Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship

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The Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship, unique in Germany, focuses on the work and legacy of Franz Rosenzweig, a Jewish religious philosopher from Kassel. The professorship is awarded each summer semester. As a rule, two seminars are offered in addition to a public inaugural lecture. To date, the visiting professorship has honored numerous scholars of philosophy, history, literature, and religious studies from Israel, Europe, and North America. 

In recent years, the professorship has increasingly served to bring to mind the culture of European Jewry destroyed by National Socialism and to engage with the Jewish present. The Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship has been awarded by the University of Kassel since 1987. It was established following an international congress held to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of the eminent philosopher of religion in 1986.

    The philosopher Dr. Ynon Wygoda has been working at the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center for German-Jewish Literature and Cultural History in Jerusalem since 2021. There he leads the research project "The Star and its Universe: Franz Rosenzweig between Past and Future," in which he is examining Rosenzweig's book "Star of Redemption" in cooperation with the Göttingen State and University Library.
    Already in 2018, Dr. Wygoda completed his PhD on the thought of Vladimir Jankélévitch and Franz Rosenzweig with Professor Moshe Halbertal at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is a former fellow of the Martin Buber Society of Fellows and has taught at the Universities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. As a visiting professor, he has taught at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and at the Paideia Institute in Stockholm. Since 2019, he has been a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Rosenzweig Society.
    Dr. Wygoda's research interests focus on the interface between modern Jewish philosophy and both French and German thought.

    Dominique Bourel Bourel (69) is a professor at the Sorbonne Université in Paris. He received his doctorate in the history of religion in 1980 and his habilitation in 1995. Among other positions, he was director of the "Centre de recherche français de Jérusalem," professor at the "Institut Universitaire d'Etudes Juïves Elie Wiesel" in Paris and is a member of the "Centre Roland Mousnier" in Paris. Numerous guest professorships have taken him to Potsdam, Berlin, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, among other places, for teaching and research.

    In 2020, the visiting professorship was postponed due to Covid-19. 

    In 2019, the visiting professorship was not filled. 

    Dr. Felicitas Heimann-Jelinek is a Judaist and art scholar and a distinguished expert on the representation of Jewish history and art. From 1993 to 2011 she was chief curator for the Jewish Museum of the City of Vienna. In addition, she was involved in numerous exhibitions at other museums and was particularly active in the training and continuing education of curators at Jewish museums. In guest professorships and teaching assignments, Heimann-Jelinek has repeatedly dealt scientifically with questions of the representation of Jewish art, history and identity. She is, among other things, a board member of the Association of Jewish Museums and a board member of the Rothschild Foundation Europe.

    Prof. Dr. Hanna Liss is Professor of Bible and Jewish Biblical Interpretation at the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien in Heidelberg. In her academic work, she is primarily concerned with medieval Jewish biblical and commentary literature and with medieval biblical codices in Western Europe. She is committed to building bridges between the academic world and a broader public. In addition to numerous scholarly writings, she has published, for example, a textbook on the Tanakh and a five-volume annotated Torah for children and young adults. Liss received her doctorate in 1995 with a thesis on the medieval Jewish theologian Eleazar of Worms. In 2002 she habilitated in Jewish Studies at the Martin Luther University in Halle-Wittenberg on the topic Die unerhörte Prophetie. Communicative Structures of Prophetic Speech in the Book of Yesha'yahu. In 2002 she was Moosnick Distinguished Professor of Hebrew Bible & Jewish Studies at Lexington Theological Seminary, Kentucky, and a year later Harry Starr Research Fellow at the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University.

    The philosopher and educationalist Prof. Dr. Micha Brumlik is an important voice in interreligious dialogue; he has also repeatedly intervened in the current debate on the integration of migrants. Born in Switzerland, he studied philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and philosophy and education at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. From 1981 to 2000, he held the chair of education with a focus on social pedagogy at the University of Heidelberg, and from 2000 to 2013 he was professor of theories of education at the Institute of General Education at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. From 2000 to 2005, he also served as director of the Fritz Bauer Institute, the research and documentation center on the history of the Holocaust at Goethe University Frankfurt. Since 2013, he has been a senior professor at the Center for Jewish Studies Berlin/Brandenburg.

    Art and cultural historian and curator Doreet LeVitte-Harten studied art history and comparative religion in Jerusalem and then worked as a journalist and art critic for the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz and as a lecturer at the Bezalel Art Academy, Jerusalem, and the Visual Center, Beer Sheva. Since 1980 she has curated exhibitions in Germany and Israel, most recently "About Stupidity, The Phenomena of Stupidity as Observed by Artists",Petach Tikva Museum of Art, Israel (2013) and "Conflicts, the Problems of Other People", Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Israel (2014).

    The visiting professorship went to a musicologist for the first time in the 2014 summer semester. Prof. Dr. Philip Vilas Bohlmann held a seminar on "Nationalism in the Mirror of the Eurovision Song Contest" at the North Hessian university in addition to events on Jewish music of the modern era. Bohlman, born in 1952 in Wisconsin (USA), has been a professor of music at the University of Chicago since 1999. He studied musicology and ethnomusicology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he received his doctorate in 1984. He joined the faculty of the University of Chicago in 1987, where he was appointed Mary Werkman Professor in the Humanities and Music in 1999, and Mary Werkman Distinguished Service Professor of Music and the Humanities in 2007. From 2003 to 2006, he also held the Chair of Jewish Studies at the University of Chicago. Philip Bohlman is an honorary professor at the Hanover University of Music and Drama and held a visiting professorship at the University of Vienna (1995/96). He has also taught at the universities of Berkeley, Yale, Newcastle, Freiburg, and Humboldt University Berlin. Bohlman's research interests include Jewish music and culture in modernity, especially the music of Jewish communities in Central and Eastern Europe, music and cultural identity in modernity, and canon formation and nationalisms in music.  

    The historian and cultural scientist Prof. Dr. Frank Stern researches in particular German-Jewish literary and film history. Born in East Prussia in 1944, he 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 USA and Israel.

    Liliane Weissberg, PhD
    Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor in Arts and Sciences and Professor of German and Comparative Literature

    University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

    She is also a member of the Jewish Studies Program, the Art History Graduate Group, the English Graduate Group, the Program in Visual Studies, the Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies, and the Graduate Group in Religious Studies.

    Weissberg's interests focus on late eighteenth-century to early twentieth-century German literature and philosophy. Much of her work has concentrated on German, European, and American Romanticism, but she has also written on the notion of representation in realism, on photography, and on literary and feminist theory. Among her more recent books are a critical edition of Hannah Arendt's Rahel Varnhagen: The Life of a Jewess (1997), the anthologies Cultural Memory and the Construction of Identity (with Dan Ben-Amos, 1999), and Romancing the Shadow: Poe and Race (with J. Gerald Kennedy, 2001),     Hannah Arendt, Charlie Chaplin, and the Hidden Jewish Tradition (2009), the anthology Affinity Against Will? Hannah Arendt, Theodor W. Adorno and the Frankfurt School (2011) and the forthcoming Picture This! Writing with Photography (with Karen Beckman, 2012).

    In 2011, the visiting professorship was not filled. 

    Dr. Jakob Hessing
    Writer and Germanist
    at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel

    Jakob Hessing (also: Jaakov Hessing) is the son of Eastern Jewish parents and was born on March 5, 1944 in a hiding place in the subcamp of a German concentration camp Lyssowce, Upper Silesia. After liberation by the Red Army, his family went to Berlin, where he grew up. He attended elementary school and high school, where he graduated in 1964. In the same year, Hessing emigrated to Israel. There he worked for two years on a kibbutz. From 1968 he studied history, English and German at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He graduated in 1974 with a bachelor's degree in English. From 1970 to 1978 he edited the German-language edition of the magazine "Ariel" on behalf of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. From 1991 he wrote reviews for the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung". In 1992 he received his doctorate in philosophy from the Technical University of Aachen with a thesis on the reception of Else Lasker-Schüler in post-war Germany. In the same year he received a lectureship in Jerusalem, and since 1995 he has been "Associate Professor" at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and from 2004 he headed the German Studies Department there.

    Jakob Hessing writes novels and essays in German in addition to literary studies; from 1993 to 1999 he edited the "Jüdischer Almanach". He also translates from Hebrew into German.

    Most important publications in German: Else Lasker-Schüler, Karlsruhe 1985; Der Fluch des Propheten, Rheda-Wiedenbrück 1989; Der Zensor ist tot, Weinheim [et al.] 1990; Die Heimkehr einer jüdischen Emigrantin, Tübingen 1993; Mir soll's geschehen, Berlin 2005; Der Traum und der Tod, Göttingen 2005; Verlorene Gleichnisse. Heine, Kafka, Celan, Göttingen/Oakville, Connecticut 2011.

