2021 marked the 1,700th anniversary of an edict issued by Roman Emperor Constantine on Dec. 11, 321 that granted Jews offices in the municipal administration of Cologne for the first time. This edict is the earliest written evidence of a Jewish community in what is today Germany. The Leo Baeck Institute, a New York-based library and archive focused on the history of German-speaking Jews, founded in 1955 by leading German-Jewish émigré intellectuals including Martin Buber and Hannah Arendt, created a special exhibit to commemorate this milestone.
The Shared History Project tells the story of Jews in central Europe to illustrate how Jewish history is deeply interwoven with the peoples, regions, and countries. Divided into seven categories and eras, from the fourth century to the Post-World War II era and the 21st century, the exhibit illuminates how Jewish life unfolded over almost two millennia. The exhibit is supplemented by a number of special artifacts from LBI, which once belonged to German-speaking Jews who fled Europe in the 1930s and 40s, and which were amongst the few items that they managed to bring with them. The objects highlight the significant impact of German Jewish immigrants on American culture and history. Although the collection has its origins in the persecution that led to the Holocaust, each of these objects reflects generations of Jewish life in German-speaking countries.
For further resources about German Jewish Life, please visit the following pages:
The German-American Heritage Foundation (aka United German-American Committee of the USA, Inc.) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (EIN 23-2033554), and donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Please remember GAHF in your estate plans.