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04/09/2013 | Pressemitteilung

Kassel: Historian Frank Stern takes over Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship

The University of Kassel awards the Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship 2013 to the historian and cultural scientist Prof. Dr. Frank Stern from the University of Vienna. Stern's research focuses on German-Jewish literary and film history.

"With Professor Stern, the University of Kassel is enriched by a personality who corresponds in a very special way to the profile of the Franz Rosenzweig Professorship," said a delighted Prof. Dr. Winfried Speitkamp, Chairman of the University's Search Committee: "His research focuses on highly topical issues in international historical scholarship, whether it is the significance of the Holocaust in German and world memory, the transformation of cultures of remembrance, or the mediation of German-Jewish encounter and persecution history in film."

Prof. Dr. Frank Stern, born in East Prussia in 1944, is one of the most renowned experts on German-Jewish history. After studying German, history and political science in Berlin and Jerusalem and working at universities and in adult education, Stern received his doctorate from Tel Aviv University in 1989. In 1997 he accepted a professorship in modern German and European history at Ben-Gurion University in Beer-Sheva, and since 2004 he has been a professor of visual contemporary and cultural history at the Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies at the University of Vienna. He has also held a large number of visiting professorships in Germany, Austria, the United States and Israel.

"The large number of visiting professorships testifies to the extraordinary reputation that Professor Stern enjoys in the international academic community," emphasized Speitkamp, who heads the Department of Modern and Contemporary History at the University of Kassel. "On the one hand, it is based on his specific research contributions to German-Jewish history. On the other hand, since the beginning of his academic career, Frank Stern has striven not only for specialized research, but also for classification, explanation and mediation."

For example, Stern's book "Im Anfang war Auschwitz: Antisemitismus und Philosemitismus im Nachkrieg" (In the Beginning was Auschwitz: Anti-Semitism and Philo-Semitism in the Aftermath of the War), which is now in its second edition and has also been translated into English, deals with the 1940s and the problematic way in which the public and politics in Germany dealt with the National Socialist past, as well as the difficulties of finding a new position toward Jewish culture in Germany and toward Israel. In other works, the historian has dealt with Ludwig Börne, Theodor Herzl and Zionism, the Jewish culture of Vienna in the early 20th century, and the representation of German-Jewish history in film, among other topics. His 2002 monograph "Dann bin ich um den Schlaf gebracht: ein Jahrtausend jüdisch-deutsche Kulturgeschichte" (Then I am deprived of sleep: a millennium of Jewish-German cultural history) draws an impressive balance of shared and fraught history.

Stern will offer two courses in the summer semester at the University of Kassel: "Film Exile in Hollywood and Film Noir in Cultural and Gender History" and "Images of Jewishness in German-Language and International Feature Films." In his inaugural lecture, he will speak on the role of Franz Rosenzweig in Judeo-Christian cultural history. The inaugural lecture will take place April 25 at 6 p.m. in the Gießhaus, Mönchebergstraße 5. The event is open to the public, and admission is free.

The Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship is a unique institution in the German university landscape. Since 1987, it has been awarded every summer semester to an academic from the humanities and social sciences who, through his or her work and research on issues of European Jewish history, culture and education, counteracts the suppression and forgetting of the Jewish heritage destroyed in Europe. It is named after Franz Rosenzweig (1886 - 1929). The great Jewish son of Kassel emerged as a historian and philosopher and developed his religious-philosophical thoughts in exchange with Christian friends. 


Picture of Prof. Dr. Frank Stern at:

Picture: Stern




Prof. Dr. Winfried Speitkamp
University of Kassel
Department of Modern and Contemporary History
Tel.: +49 561 804-3120
E-mail: speitkamp[at]uni-kassel[dot]de