    Dr. Harry Redner
    at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

    Harry Redner was born on February 1, 1937 in Tlumacz near Stanislawow in Galicia (then Poland, now Ukraine). Together with his mother, he survived the Nazi occupation of Galicia in hiding. In 1946, they emigrated via stopovers to Melbourne, Australia, where he graduated from high school in 1954. Harry Redner received his academic education between 1955 and 1965, primarily in England and Australia, where he studied music - especially composition with Felix Werder, Alexander Goehr and Luciano Berio - and philosophy (B.A. and M.A. at Melbourne University). After further postgraduate study at Oxford University with Elizabeth Anscombe, he began his own university career as a Research Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at Adelaide University from 1965 to 1967. From 1967 until his retirement in 1996, he held various academic positions (Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader, and finally Professorial Fellow) in the Department of Politics at Monash University in Melbourne. Numerous visiting professorships have taken him to the United States (Yale University, Berkeley, Harvard), Israel (Haifa), France (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris), and Germany (Darmstadt). In 2009, he accepted the Franz-Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship at the University of Kassel. In German, his book Wie kann man moral leben: The History and Present of Ethical Cultures (Stuttgart 2006), and further translations are being prepared.

    Dr. Karol Sauerland
    Professor and Head of the Department of German Studies
    at the University of Thorn, Poland

    Professor Dr. Karol Sauerland, born in Moscow in 1936 as the son of German emigrants, studied philosophy at the Humboldt University in East Berlin from 1955 to 1957 after graduating from high school in Halle / Saale. After he had to abandon these studies for political reasons due to his commitment to the political upheaval in Poland, he first worked for a while as an unskilled laborer in East Berlin, but then moved to Poland, where he soon took Polish citizenship. From 1958-63 he studied mathematics and German studies in Warsaw. He received his doctorate in 1970 with a thesis on Wilhelm Dilthey's concept of experience[1] . In 1975 he habilitated at the University of Warsaw with a thesis on Adorno's aesthetics[2].

    Already appointed university lecturer in the year of his habilitation (in Poland the lectureship is considered like a first professorship), Karol Sauerland headed the Department of German Literature at the Institute of German Studies at Warsaw University from 1977. From 1979 to 1986 he held the chair of German Studies at Copernicus University in Toruñ (Thorn), which he -   joined the trade union movement Solidarność in 1980 and was soon elected to its board at Toruñ University - soon lost again for political reasons. It was not until 1989 that he was officially appointed professor by the Chairman of the Council of State of Poland, although a corresponding application for the award of the professorship had already been made by the faculty in 1982 and confirmed by the Senate, but had been blocked by the Communist Party of Poland. Since then, he headed the Department of Literary Studies at his university until 2005.

    Although Karol Sauerland was subjected to various state harassments (house searches, interrogations, twenty-eight refusals of applications to travel abroad, etc.) between 1983 and 1987, he developed a broad philosophical and literary oeuvre with undiminished creativity and originality, as the list of his publications shows. Of his far more than 200 publications, only his numerous articles on the perception of Judaism in literature and on the recent history of Judaism in Poland, as well as the book Poles and Jews between 1939 and 1968. Jedwabne und die Folgen[3] should be explicitly mentioned here in view of the institution of the Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorships.

    Karol Sauerland's scholarly work has received widespread recognition in Germany, reflected, among other things, in his appointment to the Academic Advisory Board of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in 1993 and the award of the Humboldt Prize of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 1995. He has also received numerous invitations to hold visiting professorships. In 1988 he taught as Adolf Muschg's substitute at the ETH Zurich, and in the winter semester 1988/89 he held a visiting professorship at the focus on Poland at the University of Mainz. In 1994 he was a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin as well as a visiting professor at the Free University there, and in 1997 he again held a visiting professorship at the University of Mainz. In the winter semester 2004/05 he taught for two semesters at the Fritz Bauer Institute of the University of Frankfurt am Main and in the winter semester 2005/06 at the University of Hamburg.

    With Karol Sauerland, the University of Kassel is gaining an internationally renowned scholar whose research embodies in a special way that spirit of remembrance of a definitively lost German-Jewish normality for which the institution of the Franz-Rosenzweig Visiting Professorships symbolically stands.

    Moshe I. Zimmermann PhD
    Professor of German History
    at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

    Moshe I. Zimmermann was born in Jerusalem in 1943. He studied political science and history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and received his Ph.D. in 1977. After teaching at the Hebrew University and Beer Sheba University, he was appointed Lecturer in History, then Senior Lecturer and finally Professor of German History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1986. Mr. Zimmermann has been a member of the Advisory Board of the Leo Baeck Institute in Jerusalem since 1986, and from 1980 to 1985 he was a member of the German-Israeli Textbook Conference. In 1983/84 he was a visiting professor at the College of Jewish Studies in Heidelberg, in 1987 at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Bielefeld, in 1987/88 at the Institute for Advanced Study,  Princeton, in 1995 at the Martin Luther University in Halle, in 1996 at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, in 1997 at the University of Saarbrücken, in 1998/99 at the University of Göttingen; in 1990 he received the Rudolf Küstermeier Prize of the German-Israeli Society for promoting understanding between Germans and Israelis.

    His research covers an extraordinarily broad spectrum of topics in Jewish-German history. This extends to the eras between the beginnings of emancipation and the present. This has given rise to numerous books and essays, beginning with his dissertation published in 1979, which, based on a wealth of empirical material made accessible for the first time, subjected the emancipation of Jews in the Hanseatic city between 1830 and 1865 to detailed analysis under the titleHamburgischerPatriotismus und deutscher Nationalismus . The study does not treat Jewish history in isolation, but as an integral aspect of overall history. If one wanted to personalize the problem tension, the development condenses in two persons: in Gabriel Riesser, who saw the 'Jewish question' and its solution embedded in the bourgeois liberal striving for a nationally united constitutional state, and in Wilhelm Marr, one of the fathers of modern anti-Semitism in Germany, to whom Mr. Zimmermann dedicated a comprehensive biography in 1982 (Hebrew, 1986 English).

    This was followed in 1997 by an extremely informative, critically summing up and commenting research overview in the series "Encyclopedia ofGerman History" on The German Jews 1914 - 1945. Already the title reflects the self-conception of the majority of the Jews living in Germany: the Weimar Republic was regarded by them as the climax and conclusion of emancipation, anti-Semitism appeared as the remnant of an epoch long overcome, even the year 1933 did not initially shake these convictions. In this book, too, Mr. Zimmermann makes an urgent plea not to "ghettoize" Jewish history, but to understand it in constant interaction with general events, granting due space to relations between Jews and non-Jews in the most diverse constellations.

    For years, Prof. Zimmermann has distinguished himself in the field of the history of stereotypes with weighty contributions to memory and the politics of remembrance. In addition to works devoted to the history of German-Israeli relations, Moshe Zimmermann has also presented works dealing with problems of Israeli society. Of particular note here is a very instructive essay on Military, Militarism and Civil Society in Israel (1997), which ends with a skeptical view of the future of the Israeli model as that of a non-militarized polity. Mr. Zimmermann also regularly appears in the press with commentaries on current issues in Israeli politics and on German-Israeli relations, which he also published in German in 2004 in a small volume:  GoliathsFalle.

    Carl S. Ehrlich PhD
    Professor of Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies
    at York University in Toronto, Ontario

    Carl S. Ehrlich was born in 1956 in New Haven, Connecticut, USA; he studied at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and in Freiburg i. B. and Jerusalem Jewish Studies, Biblical Archaeology and Oriental Studies, earned a Master of Arts degree in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University in 1984, and  was awarded his doctorate there in 1991 with a thesis on From Defeat to Conquest: A History of the Philistines in Decline c. 1000-730 B.C.E. . Since 1996 he has been Professor of Humanities at York University in Toronto.

    Carl S. Ehrlich has published widely on biblical, philosophy of religion, and Jewish theological topics, most of which have been published in extremely prestigious organs such as the Journal of Biblical Literature, the Zeitschrift des deutschen Palästina-Vereins, European Judaism, Trumah, Foi et vie, the Anchor Bible Dictionary, the New Interpreters' Dictionary of the Bible , and the Oxford Companion to the Bible. Of his books, the works The Philistines in Transition: A History from ca. 1000-730 BCE (1996), Bible and Judaism. Beiträge aus dem christlich-jüdischen Gespräch (2004)[1]   and Judentum (2005) as well as the editions mentioned: Saul in Story and Tradition (2006) and From an Antique Land: An Introduction to Ancient Near Eastern Literature (2009).

    The fact that Carl S. Ehrlich's scholarly work is held in the esteem it deserves internationally is evidenced by numerous prizes and research grants as well as invitations to guest professorships, of which only the German ones are mentioned here: from 2000-2001 he taught at the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien in Heidelberg as well as for one semester each at the Humboldt Universität in Berlin (1993) and at the Kirchliche Hochschule Wuppertal (1996).

    In the person of Carl Ehrlich, the caesura in the succession of Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professors becomes manifest, for the Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship was originally established to invite scholars who had formerly been driven into emigration, to document our attachment to their history of persecution, and at the same time to provide them with an opportunity to to present their research to students and colleagues in Germany, it is now possible to invite personalities to the University of Kassel who are no longer directly affected by the persecution of the National Socialists, but whose research nevertheless continues the tradition of German-Jewish history.

