Research into anti-Semitism

The purpose of funding research projects on current dynamics and challenges of anti-Semitism in Germany and Europe is to adequately counter anti-Semitism.

Stop Antisemitism als Graffiti auf eine Wand gesprüht

Adobe Stock / M-SUR

Current dynamics and challenges of anti-Semitism

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is supporting ten research networks at universities and non-university institutions from all over Germany with around 12 million euros. In the research networks, a total of 31 sub-projects conduct research on topics such as the "prevention of anti-Semitism in education", "tackling anti-Semitism in legal contexts", "anti-Semitic aspects in Christianity" and "anti-Semitism and social media" as well as on the anti-Semitic experiences of the Jewish communities and their reactions to such experiences. With in-depth findings and concrete concepts and measures, the projects are intended to help political stakeholders and the society to counter anti-Semitic words and deeds appropriately and oppose them effectively on the basis of academic findings.

The researchers in these projects offer assistance to the civil society and to the administration for combating anti-Semitism. The funding line also aims to strengthen the research into anti-Semitism in Germany and to anchor it better in the German research landscape. To this end, research in various disciplines and research fields, which has often been unconnected so far, is now being more closely interlinked across disciplines and locations. This will be done over a total period of four years through cooperation on common research questions within the funded networks on the one hand and through cross-network activities on the other. The projects will be flanked by an accompanying project that will support the researchers in academic networking and in their transfer measures.

The funding guideline (Federal Gazette of April 7, 2020), together with other BMBF funding activities, belongs to the extended thematic complex of research into radicalisation and extremism of the BMBF Framework Programme for the Humanities and Social Sciences. See below for an introduction of the individual collaborative projects.

Research project on the Wolfgang Haney Collection

In another collaborative project, "Der Sammler und seine Dinge” (The Collector and His Things), the Centre for Research on Anti-Semitism (ZfA) at the TU Berlin and the Foundation of the German Historical Museum (DHM) are researching the comprehensive "Wolfgang Haney Collection" that has around 15,000 artefacts. The ZfA examines the history of anti-Semitic everyday objects and links them to the history of the collection as well as to the biography of the collector Wolfgang Haney. With financial support from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States, the DHM acquired the "Wolfgang Haney Collection", which is outstanding for research into anti-Semitism. The DHM makes the collection available to the ZfA for research purposes, carries out its own indexing and archiving work and will showcase artefacts from the Haney Collection to the public in its new permanent exhibition.

The Haney Collection includes important objects that bear witness to the history of anti-Semitism, the persecution and murder of European Jews, to concentration camps and ghettos, to the media's coming to terms with National Socialism after 1945 and to contemporary forms of right-wing extremism. The DHM preserves and maintains the collection as a whole and protects it from being traded on the open market as a testimony to contemporary history.

FoNA21 – research network Antisemitism in the 21st century

TU Berlin, Center for Research on Antisemitism

Project management: Prof. Dr. Stefanie Schüler-Springorum (TU Berlin)
Objective: The “meta project” supports the research projects, coordinates networking opportunities among them and ensures transfer of research findings to civil society stakeholders.

AIES – Antisemitism in European school curricula

Europa-Universität Flensburg - Zentrum für Bildungs-, Unterrichts-, Schul- und Sozialisationsforschung (ZeBUSS); Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf – Institut für Romanistik

Project management: Prof. Dr Iulia-Karin Partrut (Europa-Universität Flensburg)
Objective: The research group explores dynamics, characteristics and effects of Antisemitism in Europe and cooperates with schools in Germany, France, Spain and Romania to develop multi-lingual digital teaching materials across subjects for the prevention of Antisemitism.

RESPOND – saying NO to online hate speech against Jews. Developing, implementing and evaluating a training for disseminators to counter antisemitic hate speech among young people on social media

Touro College Berlin gGmbH; Universität Potsdam – Departement Inklusionspädagogik; FH Bielefeld – Fachbereich Sozialwesen; Jüdische Gemeinde zu Berlin (Praxispartner)

Project management: Prof. Dr. Özen Odağ (Touro College Berlin gGmbH)
Objective: The research group RESPOND aims to develop a counter voice for young people in order to fight antisemitic hate speech online. In a first step, the project explores the forms of manifestation of Antisemitism in social media outlets and analyses young people’s vulnerability and competence in dealing with them. Subsequently, RESPOND will develop, implement and evaluate a training for disseminators in order to develop media literacy in dealing with antisemitic online hate speech. Findings from the training will be further disseminated to teachers.    

ChrisZa – Christian characteristics of contemporary Antisemitism

Freie Universität Berlin – Seminar für Katholische Theologie; Georg-Eckert-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für internationale Schulbuchforschung; Evangelische Akademien in Deutschland e.V

Project management: Prof. Dr. Rainer Kampling (Freie Universität Berlin)
Objective: The research group identifies and analyses elements of Christianity in historic as well as contemporary forms of Antisemitism. A broad concept of transfer is supposed to ensure conveyance of research findings to the scientific community, schools and adult education. Three aligned sub-projects in historical fundamental research as well as research on educational media will explore the emergence of Antisemitism as well as its persistence.

