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Jewish voices in the debates of the 1960s

International Conference organized by LMU and UC Berkeley

Munich, 06/16/2011

On 27 -29 June, an international conference devoted to “Jewish Voices in the German Sixties” will take place in Schloss Elmau. The conference, which has been organized by the Chair of Jewish History and Culture at LMU in cooperation with the Institute of European Studies at the University of California in Berkeley (USA), will focus on the role played by Jewish intellectuals in the German protest movements of the 1960s.

The decade of the 1960s was marked by radical change in many spheres. Throughout the Western world, new forms of protest developed and articulated new demands for far-reaching social and political transformation. Prominent among the protagonists in Germany were Jewish intellectuals, many of whom were returned emigrés who had been forced to leave the country during the Nazi era. In one respect in particular, these figures differed from the general run of protesters: they not only called for revolution, they wanted to confront German society with the Holocaust. But the encounter between Jewish intellectuals and post-war Germany was not just an argument about the past, it was also concerned with the future. The Jewish exiles who had returned were to act as the catalyst of a wider cultural change, as they brought new ideas and models that contributed to the consolidation of a liberal and democratic society in the Federal Republic.

Specialists from Europe, Israel and the USA will present their latest research findings at the conference, and will also consider the roles of Jewish thinkers such as Gershom Scholem and Hannah Arendt, who did not return to Germany, but were nevertheless a significant presence in German intellectual life during these years. On the agenda of the final day of the conference is a podium discussion on the question of whether or not developments in post-war Germany can be said to have nurtured a new generation of Jewish intellectuals.

This year‘s conference is one of a series that began in the summer of 2007, and is organized by LMU as part of the LMU-Berkeley Research in the Humanities Program. This program is, in turn, an integral component of LMU’s research partnership with the University of California at Berkeley (UCB), which was formalized in August 2007, in the context of the LMUexcellent Initiative. (göd/PH)

For details of the Conference Program, see:

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