The Jewish ghetto of Frankfurt was one of the key centres of Jewish life in the German territories. There has been an intensive concern about the Frankfurt ghetto during the debates about the preservation of the archaeological remains, but in spite of this concern there has been remarkably little research on Jewish life in the ghetto. The little that has been done deals primarily with various elite groups such as bankers, doctors, rabbis and court Jews.
The proposed conference encourages an intensification of research on Jewish life in the Frankfurt ghetto and on the relations between Jews and Christians in early modern Frankfurt until the dissolution of the ghetto in 1812. There is a wealth of material on Frankfurt Jewry in German, Hebrew and Yiddish that calls for examination and evaluation. Considerable material in German can be found in the city´s archives.
We also encourage a re-examination of the historiographical tradition, of literary, autobiographical and artistic documents that help broaden our knowledge about Jewish life and about the continuities and discontinuities in Jewish-Christian relations before and after the dissolution of the ghetto.
For all aspects a comparison of the Frankfurt ghetto with other ghettoes (for example, Prague and Venice) will be helpful in order to better understand the specific Frankfurt situation.
The conference will focus on the following aspects:
The Frankfurt ghetto in historiography, literature and the arts,
descriptions of life in the ghetto; descriptions, explanations and evaluations of the foundation and the dissoluton of the ghetto
Political, social, economic and religious structures in the Frankfurt ghetto; political power structures; social and economic regulations and their historical development; all aspects of "everyday life": marriage regulations, family structures, education etc.; religious structures and their changes over time; consequences of increased relationships with the Christian population and its culture
Jewish-Christian relations; juridical norms; court procedures; cultural relations (e.g. the Enlightenment); the role and function of the Jewish population in social and political movements in Frankfurt.
The Frankfurt Jewish Ghetto in Early Modernity
Frankfurt, May 16.-18, 2004
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universitaet Frankfurt am Main: Center for Research in Early Modern History, Culture and Science; Institute for Jewish Studies
Juedisches Museum Frankfurt am Main; Kommission zur Erforschung der Geschichte der Frankfurter Juden; Leo Baeck Institute (Jerusalem)
Fritz Backhaus, Leiter des Museums Judengasse Frankfurt am Main
Dr. Gisela Engel, Zentrum zur Erforschung der Fruehen Neuzeit, JWGU
Georg Heuberger, Direktor des Juedischen Museums Frankfurt am Main
Prof. Dr. Robert Liberles, Department of History, Ben Gurion University
Prof. Dr. Margarete Schlueter, Seminar fuer Judaistik / Jewish Studies, JWGU
Dr. Gisela Engel
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universitaet
Zentrum zur Erforschung der Fruehen Neuzeit
Robert Mayer - Str. 1
D - 60054 Frankfurt am Main
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