    The person of Carl. S. Ehrlich shows that this break is not to be understood as a radical break, but as a transition in which continuity and a new beginning are combined. For the Kassel tradition of Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorships, he embodies both in at least two respects: firstly, biographically, because as the son of the Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professor of 1988, Leonard Ehrlich, he still belongs to the ranks of those whose life would undoubtedly have taken a completely different course had it not been for the historical catastrophe of National Socialism, but at the same time he is also the first Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professor who no longer had to experience persecution first-hand. However, he also embodies continuity and a new beginning in scholarly terms, because his scholarly work as a biblical archaeologist and Judaist is, on the one hand, fed by the spirit of the hermeneutic-critical examination of the Jewish tradition that emerged in Germany in the 19th century under the name 'Wissenschaft des Judentums' (Science of Judaism), and, on the other hand, is also committed to the standards, themes and problems of modern Anglo-Saxon Jewish Studies.

    At the University of Kassel Prof. Carl S. Ehrlich held a lecture "On the Archaeology of the Holy Land" within the framework of the teaching program of the subject Theology, but open to listeners of all fields of study, this lecture was accompanied by the seminar "Problems in the History of Biblical Israel". Furthermore, Prof. Carl S. Ehrlich offered a general cultural-historical seminar "Moses through the Centuries", which dealt with the eventful history of the image of Moses from different epochs and religions.

    Dr. Michael Löwy
    Directeur de recherche (1ère classe)
    Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) Paris

    Michael Löwy was born in 1938 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. His parents had emigrated from Vienna to Brazil in 1934 for economic and political reasons in Austro-fascist Austria, and their correct assessment of the danger of Nazism expanding from Germany played a crucial role. Other family members - like the grandparents and the siblings of the parents - also fled to Brazil after the annexation of Austria to the German Reich, so that the whole further family escaped the Shoah in Europe. 

    Michael Löwy grew up in Brazil, attended school in Sao Paulo and also graduated with a master's degree in social sciences from the University of Sao Paulo. In 1961 he received a scholarship to continue his studies at the University of Paris. Under the supervision of Prof. Lucien Goldmann, he completed his doctorate in 1964 with the thesis La théorie de la revolution chez le jeune Marx. After the accidental death of his father, his mother had moved to Israel to live with her elder son, where Michael Löwy also moved after completing his doctorate. Here he first worked at the universities in Haifa and Jerusalem until he got a position as Lecturer at Tel Aviv University, which he held until 1968. An invitation from Prof. Peter Worsley enabled him to teach sociology at the University of Manchester for one academic year. Michael Löwy then returned to Paris, where he taught as assistant to Nikos Poulantzas at the University of Paris VIII on the Vincennes campus. Now he was able to go to work on his habilitation on the political development of the young Lukács. This required research stays in Budapest, where he also met with the so-called "Budapest School" - Agnes Heller, Ferenc Fehér, Mihály Vajda, György Márkus - who helped him to sift through the archival material. He was also able to interview Ernst Bloch about his friendship with Georg Lukács in 1974 in Tübingen. In 1975 he completed his habilitation thesis, which was published under the title  Pour unesociologie des intellectuels révolutionaires. L'évolution politique des György Lukács 1909-1929

    Since 1977 Michael Löwy has been active with his own research projects at the Centre national de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), where his research focus shifted more and more to the sociology of religion. The most important publication in this field is his book, also translated into German, Erlösung und Utopie. Jüdischer Messianismus und libertäres Denken (1988; Engl. 1997)[1], which made Michael Löwy internationally known. In it, he traces the emergence of religious and a-religious eschatologies and historical-philosophical utopias, working out their common origin in Jewish messianism and the differences in their perspectives on liberation. Other major works in this direction followed: so together with Robert Sayre the book Revolte et Melancolie. Le romantisme à contrecourant de la modernité (1992) and the research work The War of Gods. Religion and Politics in Latin America (1996), in which Michael Löwy traces the various roots of the theology of liberation in Latin America. Here, too, Michael Löwy works out the closeness between Walter Benjamin and Ernst Bloch on the one hand and Gustavo Gutierrez on the other.

    It is precisely these references back that have recently prompted him to once again deal more intensively with Jewish-German culture in the early 20th century, in which the connection of Jewish messianism with political-historical-philosophical visions, as drawn especially by Walter Benjamin, plays a fundamental role, as Michael Löwy explains in his book Walter Benjamin: avertissement d'incendie. Une lecture des thèses "sur leconcept d'histoire" (2001). A German translation of this book is in preparation, and Michael Löwy based his main lecture in Kasselon it. Further topics of his seminars were on the one hand Franz Kafka's Judaism: the religion of freedom as well as on the other hand the Romantic currents in the work of Karl Marx.

    The Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship at the University of Kassel will continue beyond 2005, but now without being tied to an emigrant's fate.


    [1] Michael Löwy, Redemption and Utopia. Jewish Messianism and Libertarian Thought. Eine Wahrverwandtschaft, Berlin 1997.

    Dr. Mihály Vajda
    Prof. of Philosophy at Kossuth Lajos University in Debrecen
    Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

    Mihály Vajda was born in Budapest in 1935. He was 9 years old when German troops occupied Hungary in March 1944. While nearly 400,000 Jews were rounded up throughout Hungary in the course of 1944, deported to Auschwitz and murdered there, the majority of Budapest's Jews survived the Holocaust because they could not be deported due to the Russians' encirclement of Budapest. Although they were also at the mercy of the arbitrariness and harassment of the Hungarian Arrow Crusaders, especially after they formed the government from October 1944, the Vajda family, along with several thousand other Jewish families, survived the last months of the war in Budapest, and the invasion of the Russians was experienced by them as liberation without restriction.

    Mihály Vajda joined the communist movement as a teenager, and it took a long time and many exclusions and rejections before he finally said goodbye to this ideology. After completing eight years of general school, he entered a technical high school in order to study chemistry and to be able to contribute to the upkeep of his impoverished family as soon as possible. From there, however, he switched to the study of Marxism and - when his first doubts arose, it was the year after Stalin's death - to philosophy. Here he found good philosophical teachers who were convinced Marxists, but who were in opposition to the state ideology. From this perspective, the young Vajda also understood the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 as an attempt at liberation toward true socialism. After its suppression, he only became closer to the so-called "Budapest School" around Georg Lukács, which included Agnes Heller, Ferenc Fehér and György Márkus, among others. In 1958 he completed his philosophy studies with a first degree. Since he could not get a scientific job as a "revisionist", he became a teacher at a Budapest school. Only after the liberalizations in the 1960s did he get a scientific staff position at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and was thus able to concentrate on his planned dissertation on the philosophy of Edmund Husserl, which appeared under the title Science "in brackets" in 1968. Just one year later his second work on Husserl and Scheler An der Grenze von Mythos und Ratio (1969) was also published.

    In 1973 the members of the so-called Budapest School lost their jobs as ideological deviants and were banned from publishing. Already the study on fascism written by Vajda in 1970 could no longer be published in Hungary because it was read as a criticism of the communist regime in disguise; it appeared in English in 1976 and in French in 1979. Some of the members of the group left Hungary altogether; Mihály Vajda also took up the offer of a two-year guest professorship at the University of Bremen, during which time he was also invited to give a guest lecture in Kassel for the first time. Further guest stays at the New School for Social Research in New York, at Trent University in Peterborough, Canada and at the University of Siegen followed. In the 1980s, Mihály Vajda abandoned his ties to Marxism altogether - he laid down his reckoning with this ideologyin his books Russian Socialism in Central Europe (1989, Engl. 1992) and Free after Marx (1990). In 1989 he was officially rehabilitated in Hungary and appointed to the chair of philosophy at Kossuth Lajos University in Debrecen, where he was director of the Institute of Philosophy from 1996 to 2000.

    After years of searching, he found a new approach to Heidegger's existential philosophy in the 1990s through renewed phenomenological studies - studies on this appeared in German under the title Die Krise der Kulturkritik (1996). Recently, Prof. Mihály Vajda has dealt more intensively with Judaism in Eastern Europe and the consequences of the Shoah, both historically and in terms of cultural history - he addressed this in his seminar "The Role of the Jews in Central Europe until their Extermination". The lecture and another seminar took up themes from his recent book.[1]


    [1] Mihály Vajda, The Crisis of Cultural Criticism, Vienna 1996.

    Chaim Schatzker PhD
    emer. prof. of history of education
    Haifa University

    Karl Schatzker was born in Lemberg (Lwow) in Poland in 1928. In 1931 his mother moved with him to Vienna, where he first attended the Volkschule from 1934 to 1938 and briefly still the Chajes-Realgymnasium. After the annexation of Austria to the German Reich, since the family was not wealthy, there seemed to be no possibility of escape at first. In November 1939, the mother managed to join him in an illegal transport that was to take them on ships via Hungary, Yugoslavia and Romania across the Black Sea to Palestine. But the ships got stuck in the ice in Yugoslavia in the winter, had to dock at Kladovo and were not given permission to continue their journey. More than a thousand refugees had to wait for their fate on the ships for over a year and later at least the women and children in camps on the land. A few days before the invasion of Yugoslavia by German troops, the 200 children received permission to leave by land via Greece, Turkey, Syria and Lebanon to Palestine, where the Kindertransport arrived at the end of April 1941. Those left behind in Kladovo - including Karl Schatzker's mother - were murdered by the invading Germans. 

