Update 12 March: with an eye to the COVID-19 outbreak (corona virus) this event has been cancelled by its organisers. 


The past ten years have seen attacks on Jewish institutions in various European cities, and Jews have been verbally and physically attacked with violence. In the year of its reopening, the Jewish Museum Frankfurt is consequently evaluating the situation of Jewish life in Europe.

The symposium reflects on the paradoxical developments characteristic of the European Jewish diaspora. On the one hand, Jewish life is increasingly at risk while organized membership of Jewish Communities is decreasing across Europe. On the other hand, growing numbers of young Jews are openly articulating their Jewishness, contributing to raising the visibility of the multiple Jewish voices in Europe.

Is Europe a cultural and political space in which Jewish life can flourish just as it does in the United States and Israel, or is the Jewish diaspora on the European continent in the process of disappearing? Which frame conditions have to be secured or created for Jews to continue living an autonomous life? And what role should Jewish museums play here?

The Jewish Museum is organizing this symposium over a day and a half to contribute to a differentiated discussion on the present situation of Jews and to combine expert discourse with reflections on social and political developments. Given the atmosphere of threat to which Jews in Europe are exposed, the symposium offers a platform for visions that should pave the way for future coexistence and a Jewish future in Europe.

March 15–16, 2020
Admission free, all contributions will be simultaneously translated into German/English
Registration until February 15, 2020 an: info@juedischesmuseum.de
For more information visit the museum’s website.

The symposium is sponsored by the Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future


Sunday, March 15, 2020 / 3 p.m.
The diversity of Jewish culture in most of Central and Eastern Europe came to a violent end with the Shoah. Nonetheless, Jewish life began to re-emerge here after 1945. Major French and British cities became centers of a pluralistic Jewish culture. But in some places like Germany and Hungary this only started happening after the year 2000. What is the situation in the different places today? Can Jewish life assert itself in the European diaspora?

Opening remarks: Mirjam Wenzel Director of the Jewish Museum Frankfurt
Welcome speech: Lucia Puttrich Hessian Minister for Federal and European Affairs, and representative of the Land Hessen at the federal level | Member of the Board of Trustees, EVZ Foundation

Contributors: Alfred Bodenheimer (Professor of the History of Jewish Religion and Literature, University of Basel), Michael Brenner (Professor of Jewish History and Culture at Ludwig Maximilian University Munich and director of the Center for Israel Studies at the American University in Washington, D.C.), Diana Pinto (historian, Paris), and Bernard Wasserstein (Professor emeritus of History, University of Chicago)
Moderation: Mirjam Wenzel

Sunday, March 15, 2020 / 7 p.m.

In conversation: Fania Oz-Salzberger (Professor of History, Haifa University, director of Posen Research Forum for Political Thought and the Haifa Center for German and European Studies, Haifa University) and Doron Rabinovici (writer and historian, Vienna)
Moderation: Ruth Fühner

Monday, March 16, 2020 / 9 a.m.
Jewish museums in Europe preserve the testimonies of past Jewish life and act in many places as institutions of remembrance of a Jewish culture that no longer exists there as it once did. What is the museums’ relationship to Jewish life in Europe today? Do they help to empower Jewish self-conception? Which needs are they expected to meet, and how do they react to this?

Contributors: Emily D. Bilski (freelance curator, Jerusalem), Hanno Loewy (Director of the Jewish Museum Hohenems), Joanne Rosenthal (freelance curator, Sheffield), Dariusz Stola (Director-elect of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw), and Zsuzsanna Toronyi (Director of the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives, Budapest)
Moderation: Werner Hanak (Deputy director of the Jewish Museum Frankfurt)

This panel is part of a collaborative event series, Between Identity and Diversity: Jewish Museums and National Political Histories in Europe, organized by the Jewish Museums in Augsburg, Berlin, Franken, Frankfurt, Hohenems and Munich, together with the NS-Dokumentationszentrum Munich and the Institute for the History of the German Jews in Hamburg.

Monday, March 16, 2020 / 1 p.m.
Jewish religious practice is premised on the right of unconditional religious freedom. Jewish men and women have repeatedly been deprived of this right in the course of European history. Even today, specific religious practices, particularly kosher slaughter and circumcision, are criticized and restricted in some European countries. What protection does European law offer practicing Jews? Where is this at risk? Which conclusions for a Jewish future in Europe can be drawn from legal debates?

Contributors: Nicola Beer (Vice-President of the European Parliament), Yohan Benizri (Secretary general of the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Organizations in Belgium, Brussels), and Grégor Puppinck (Director of the European Center for Law and Justice, Strasbourg)

Monday, March 16, 2020 / 3.30 p.m.
All over Europe new Jewish voices are speaking out publicly and with growing confidence, articulating a pluralistic and decisively diasporic image of themselves. At the same time, some Jews are reacting to the rise in anti-Jewish hatred by choosing to emigrate. How can we evaluate these contradictory developments with respect to a Jewish future in Europe? Which role do they play for the way individuals see themselves?

With a contribution from: Michel Friedman ((journalist, philosopher, lawyer and managing director of the Center for Applied European Studies at the University of Applied Sciences, Frankfurt am Main)
and a discussion between: Laura Cazés (psychologist, Frankfurt), Chajm Guski (blogger, Gelsenkirchen), Gila Lustiger (writer, Paris), Yves Kugelmann (journalist, Basel), Zsofia Kata Vincze (campaigner, Budapest), and Anna Schapiro (artist, Berlin)
Moderation: Mirjam Wenzel (Director of the Jewish Museum Frankfurt) and Sara Soussan (curator for contemporary Jewish cultures at the Jewish Museum Frankfurt)

Monday, March 16, 2020 / 5.30 p.m.