NetOlam –Jewish cemeteries in the focus of Antisemitism and its prevention

Salomon Ludwig Steinheim-Institut für deutsch-jüdische Geschichte an der Universität Duisburg-Essen; Technische Universität Braunschweig – Bet Tfila –Forschungsstelle für jüdische Architektur in Europa; Bayerisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege, Fachbereich „Erfassung jüdischer Grabmäler in Bayern“

Project management: Dr. Cordula Lissner (Salomon Ludwig Steinheim-Institut)
Objective: Jewish cemeteries are meant to last. However, attacks have shown that they are vulnerable places. The research group Net Olam makes an essential contribution through a broad and interdisciplinary data collection which is supposed to form a base for further research undertakings. By developing hand outs and specific measures for the protection of vulnerable objects, the project contributes to concepts of prevention.

Everyday culture – Turning the object into the subject. Conveying Jewish everyday culture in Germany

Leibniz-Institut für jüdische Geschichte und Kultur – Simon Dubnow (DI); Georg-Eckert-Institut – Leibniz-Institut für internationale Schulbuchforschung; Arbeitskreis Deutsch-Jüdische Geschichte im Verband der Geschichtslehrer Deutschlands e.V. (VDG)

Project management: Prof. Dr. Yfaat Weiss (Leibniz-Institut für jüdische Geschichte und Kultur – Simon Dubnow)
Objective: The research group combines cultural-historic fundamental research and applied research on educational materials. The results will be processed and conveyed to disseminators and teachers in the field of historical-political education to use them for the prevention of Antisemitism. Jews are here not portrayed primarily as victims of discrimination and persecution but as subjects with plural-religious, secular and political identities.

ASJust – Struggling for Justice – Antisemitism as a judicial challenge

Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen - Fachbereich Rechtswissenschaft; Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin – Lehrstuhl für Öffentliches Recht und Geschlechterstudien; Universität Heidelberg – Institut für ausländisches und internationales Privat- und Wirtschaftsrecht; Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum für europäisch-jüdische Studien; Bundesverband der Recherche- und Informationsstellen Antisemitismus e.V.

Project management: Prof. Dr. Thilo Marauhn (Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen)
Objective: The research group analyses the role of the judiciary in fighting Antisemitism. It takes stock of the most important legal fields, explores the legal interpretation of (the term) Antisemitism, addresses its consideration in the context of legal processes and takes into account the perspective of those affected.

AE3G – Experiences of Antisemitism in the Third Generation. On the re-actualisation of extreme trauma among descendants of survivors of the Shoah

Sigmund-Freud-Institut; Katholische Hochschule Nordrhein-Westfalen; Technische Universität Berlin – FG Allgemeine Linguistik

Project management: Dr. Kurt Grünberg (Sigmund-Freud-Institut)
Objective: The interdisciplinary project focusses on the experiences of Antisemitism among Third Generation – descendants of Shoah survivors. It will be analysed if and how contemporary Antisemitism re-actualizes the grandparents’ experiences of persecution in a transgenerational manner in the life of today’s Third Generation descendants.

Ritual practice -  Jewish reactions on Antisemitism: The dissolution of boundaries of what can be said and practices in Jewish ritual practice

Hochschule für Jüdische Studien Heidelberg / Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland; Duisburger Institut für Sprach- und Sozialforschung e.V.

Project management: Rabbinerin Prof. Birgit Klein (Hochschule für Jüdische Studien Heidelberg)
Objective: The project examines to what extent Jews are being influenced in their ritual practice by anti-Jewish portrayals or anti-Jewish reactions toward their rituals. Workshops and different online materials will contribute to the conveyance of unprejudiced knowledge on Jewish ritual practice.

EMPATHIA³ - EMpowering Police officers And TeacHers In Arguing Against Antisemitism

Ruhr-Universität Bochum – Historisches Institut und Center for Religious Studies; Tikvah Institut gemeinnützige UG; Universität Bielefeld – Fakultät für Erziehungswissenschaft; Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen - Hector Institut für Empirische Bildungsforschung; Hochschule für Polizei und öffentliche Verwaltung NRW

Project management: Prof. Nicola Brauch (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)
Objective: The research group EMPATHIA³ professionalizes trainee teachers and police officers in handling Antisemitism. In order to do so, the project will develop, implement and evaluate a key curriculum for the prevention and countering of Antisemitism, a test for the assessment of knowledge and attitudes as well as a shared course program for the target groups.

RelcoDiff – Antisemitism in pedagogical contexts. Religiously coded/marked construction of difference in early and middle childhood

Johann Wolfgang-Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main – Fachbereich Erziehungswissenschaften; Institut für die Geschichte der deutschen Juden – Hamburg; Universität Hamburg, Akademie der Weltreligionen

Project management: Prof. Dr. Isabell Diehm (Johann Wolfgang-Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main)
Objective: The interdisciplinary research group explores religiously coded construction of difference among children in three different pedagogical settings (taking into account the perspectives of children, parents, pedagogues and teachers), to spot antisemitic attitudes at the time of their emergence in order to counteract them early on.