    Without any relatives in Palestine, Chaim Schatzker was first placed in a children's village, graduated from high school, and then was drafted into military service during the War of Liberation. He then studied history and education at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and - having previously worked as a teacher at a high school and as a lecturer at the University of Haifa - completed these studies in 1969 at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem with a PhD.

    Already during his tenure as Senior Lecturer at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, his research focused on Holocaust studies as well as on the issue of teaching the Holocaust in schools. In 1981 Chaim Schatzker was appointed to the Israeli delegation of the German-Israeli Textbook Commission. After further research stays and visiting professorships in Duisburg and Heidelberg, he was appointed full professor of modern Jewish history at the University of Haifa in 1984 and became director of the Strochlitz Chair for Holocaust Studies there. In 1989 he became Head of the Department of Jewish History at the University of Haifa. Visiting professorships in Heidelberg and Dresden followed. In 1997, Prof. Chaim Schatzker became emeritus professor, but continued to serve as an Israeli member of the advisory board of various German memorial sites, such as the concentration camp exhibition in Dachau.

    Chaim Schatzker's research interests can be clearly seen in his major works, many of which have been published in German: On educational and social history in Germany, his book  JüdischeJugend im zweiten Kaiserreich 1870 - 1917 (1988) and the treatise "Die jüdische Jugendbewegung in Deutschland zwischen den beiden Weltkriegen" (1974). On the Holocaust as a subject of political and historical education, he published together with Yisrael Gutman the text volume The Holocaust and its Significance (1984) and wrote together with Dieter Schmidt-Sinns the bookJudentumund Israel in der politischen Bildung (2000). On the image of Jews in German history books Chaim Schatzker presented the studies  JüdischeGeschichte in deutschen Geschichtsbüchern (1963),Die Juden in den deutschen Geschichtsbüchern (1981) and Juden, Judentum und Staat Israel in den Geschichtsbüchern der DDR (1994). On the image of Germany in Israeli history textbooks, his book Das Deutschlandbild in israelischen Geschichtsbüchern  (1979) was published as well as, among many others, his treatise "Der Holocaust im israelischen Geschichtsunterricht" (1995).

    At the University of Kassel, Prof. Chaim Schatzker offered a lecture on recent Jewish history as well as two seminars on Jewish youth in Germany in the 19th and 20th centuries and on Jews, Judaism and Israel in the history books of the Federal Republic of Germany, which were attended by the students with remarkable interest and active zeal.

    Ze'ev Levy PhD
    emer. prof. of philosophy and Jewish thought
    Haifa University

    Ze'ev Levy was born in Dresden in 1921. On his father's side, his family came from Hamburg, where they had arrived from Amsterdam at the beginning of the 19th century; on his mother's side, they had been from the Braunschweig area for several generations. A year after the Nazis came to power, the family - the parents and two children - emigrated to Palestine in February 1934, where the paternal grandparents followed them. The maternal grandfather died in the Theresienstadt camp. After finishing school in Tel-Aviv and working for half a year as a printing house worker, Ze'ev Levy joined Kibbutz Cheftzi-bah in 1939, where he engaged in agricultural work, mainly sheep and goat breeding. But along the way he was interested in books and especially philosophical treatises, which he devoured with passion. From 1946 to 1948 he was sent to Europe by the kibbutz movement as a shaliach (envoy) for youth education. At the end of 1961, he moved with his wife and children to Kibbutz Hama'apil, where he lives to this day.

    In 1963 Ze'ev Levy began to lead philosophical seminars in the seminary of the kibbutz movement Hashomer Hatzair in Giv'at Haviva. This task fascinated him so much that he decided - now 43 years old - to take up formal studies in philosophy. In 1969 he completed his philosophy studies at Tel Aviv University with a master's thesis on Franz Rosenzweig - Franz Rosenzweig: A Forerunner of Jewish Existentialism (Hebrew), the first work on Rosenzweig in Israel - and added postgraduate studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, which he completed in 1973 with a dissertationStructuralism- between Method and Theory .

    From 1972 to 1974, Ze'ev Levy taught philosophy at Tel Aviv University, and from 1973 until his retirement in 1989, he taught philosophy and Jewish thought at the University of Haifa. In addition, he taught for two years at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan and for five years at the academic section of the Teachers' Seminary of the Kibbutz Movement in Oranim. In 1983 and 1990-1991 he was a Visiting Professor at the University of Heidelberg and its affiliated Hochschule für Jüdische Studien, and in 1987 Visiting Professor at the State University of New York at Binghamton and Queens College in New York.

    Levy's areas of work include, on the one hand, modern Jewish philosophy, with special emphasis on Spinoza, Mendelssohn, Nachman, Krochmal, Cohen, Buber, Rosenzweig, and Lévinas, and, on the other hand, hermeneutics and ethics from both general and Jewish perspectives. His books, which are also available in English and German: Problems of Modern Jewish Hermeneutics and Ethics (1997) andBaruchSpinoza: His Reception by Jewish Thinkers in Germany  (2001), are also highly regarded in Germany and America. Ze'ev Levy has published 14 books in Hebrew, English, and German, as well as edited several scholarly books on the aforementioned fields of research. Recently Ze'ev Levy published together with his son, the zoologist Nadav Levy, the book Ethics, Emotions and Animals (2002), which deals especially with questions of animal ethics.

    Prof. Ze'ev Levy, who already in 1986 gave a lecture at the International Franz Rosenzweig Congress , had already been invited by us twice in the 1990s to exercise the Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship, but both times he had to cancel due to the serious illness of his wife and her recent death. In April 2002, when Prof. Dr. Zygmunt Bauman, who had agreed to hold the Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship for one month in the summer semester 2002, had to cancel his visit due to his wife's illness, we again asked Prof. Ze'ev Levy whether he would be prepared to stay in Kassel for a shortened but condensed period of time. To our great joy he was able to accept this time - also encouraged by his children. During these four weeks he offered two lectures with accompanying colloquia on Baruch Spinoza and his reception as well as on hermeneutics and ethics from a Jewish perspective.

    Prof. Ze'ev Levy passed away on 3/16/2010. 

    Dr. Feliks Tych
    Professor emeritus at the Institute of History at the Polish Academy of Sciences
    Director of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw

    Feliks Tych was born in Warsaw in 1929 as the ninth child of the family. Until the outbreak of war, he attended Polish elementary school in Radomsko, near the German border, where his father owned a small metal factory. The historic marketplace of this small town was destroyed from the air already on the second day of the German invasion, and the next day the German troops moved in. One of the first ghettos of the General Government for the occupied Polish territories was established here as late as December 1939. In the summer of 1942, the signs of an imminent "action" against the inhabitants of the ghetto grew stronger. As a precaution, the parents decided to let Feliks secretly escape to a Polish acquaintance who was willing to take him to his married sister living in hiding in Warsaw. The escape succeeded and Feliks was passed on by his sister in Warsaw to a Polish high school teacher who took it upon herself to raise him with forged papers as an orphaned nephew alongside her own two children. All those involved in this rescue operation knew what would happen to them if they were discovered. Feliks Tych survived the German occupation in his foster family, with whom he was able to stay in the post-war period, because his parents had been murdered in the Treblinka extermination camp.

    After finishing high school in 1948, Feliks Tych began studying history at the University of Warsaw, which he completed in 1952 with a master's thesis on the beginnings of the Polish labor movement. Due to the quality of his work, he received a scholarship for further studies at the Lomonosov University in Moscow. There he earned a doctorate in 1955 with a dissertation on the 1905-1907 revolution in the Kingdom of Poland, an expanded Polish version of which was published as a book. On the basis of these qualifications, Felks Tych obtained research associate positions at both the Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Institute of the History of the Labor Movement at the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party (PVA). In 1957 he founded the first Polish journal of social history, of which he was editor-in-chief for many years. In 1970 he was appointed associate professor and in 1982 full professor of history. During the waves of purges that began in 1968, which also had an anti-Semitic thrust, Feliks Tych and likewise his wife Lucyna, née Berman were forced out of their jobs as theater directors. From 1971 to 1987, Prof. Feliks Tych was entrusted with the task of heading the Department of Source Editions and Bibliography in the Central Historical Archive at the Central Committee of the PVA, where he edited the Archive of the Workers' Movement series from 1973. But even here he was prematurely retired for political reasons in 1987, and since then he has organized his historical research projects on a private basis.

    After 1990, he held several visiting professorships at various German universities. In 1990, Prof. Tych received the Austrian Victor Adler State Prize for his work on the social history of the labor movement. More and more, the historical reappraisal of the Holocaust and studies of the consequences for the Eastern European countries are becoming the focus of his research - see his book in Polish: The Long Shadow of the Holocaust (1999). In 1996 he became director of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, which he rebuilt. Under his supervision, valuable collections have been processed and edited, such as the Ringelblum Archive from the Warsaw Ghetto. Due to his many commitments, Prof. Dr. Feliks Tych was only able to accept the Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship for two months in 2002. Despite this shortage of time, he succeeded impressively in his lectures to give the students an insight into the history of the Jews of Eastern Europe, into the extent of the Holocaust, and into the devastating moral and cultural after-effects in the Eastern European post-war societies, of which they had previously had no knowledge.

