbi Ignaz Maybaum, Arjeh Dörfler or Ellen Littmann. The first librarian, J. Dörfler, was a former university librarian.

The former university building at Tucholskystraße 9 was acquired by the Central Council of Jews in Germany and opened on April 19, 1999 as the "Leo-Baeck-Haus". It serves as the seat of the Central Council.

The University for Jewish Studies Heidelberg was founded in 1979 under the auspices of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, which is now the largest institution of its kind in Europe and has its own right to award doctorates. It offers Jewish and non-Jewish students a variety of science-oriented and community-based bachelor's and master's programs, including state examination courses in Jewish religious studies.

In 1999 the Abraham Geiger College was founded at the University of Potsdam to train liberal rabbis . It was part of the library of Leo Baeck, the 2006 family restituted were. On September 14, 2006, the first three rabbis in Germany since the Shoah were ordained in the New Synagogue in Dresden .

Academy for the Science of Judaism

In addition to the university (or educational institution) for the Science of Judaism there as also in Berlin (and in 1919) free place of research , founded the Academy for Jewish Studies at the initiative of Hermann Cohen, inspired by Franz Rosenzweig's signature It's time , came about. It existed until 1934 and started with the sections: Talmud - General History - Literary History - Philosophy - Statistics and Economics. Within this academy there was a research institute; Fritz Bamberger was one of his well-known researchers. The first director was Eugen Täubler .

Another Jewish educational institution was the Veitel Heine Ephraimsche Lehranstalt , founded in 1783 from the estate of Veitel Heine Ephraim , which, also in Berlin, was dedicated to the study of the Talmud and Jewish science. It was closed towards the end of the 1920s.

See also


  • Festschrift for the 50th anniversary of the University for the Science of Judaism in Berlin. Philo-Verlag, Berlin 1922 (also online in the Freimann Collection / Judaica Frankfurt).
  • Siegmund Kaznelson (ed.): Jews in the German cultural area. A compilation. 3rd edition with additions and corrections. Jewish publishing house, Berlin 1962.
  • Kurt Wilhelm (Hrsg.): Science of Judaism in the German language area. A cross-section (= series of scientific papers of the Leo-Baeck-Institut. Vol. 16, 1–2, ISSN  0459-097X ). 2 volumes. Mohr (Siebeck), Tübingen 1967.
  • Marianne Awerbuch : The college for the science of Judaism. In: Reimer Hansen, Wolfgang Ribbe : History in Berlin in the 19th and 20th centuries: personalities and institutions . Berlin: de Gruyter, 1992, pp. 517-551.
  • Herbert A. Strauss : The last years of the college (educational institution) of Judaism, Berlin: 1936–1942. In: Julius Carlebach (Hrsg.): Wissenschaft des Judentums. Beginnings of Jewish Studies in Europe . Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft 1992, pp. 36–58.
  • Avraham Barkai : Oscar Wassermann and Deutsche Bank . Banker in a difficult time. Beck, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-406-52958-5 .
  • Irene Kaufmann: The College for the Science of Judaism (1872-1942). With a contribution by Daniela Gauding. Published by the Centrum Judaicum , Hentrich & Hentrich , Teetz / Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-938485-19-1 (= Jewish miniatures. Volume 50).
  • Christian Wiese : College for the Science of Judaism. In: Dan Diner (Ed.): Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture (EJGK). Volume 3: He-Lu. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2012, ISBN 978-3-476-02503-6 , pp. 75-81 ( ISBN 978-3-476-02500-5 all seven volumes).
  • Michael Brenner : Academy for the Science of Judaism. In: Dan Diner (Ed.): Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture (EJGK). Volume 1: A-Cl. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2011, ISBN 978-3-476-02501-2 , pp. 20-22.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Documented spelling also: "... Judenthums" (e.g. 1910)
  2. Veitel Heine Ephraim'sche educational institution (Berlin)