Combating Antisemitism

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A four-year joint project based at Freie Universität Berlin is set to receive support within the funding line "Current Dynamics and Challenges of Antisemitism"

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research has confirmed that it will be funding a four-year project at Freie Universität Berlin to tackle antisemitism. The project titled "Christian Characteristics of Contemporary Antisemitism" - which will receive financial support via the "Current Dynamics and Challenges of Antisemitism" funding line - will be carried out in cooperation with the Georg Eckert Institute and the Protestant Academies in Germany. It is one of ten joint projects across Germany to receive such funding. Professor Rainer Kampling at the Department of History and Cultural Studies is the project lead and overall coordinator.

The researchers’ work will primarily involve identifying and analyzing specifically Christian religious elements of antisemitism, and how these have manifested themselves in the past and present. Their goal will be to make a significant contribution to disseminating the research results among scientific and academic circles, primary and secondary schools, and adult education outlets by means of an all-encompassing knowledge transfer concept.

One subproject at Freie Universität Berlin will work on the interaction between and pervasiveness of theological and antisemitic discourses and their popularization and vulgarization in the nineteenth century. Another, more contemporary subproject will address anti-Jewish traditions in Christian-oriented religious education, from the period after the Holocaust in both East and West Germany right through to the present day. The project is being organized in cooperation with the Selma Stern Center for Jewish Studies Berlin-Brandenburg and the Center for Research on Antisemitism at Technische Universität Berlin.

Two other partners will contribute to the overarching project. The Georg Eckert Institute - Leibniz Institute for Educational Media (GEI) in Braunschweig will enrich the project with its decades of expertise and experience in surveying educational materials and researching prejudice in education and textbooks. The GEI is considered an ideal partner in this project due to the work of the German-Israeli Textbook Commission it coordinates and its participation in other projects that examine the depiction of Jewish history and culture in textbooks. Its subproject will investigate religion-based prejudices against Jewish people, Judaism, and Jewish culture in Catholic and Protestant religion classes, ethics lessons, and the associated textbooks. Aside from a monograph, the group will also publish recommendations to address this issue in education and textbooks.

Another subproject will focus on planning conferences, further education opportunities, and workshops to spread the research results throughout wider society. The Protestant Academies in Germany, a federal association, will serve as an apt partner in this area. The Protestant Academies in Germany are represented by seventeen member institutions across the country, and have been committed to fostering a democratic culture and combating the persecution of minority groups for decades. They recently implemented the project "Antisemitism and Protestantism - Enmeshment, Contributions, Learning Processes" together with the Evangelische Trägergruppe für gesellschaftspolitische Jugendbildung (Protestant Funding Body for Youth Civic Education). Their work has produced new ideas on how to address the issue of antisemitism in Protestant religious education. The federal association is also a state-approved central agency and funding institution for civic education for young people and adults.


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