    Gerda Elata-Alster PhD
    emer. professor of literature
    Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva

    Gerda Thau was born in Vienna in 1930, the oldest of three siblings. She was still in school in Vienna. After Austria's annexation by the German Reich in 1938, her father emigrated to Holland - to escape worse - and brought the family with him at the end of 1938. Here, after several moves and changes of school, Gerda entered a Jewish school in Haag. Already in her childhood years she learned to be at home in several languages at the same time: German, Dutch and Yiddish, which she spoke with her grandmother. After the occupation of Holland by the German troops, the family had to change their place of residence again several times and finally hid under a false identity, belonging to the Karaite sect, in Hilversum. Thus, miraculously, the whole family was spared persecution, deportation and murder. After the liberation it turned out that their neighbors knew very well about this camouflage, but did not tell the Germans about it.

    After the Second World War, Gerda Thau graduated from the Lyceum in 1948 and, like her siblings, took private Hebrew lessons. In 1952 she married Mordechai Alster, together they wanted to emigrate to Israel, but first her husband had to take over his father's business, so their three children were born in Holland. During this time Gerda Alster also completed her studies in Semitic philology at the University of Amsterdam and for a time was a lecturer in Hebrew at several Dutch universities. It was only when her husband became ill with cancer that they decided to travel to Israel in 1964. Mordechai Alster died there in 1965 and Gerda Alster remained permanently in Israel with their children. At Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan she got a position as Lecturer in General and Hebrew Literature. In 1973, in her second marriage, she married Chaim Elata, who was a professor of engineering at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva and later became president of the university there. Gerda Elata-Alster earned a PhD from Bar Ilan University in 1981 and subsequently held various positions as Senior Lecturer and Visiting Professor at several universities in England and the United States before being appointed to Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva in 1989 in Foreign Language Literature and Linguistics.

    Gerda Elata-Alster's research moves far beyond the narrower boundaries of linguistics and literary studies, fundamentally incorporating issues of religious studies, philosophy, psychoanalysis, and literary theory. A special characteristic of their research method is the linking of hermeneutics with the art of interpretive retelling derived from the tradition of the Midrash. Her works bear witness to this: Vertical and Horizontal Readings of the Biblical Text (1988), The Deconstruction of Genre in the Book of Jonah (1989),  BiblicalCovenants as Performative Language (1993), From Black Hole to Miracle: Auschwitz as the Postmodern "Condition" (1996), and The Book Was Given to Be Questioned (2001). As far as literature in the narrower sense is concerned, her publications testify to an enormous range from Greek literature and tragedy, which her dissertation deals with, to the Italian Renaissance and today's contemporary Hebrew and European literature.

    Prof. Gerda Gerda Elata-Alster, who already gave a lecture on Rosenzweig's writings from a psychoanalytic perspective at the first International Franz Rosenzweig Congress together with Prof. Benyamin Maoz, presented in her lecture - anticipating a planned book Talk of the Town: Jewish Attitudes to Civic Discourse[1] - the political-cultural rift in modern Israeli society with recourse to literary models. In her seminars, which were also well attended, she dealt with Jewish traditions of interpreting biblical and literary texts, as well as the literary treatment of the figure of Amalek, a biblical memory figure of the enemy of Israel and of evil, whereby Gerda Elata-Alster again advanced to psychoanalytical questions and interpretations.


    [1] Gerda Elata-Alster, Talk of the Town: Jewish Attitudes to Civic Discourse, (in preparation).

    Kurt Rudolf Fischer PhD
    former Professor of Philosophy University of Pennsylvania at Millersvill,
    Honorary Professor at the University of Vienna

    Kurt Rudolf Fischer was born in Vienna in 1922 and attended the Realgymnasium and the Textile School there until the penultimate grade. After the annexation of Austria to the German Reich, he first fled to relatives in Brno, where he continued to attend textile school, but was soon caught up by the German troops occupying Czechoslovakia. When all borders were already closed to Jewish refugees after the outbreak of World War II, his parents and he received permission to leave the country for Shanghai, the very last place of refuge still accepting refugees. In Shanghai, he got by with all kinds of jobs - including as a translator, night watchman and boxer.

    After the Second World War, he was able to study at St. John's University there. In 1949, penniless but with good academic results, he received an entry permit to the USA, where he continued his studies at the University of California at Berkeley, graduating first with a Master of Arts in German Studies (1952) and then with a PhD in Philosophy (1964). After several positions as Teaching Assistant, Lecturer in Philosophy at Berkeley, and Assistant Professor at Harvard and Chicago, he was appointed Full Professor at the University of Pennsylvania at Millersvill in 1967, where he was also Chairman of the Department of Philosophy for over ten years. Invitations to Vienna eventually led him to return entirely to his native city, where he still teaches philosophy at the university as an honorary professor.

    In the USA he worked out above all the European roots of American philosophy and followed analytic philosophy in its history of development. With his monograph Franz Brentano's Philosophy of Evidence (1964), he introduced discussion in the United States of the historical sources of Edmund Husserl's phenomenology and Alexius von Meinong's object theory. Both were school-forming disciples of Franz Brentano, who himself-although the most important and influential philosopher in Austria at the turn of the century-was allowed to teach at the University of Vienna only as a Privatdozent for fifteen years as a punitive measure by the emperor and the Catholic Church before leaving Vienna in anger in 1895. Kurt Rudolf Fischer, however, also commented on the controversy opened by Walter Kaufmann in the United States about Friedrich Nietzsche and his philosophical influence on the various movements that burgeoned in the 20th century. They appeared in German under the title Nietzsche und das 20. Jahrhundert. Existentialism - National Socialism - Psychoanalysis - Vienna Circle (1986).

    After Kurt Rudolf Fischer returned to his native Vienna as a relieved professor and became an honorary professor at the University of Vienna, he published a number of important works on Anglo-American philosophy and its Austrian sources - see the works: Philosophy from Vienna (1991), Essays on Anglo-American and Austrian Philosophy (1999), and the edition The Golden Age of Austrian Philosophy (1995, 1999). Another topic of his research is National Socialism - in an edition edited with Franz WimmerDergeistige Anschluß. Philosophie und Politik an der Universität Wien (1993) he made accessible the first public debate about the University of Vienna during the period of National Socialism.

    In Kassel, Prof. Kurt Rudolf Fischer had been invited to give guest lectures before: Once in 1982 in connection with the guest professorship of his friend Paul Feyerabend and secondly in 1991 as one of the main lecturers of the large congress held at the University of Kassel: Die Wiener Jahrhundertwende[1]. The courses offered by Prof. Kurt Rudolf Fischer in his Franz-Rosenzweig guest semester all stemmed from the above-mentioned thematic complexes: "Auschwitz as a Philosophical Problem", "The Golden Age of Austrian Philosophy - From Franz Brentano to the Vienna Circle" and "Introduction to 20th Century Anglo-American Philosophy".

    Prof. Kurt Rudolf Fischer PhD passed away on 3/22/2014 in Lancaster, PE, USA.


    [1] Jürgen Nautz, Richard Vahrenkamp (eds.), Die Wiener Jahrhundertwende. Einflüsse - Umwelt - Wirkungen, Vienna 1993, therein: Kurt Rudolf Fischer: "Zur Theorie des Wiener Fin de siècle", pp. 110-127.

    Albert H. Friedlander PhD DD h. c. OBE
    Rabbi at Westminster Synagogue
    Dean of Leo Baeck College

    Albert H. Friedlander was born in 1927 in Berlin, where he spent the first twelve years of his childhood. After 1933, he and his siblings experienced initial hostility at school and narrowly escaped worse persecution on several occasions. The Reich pogrom of "Kristallnacht" finally made the parents realize that they had to force the family to emigrate. This succeeded at the beginning of 1939, first to Cuba and finally to the USA. Albert Friedlander completed his school education in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Thanks to his good intellectual and athletic achievements, he received a scholarship to study religious studies, history and Jewish studies, which he began at the University of Chicago, working all kinds of part-time jobs along the way.

    Albert H. Friedlander graduated as a rabbi in 1952 from the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, after which he first became a rabbi in Fort Smith, a small town in Arkansas. Later he moved to the positions of student rabbi at Columbia University and as rabbi in East Hampton, N.Y., so that he could work on his dissertation Leo Baeck: Teacher of Theresienstadt , with which he earned his PhD in 1956. After his marriage in 1961 to Evelyn Philipp, Albert H. Friedlander accepted the call as a liberal rabbi in London in 1966, where he was active in the Westminster Synagogue from 1971 and at the same time taught as a lecturer at Leo Baeck College, of which he was dean from 1982.

    The scholarly works of Albert H. Friedlander can be divided into three main areas: Without doubt, he is the most important interpreter and also successor of Leo Baeck, the great leading figure of liberal Judaism in Germany. Leo Baeck shared in the suffering of German Jews right up to the most severe period of persecution: he survived in the concentration camp Theresienstadt. Despite this time of suffering, Leo Baeck was among the first to reopen Christian-Jewish dialogue in Germany after the war. Albert H. Friedlander's book Leo Baeck: Teacher of Theresienstadt (1968; Engl. 2nd ed. 1991) and the Leo-Baeck-Werkausgabe in six volumes have made the life and work of this important German-Jewish thinker permanently accessible. A second topic revolves around the historical and religious-philosophical reappraisal of the Shoah. Here the books Out of the Whirlwind: The Literature of the Holocaust (1968, 1996), The End of the Night: Jewish and Christian Thinkers after the Shoah (1995)[1] and together with Elie Wiesel The Six Days of Destruction (1988) are to be mentioned above all. Albert H. Friedlander is concerned with the mental reflection and overcoming of the experience of our recent history, so that a Shoah in Europe can no longer become possible. Thirdly, Friedlander's efforts for the Christian-Jewish dialogue tie in with this. Since 1979 he has been active as a Jewish dialogue partner at all church congresses in Germany, but also in dialogue with the Anglican Church in England. In this regard, the books Ein Streifen Gold (1989; English 1991) and  RidersToward the Dawn: from Pessimism to Tempered Optimism (1993) are particularly worthy of mention. For his commitment in the field of Christian-Jewish dialogue, he received both the Order of Merit I Class of the Federal Republic of Germany from the President of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Order Officer of the Royal Order of the British Empire (OBE) from the Queen. In 1997, he was a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin and, among many other visiting professorships, was twice Martin Buber Visiting Professor at the University of Frankfurt a.M.

    Albert H. Friedlander's lectures and seminars on the life and work of Leo Baeck as well as on the literary reappraisal of the Holocaust and on Christian-Jewish dialogue made a deep impression on all participants and left a lasting impression on them. As a long-time friend of Rosenzweig research in Kassel since the first Franz Rosenzweig Congress in 1986, Rabbi Albert H. Friedlander spoke words of thanks at the reception by the Lord Mayor of Kassel at the second International Franz Rosenzweig Congress in 2004. Three months later, Rabbi Albert H. Friedlander died of sudden heart failure on July 6, 2004, torn from the midst of his manifold labors.


    [1] Albert H. Friedlander, The End of Night: Jewish and Christian Thinkers after the Shoah, Gütersloh 1995.

    Rafael N. Rosenzweig
    Economist and agriculturalist
    Tel Aviv and Zurich 

    Rafael Rosenzweig was born in Frankfurt a.M. in 1922, the son of Franz and Edith Rosenzweig. When he grew up, his father was already afflicted with a total paralysis disease. But he experienced how famous scholars visited his father at his bedside, and was allowed to be present when Martin Buber and his father worked together on the Germanization of the Scriptures . Already in these years, but also in the years after his father's death in 1929, he spent many months with his paternal grandmother in Kassel.

    His mother belonged to the circle of those German Jews who wanted to persevere in Germany even after the National Socialists seized power and the persecution of the Jews began, because they - unfortunately wrongly - hoped that the moral substance of German culture would not permit anything worse than the initial rejections and disadvantages. Only after the Reich pogrom in November 1938 did she agree to allow her then still minor son to emigrate to Palestine. In 1939 she followed on the last ship with Jewish emigrants.

    After graduating from high school, Rafael Rosenzweig joined the kibbutz movement and put all his energy into the agricultural development work of Kibbutz Shaar Hagolan. From 1944 to 1946 he was a soldier in the Jewish Brigade of the British Army. Thus, after 1945, he returned for the first time to the destroyed German cities of Frankfurt a.M. and Kassel and had to learn that many of his relatives and friends had been murdered.

    In 1954 he was released from his kibbutz to study national economics. He completed these studies with a diploma from the London School of Economics. In 1963 he was appointed head of the Training Division for Experts in Development Assistance of the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture, and finally in 1966 Senior Economic Advisor in the Office of the Agricultural Attaché of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. Since his retirement in 1987, Rafael Rosenzweig has been able to return to more scholarly work.

    After his opening lecture "German and Jew. Franz Rosenzweig's Path to the Jewish People" in 1986 at the International Franz Rosenzweig Congress , the then Hessian Minister of State for Science and Art, Dr. Vera Rüdiger, supported by the then President of the University of Kassel, Prof. Dr. Franz Neumann, invited Rafael Rosenzweig to spend a guest semester in Kassel. However, Rafael Rosenzweig did not want to accept this invitation right away, because he did not want to be invited merely as the son of his famous father, but because of his own work in economics, which he wanted to complete after his retirement.

    Already in his very first scientific work as an economic advisor in the Israeli peace movement, Rafael Rosenzweig had worked out that a future for Israel was only conceivable in a long-term cooperation with its Arab neighbors. After his retirement, Rafael Rosenzweig took up these early studies again and expanded them scientifically; for example in the study The Economic Consequences of Zionism (1989) and now in his main work The Quest for Security (1996), which was published in time for the beginning of his Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship under the title The Quest for Security at the beginning of 1998.

    At the invitation of the Department of Economics, Rafael Rosenzweig took up the Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship in 1998 and presented the main features of his book The Striving for Security[1] in the main lecture; furthermore, he offered a seminar on "Cooperation in Israel, with Special Emphasis on the Kibbutz Movement". In addition, in a course for students of all faculties, he addressed "The Consequences of the Persecution of the Jews for Germany" in order to deal with the consequences that the destruction of Judaism in Europe had, especially for German culture and intellectual history.

    Completely unexpectedly, torn from his work, Rafael N. Rosenzweig died on December 2, 2001 in Forch near Zurich. 


    [1] Rafael N. Rosenzweig, Das Streben nach Sicherheit, Marburg 1998.

    Dr. h. c. Emil L. Fackenheim PhD
    emer. professor of philosophy and rabbi

    Emil Ludwig Fackenheim was born in Halle an der Saale in 1916. In 1935 he was still able to graduate from the city high school there. In order to set a sign of resistance against the increasingly brutal exclusion of Jews in Germany, he decided to study rabbinism at the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin, which he was able to complete with ordination as a rabbi. At the same time he studied - as far as it was still possible for Jewish students at that time - philosophy and Arabic studies at the University of Halle. During the Reich pogrom in November 1938, Emil Fackenheim was deported along with many others to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he was interned until February 1939. Soon after his release, he managed to emigrate to Scotland, where he was initially able to resume his philosophy studies at the University of Aberdeen, but was then interned in Britain and Canada as a German citizen. It was not until 1942 that he was allowed to resume his studies in philosophy at the University of Toronto, so that he was able to graduate with a PhD in 1945.

    Already working as a rabbi in Hamilton since 1943, Emil Fackenheim received a position as Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Toronto in 1948. In 1961 he was appointed Professor of Philosophy there - a professorship he held until his retirement in 1981. After two years as Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Emil Fackenheim moved permanently to Jerusalem in 1983. Emil Fackenheim received several honors, and in 1992 the Festschrift Emil Fackenheim: German Philosophy and Jewish Thought was published in Toronto.

    With Emil Fackenheim, the Department of Philosophy in the Department of Education/Human Sciences has been able to appoint one of the most important Jewish philosophers of religion of the second half of the 20th century to the Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship. Emil Fackenheim had already come to the hometown of his grandparents in 1986 for the International Franz Rosenzweig Congress and had lectured on the connecting lines of his own thinking to Rosenzweig's existential philosophy from Jewish sources.

    Emil Fackenheim's early philosophical works on medieval and classical German philosophy - such as his books Metaphysics and Historicity (1961) and The Religious Dimension in Hegel's Thought (1967) - are still among the most respected philosophical interpretations in their field. Another major strand of his early studies is on Jewish thought, such as his book Paths to Jewish Belief (1960). These are the two roots of his thought, which Emil Fackenheim - intertwined - since 1967 has focused entirely on the philosophical and theological concerns of the historical incision of Auschwitz. Without facing the horrible events of Auschwitz, there can be no unbroken reconnection to the moral dimension of occidental philosophy, but even the Jewish faith of a covenant with God is put to an extreme test by the Shoa. This is by no means a rejection of these traditions, but their highest challenge: to prove themselves morally and religiously in thinking against Auschwitz. This is also the theme of Emil Fackenheim's major works Encounters Between Judaism and Modern Philosophy (1973), To Mend the World (1982), The Jewish Bible after the Holocaust (1991).

    All three of the courses Emil Fackenheim offered in Kassel as Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professor revolved around this fundamental theme of thinking about Auschwitz. In "Was ist Judentum" (What is Judaism) he presented his book What is Judaism (1987), which has just been translated into German.[1] In "Jüdisches Denken im 20. Jahrhundert" (Jewish Thought in the 20th Century) he dealt with Franz Rosenzweig and Martin Buber and asked them to what extent their thinking is also able to give an answer to the events of Auschwitz. Finally, in the seminar "Foundations of Jewish Thought after the Holocaust," Emil Fackenheim dealt with topics from his main work To Mend the World.

    At the second Franz Rosenzweig Congress in Kassel in March 2004, Emil Fackenheim was to give one of the central plenary lectures. He died unexpectedly six months earlier on September 19, 2003. In place of his lecture, a Fackenheim Memorial was then held at the International Congress, which appears in the Congress Proceedings.[2]


    [1] Emil L. Fackenheim, What is Judaism? An Interpretation for the Present, Berlin 1999.

    [2] "Emil L. Fackenheim Memorial," in Wolfdietrich Schmied-Kowarzik (ed.), Franz Rosenzweig's "New Thought."International Congress Kassel 2004, 2 vols, Freiburg/Munich 2006, vol. pp. 597-641.

    Dr. Dr. h. c. Hans Keilson
    Psychotherapist, psychoanalyst
    and writer, Bussum

    Hans Keilson was born in Bad Freienwalde/Oder in 1909. After graduating from high school, he first trained as a sports teacher and then studied medicine and music in Berlin, but after his medical state examination he was unable to work as a doctor in National Socialist Germany. In 1933, Fischer Verlag published his first novel Das Leben geht weiter (Life Goes On), in which he tells the story of the economic decline of a small merchant - his father . The book, along with many others, was banned and burned shortly thereafter. In 1936 Hans Keilson emigrated with his wife to the Netherlands, where he became active in the field of social education. When the Netherlands was occupied by the Germans, he went into hiding and worked in cooperation with a Dutch resistance group in the medical, psychotherapeutic and educational care of hidden Jewish children and young people. After World War II, he continued this work. With others, he founded the organization "Le Ezrat HeJeled," which cared for Jewish orphans, survivors of the Holocaust.

    In 1947 he took the Dutch medical exam and completed a psychoanalytic training. In 1959 his second novel The Death of the Adversary was published, in which he processed his own experiences during the Nazi rule in Germany and in the Netherlands. Beginning in 1967, he began extensive long-term research on trauma in Holocaust orphans at the University Children's Psychiatric Clinic. With the sensational and shattering results of his research, Hans Keilson received his doctorate in 1979 at the age of 70. The comprehensive book Sequential Traumatization in Children   - now translated into several languages - has become a standard work in trauma research. His research has provided insights into the emergence, course and reinforcement of severe trauma in children in the developmental phase, which have since been taken into account and further developed by a number of international studies.

    At the invitation of the Department of Psychoanalytic Psychology in the Faculty of Education/Human Sciences , Hans Keilson presented the results of his major research work as Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professor in a lecture entitled "Traumatization by man-made-disaster and the concept of sequential traumatization". Furthermore, he offered a seminar "Prejudice and Hatred" in which he not only dealt with various aspects of the emergence of prejudice, its transmission in historical images and its political exploitation - not shying away from taboo topics such as "left-wing anti-Semitism" - but also tried to shed psychoanalytic light on its roots.

    In cooperation with a number of colleagues from a wide range of disciplines, from philosophy to history, political science, education, and psychoanalysis, Hans Keilson conducted a lecture series with a colloquium on the topic "What was National Socialism? What does it mean to remember it?" in front of over one hundred and fifty participants, which had a lasting effect on the discussion among students and colleagues.

    Impressive and moving, however, were also his public readings in the context of the Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation, the Protestant Forum as well as on the occasion of the opening of the Institute for Psychoanalysis at the University of Kassel, in which Hans Keilson read primarily from his novel Der Tod des Widersachers as well as from his poetry collection Sprachwurzellos 

    His Kassel lectures appeared in 1998 in the volume Wohin die Sprache nicht reicht. On his 90th birthday, the University of Kassel organized a symposium in his honor entitled "Gedenk und vergiß - im Abschaum der Geschichte" (Remember and Forget - in the Scum of History). The collected literary works of the much honored writer Hans Keilson have since been published in two volumes by S. Fischer Verlag.[1]

    Prof. Dr. Hans Keilson passed away in Hilversum on May 31, 2011.


    [1] Hans Keilson, Wohin die Sprache nicht reicht. Essays - Lectures - Essays 1936-1996. with an afterword by Wolfdietrich Schmied-Kowarzik, Giessen 1998; Marianne Leuzinger-Bohleber and Wolfdietrich Schmied-Kowarzik (eds.), "Gedenk und vergiß - im Abschaum der Geschichte". Trauma and Remembering. Hans Keilson zu Ehren, Tübingen: edition diskord 2001; Hans Keilson, Werke in zwei Volumes. I: Romane und Erzählungen, II: Gedichte und Essays, Frankfurt a. M.: S. Fischer 2005.

    Rivka Horwitz PhD
    emer. Professor of Jewish Intellectual History
    Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva

    Rivka Horwitz, née Goldschmidt, was born in Bad Homburg in 1926; her paternal family came from Kassel. To escape harassment, the family emigrated to Palestine in the fall of 1933. After completing her schooling and military service, she studied Jewish philosophy, religious mysticism and the history of philosophy, first in Jerusalem and then in New York. In 1962 she graduated with a PhD in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania (Bryn Mawr) with a thesis on Franz Rosenzweig's philosophy of language.

    After several appointments since 1965 as Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor at various universities in the United States and Israel, Rivka Horwitz joined Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva in 1975 and has been Professor of Jewish Thought in the Department of History since 1981. In 1982/83 she was a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Religion at Harvard University and in 1987/88 a Visiting Professor at the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien at the University of Heidelberg.

    Her field of work covers the entire tradition of Jewish thought in European intellectual history, but her special research focus lies in the study of Jewish philosophy and religion of the 19th and 20th centuries in the German-speaking world. In this field, her research enjoys a high international reputation. Her most important work focuses on the history of Jewish thought and its renewal in the 19th century, as well as the topicality of the works of Franz Rosenzweig and Martin Buber in the philosophy of religion.

    These focal points of work were also the focus of the courses offered by Prof. Rivka Horwitz as Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professor in the Department of Religion of the Department of Education/Human Sciences . She devoted her main lecture to "Rosenzweig's Language Thought." With a thesis on Speech and Time in the Philosophy of Franz Rosenzweig Rivka Horwitz had earned her PhD in 1962. Following Else Freund's dissertation Die Existenzphilosophie Franz Rosenzweig, which appeared in Breslau in 1933 but was withdrawn immediately after the Nazis seized power, Rivka Horwitz's work was one of the first entries into the philosophical interpretation of Rosenzweig's works. In the years that followed, Rivka Horwitz had continued to research Franz Rosenzweig. Thus, at the International Franz Rosenzweig Congress in Kassel in 1986, she lectured on the topic "Why did Rosenzweig not let himself be baptized?" and a year later she published a selection of Rosenzweig's letters and diaries in Hebrew with a large introduction. All this now flowed into her interpretation of Rosenzweig's linguistic thought, which she presented in Kassel.

    In another seminar, "Are Buber's dialogical thinking and his Hasidic message still relevant?" she introduced her listeners to basic motifs of Buber's religious philosophy. Here, too, Rivka Horwitz was able to draw on many years of her own research. For example, she had traced the exciting genesis of Martin Buber's main philosophical work Ich und Du (1923) for the first time. Originally emerging from a lecture on "Religion as Presence" that Rosenzweig had persuaded Buber to attend in 1921, its further development shows traces of the critical confrontations with Rosenzweig that established their friendship and later collaboration. It was fascinating to witness how Rivka Horwitz succeeded in bringing these exciting intellectual-historical connections to life in their topicality.

    In a third course, "Moses Mendelssohn: 'Jerusalem' and the Correspondence with Lavater," Rivka Horwitz addressed not only Mendelssohn's inauguration of the movement for the emancipation of Jews in Germany, but also the resistance that stood in the way of their emancipation from the beginning. This was also the subject of a series of public lectures given by Prof. Rivka Horwitz in Kassel. Some of her Kassel lectures and papers have since been published in an anthology.[1]

    Prof. Rivka Horwitz passed away on Jan. 4, 2007.


    [1] Rivka Horwitz, Multiple Faceted Judaism, Beer Sheva 2002.

    Dr. med. phil. Benyamin Maoz
    em. Professor of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
    Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva

    Benyamin Maoz was born in Kassel in 1929; he came from the long-established and respected Kassel family Mosbacher. After many repressions and humiliations the family had to suffer, they emigrated to Palestine in 1937. After his schooling and military service, he began his medical studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, then transferred to the University of Amsterdam, where he graduated in 1959 with the degree of Dr. med. From 1959 he worked first as a general practitioner in the Kupat-Holim Kibbutz, then from 1970 in various clinics. After further training in social psychiatry, he also received his doctorate in 1973. Since 1979 he has been Head of the Psychiatric Department of the Soroka Medical Center in Beer-Sheva. In parallel, he was Lecturer and Senior Lecturer at Tel Aviv University and has been Professor of Psychiatry at Ben Gurion University in Beer-Sheva since 1978. Invitations to guest professorships have taken him to the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, and the University of Marburg (1989).

    Benyamin Maoz is a social psychiatrist and psychotherapist; in this field he is an internationally recognized specialist in trauma and life crisis research. With Prof. Benyamin Maoz, the Department of Social Work appointed a second scientist from Kassel to the Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship. Benyamin Maoz had already returned to his native city of Kassel for the first time in 1986 for the International Franz Rosenzweig Congress and lectured then together with Gerda Elata-Alster on psychotherapeutic aspects in the thinking of Franz Rosenzweig.

    Although - similar to William W. Hallo, the childhood friend from his childhood days in Kassel - psychiatry is not represented as a subject of a medical faculty in Kassel, Benyamin Maoz saw it from the beginning as a special challenge to teach in the study focus "Social Therapy" of the Department of Social Work because of his special interests in social psychiatry. In this respect, his subject-specific lectures "Psychiatric and Psychosomatic Illnesses in a Systems-Theoretical Perspective" and his seminar "Posttraumatic Reactions in the First and Second Generation - Unhappiness and War Neuroses, Terror and the Holocaust" met with a lively response from the students. He was particularly interested in going beyond purely theoretical knowledge to provide the students with orientations for social therapeutic competence, thereby enabling them to make their own decisions and take their own actions.

    Benyamin Maoz accepted the Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship also because he wanted to realize something of the "new learning" in Rosenzweig's sense. In the twenties, Franz Rosenzweig had already invited physicians to lectures and study groups on questions of "Jewish ethics" in the field of medicine at the Free Jewish Teaching House . In this tradition Benyamin Maoz placed his seminar "Biblical figures in the light of a modern psychological analysis as well as problems of a 'Jewish ethics'", in which he used biblical texts and the ethics of Maimonides to deal with and discuss everyday life decisions in the family, but also in the professional sphere.[1] He also gave lectures in the public domain at .

    His public lectures in the Philosophical Forum as well as in the framework of the Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation were also an important part of his perception of the Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship, for it was precisely through this that Benyamin Maoz gave a vivid account of his family's life in Kassel before and during the Nazi era, the life in the first years in Palestine or spoke from the medical point of view of the traumatic late effects of the survivors of the Shoa, the listeners became suddenly and shatteringly aware of the monstrousness of the Nazi crimes that happened only 50 to 60 years ago, of which we must not cease to remember.

    Prof. Dr. Dr. Benyamin Maoz died on 28. 8. 2014 in Tel Aviv.


    [1] This is also evidenced by his numerous medical, psychotherapeutic and ethical individual publications in English and German, which often result from joint colloquia and show several co-authors who cannot be referred to in detail here.

    Dr. Dr. h. c. Jacob Goldberg
    Professor Emeritus of Eastern European History
    The Hebrew University, Jerusalem

    Jacob Goldberg was born in Lodz in 1924. During the Nazi occupation of Poland he was forced to work in a munitions factory, first in the Lodz ghetto and then in a subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp under terrible conditions. After liberation from the concentration camp, he returned to his hometown of Lodz. He was the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust. He began studying history at the University of Lodz and became a university lecturer there himself - after receiving his doctorate (Dr. Ph. ). When anti-Semitism rose again in Poland, he emigrated to Israel, where he has taught Eastern European history at the University of Jerusalem since 1968; since 1989 he has been director of the Center for Research on the History and Culture of the Jews of Eastern Europe there.

    Jacob Goldberg is undisputedly one of the best experts and most respected researchers on the history of Eastern European Jewry. In his research he has focused primarily on economic and social history and the situation of Jewish communities in 17th and 18th century Poland. In his numerous scientific publications he elaborates on the legal, economic, cultural and religious life situation of Eastern European Jewry and its enormous influence on Western European countries, which is still far too little known. For his work Jewish Privileges in the Polish Commonwealth he was honored with a prestigious award, and from the University of Warsaw he was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1992. He has been a visiting professor in the USA, England and Poland, as well as in Cologne, Munich and Berlin.

    At the invitation of the History Department in the Faculty of Social Sciences , Jacob Goldberg presented "The Social and Cultural Development of Eastern European Jewry" in a large-scale lecture in the summer semester of 1993. In the seminar "The Jews in Poland-Lithuania", which followed on from this, he developed this in even greater detail using descriptions of the living situation of the Jews in the Stetl under Polish-Lithuanian and Russian rule. In the meantime, a partial study from these Franz-Rosenzweig guest lectures has been published: "Jewish Urban Population in Early Modern East Central Europe".[1] Jacob Goldberg visualized in his lectures a world of which we in Western Europe have hardly taken any notice and which has meanwhile not only sunk into history, but whose traces were completely destroyed by the Germans under National Socialism. Along with the Eastern European Jews who were murdered by the Germans, the Yiddish culture with its great charisma, which at the same time represented such an incomparable link between the German and the Eastern European culture, also sank.

    In another seminar, Jacob Goldberg then examined the image that had been spread in Western Europe since the 18th century of "German travelers to Eastern Europe" and attempted to correct the distortions that had been handed down as a result. Among other things, he also talked about Georg Forster, who himself, coming from Nassenhuben near Gdansk, had recorded the living conditions there after his circumnavigation of the world with James Cook and after his professorship for natural history in Kassel on his journey through Poland in 1784 and during his stay as professor for natural history at the University of Vilnius. Again, it was fascinating to hear Jacob Goldberg decode these texts anew from a geographical and historical counterpoint.

    Furthermore, Prof. Jacob Goldberg and his wife, the ethnographer Dr. Olga Goldberg, gave a series of public lectures in Kassel on various dimensions of everyday life in the Eastern European Stetl, for example on Yiddish women's literature written in Hebrew from the 19th century until the destruction of Judaism in Eastern Europe, which is completely unknown to us.

    Prof. Dr. Jacob Goldberg passed away in Jerusalem on 15. 11. 2011.


    [1] Jacob Goldberg, "Jewish Urban Populations in Early Modern East Central Europe," in: Berlin Yearbook of East European History 1 (1996).

    Dr. Zvi H. Rosen
    em. Professor of Political Philosophy
    Tel Aviv University

    Zvi H. Rosen was born in Danzig in 1925. Already in his childhood he was exposed to rejection by German classmates. In 1939, however, the real persecutions began in Danzig, to which almost all his family members fell victim. By lucky coincidences he escaped the henchmen. After World War II, Zvi H. Rosen took up his studies of philosophy and sociology in Poland - first in Wrocław, then in Warsaw . From 1953 to 1958 he was a lecturer of philosophy at the Universities of Wrocław and Warsaw. In 1957 he earned a Ph.D. from the University of Warsaw under Leszek Kolakowski. The resurgence of anti-Semitism in Poland finally prompted him to emigrate to Israel. After several years as head of the Technical College in Tel Aviv, Zvi H. Rosen has been professor of philosophy at Tel Aviv University  since 1964 - from 1983 to 1988 he was dean of the Faculty of Philosophy.

    His books and philosophical treatises, written in several languages - Polish, English, Hebrew, German - and translated into even more numerous languages, revolve primarily around three subject areas: 1. the philosophical-historical exploration of the Young Hegelians - especially Moses Hess, Bruno Bauer and Karl Marx; 2. studies of the political philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche; 3. the philosophical exploration of Critical Theory, especially studies of Max Horkheimer and Herbert Marcuse. All these three fields of research are intertwined, whereby Zvi H. Rosen is particularly interested in elaborating the interrelation of political and religious thought.

    Before his appointment to the Franz-Rosenzweig-Guest-Professorship by the Department of Education/Human Sciences , Zvi H. Rosen already had thematic working connections, on the one hand through his philosophical-historical research on the Young Hegelians and on the other hand through his investigations on the critical theory - a philosophical direction that was represented by Ulrich Sonnemann at the University of Kassel.

    Thus it was also quite understandable that Zvi H. Rosen offered a seminar on "Moses Hess' Political and Social Philosophy" in his guest semester, which was postponed to the winter semester 1992/93, in order to uncover the inner interconnection of socio-political and Jewish-religious thinking, especially in his early writings and late work, and on the other hand in the seminar "Max Horkheimer: Jewish Humanism and Critical Theory," to draw attention to the - partly kept under lock and key by Horkheimer himself, partly withheld by his executors - Jewish sources in Horkheimer's thought. These studies have since appeared in the monograph Max Horkheimer[1] .

    In his main lecture followed by a colloquium, Zvi H. Rosen dealt with "Friedrich Nietzsche's Political World", a very exciting and controversial interpretation that tried to defend Nietzsche against his manifold falsifiers. This lecture is also to be published as a book in the near future.

    Furthermore, Zvi H. Rosen gave a series of public lectures - also during later visits in the following years - which also revolved around the inner connections of political and religious views among German and Jewish thinkers in the last two centuries.


    [1] Zvi Rosen, Max Horkheimer, Munich 1995.

    William W. Hallo PhD h. c.
    emer. professor of Assyriology
    Yale University - New Haven, Connecticut

    William W. Hallo was born in Kassel in 1928. He came from an old-established Kassel family, his father Dr. Rudolf Hallo - at first immediate successor of Franz Rosenzweig in the management of the Free Jewish Teaching House - was Custos at the Kassel State Museum in the twenties; the traces of his fruitful work are preserved until today. His mother, Dr. Gertrud Hallo, also came from a respected family of factory owners in Kassel. At the end of the 1930s, the family, having previously been subjected to harassment and humiliation, was able to emigrate to the United States via England.

    William W. Hallo studied Near Eastern Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago and the Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, earning a PhD from the University of Chicago in 1955. After several research positions and professorships at various universities in the U.S., he has been Professor of Assyriology at Yale University in New Haven since 1976 and is also Head of the Babylonia Collection at Sterling Memorial Library, the largest collection of Sumerian and Babylonian texts. William W. Hallo is one of the most internationally renowned representatives of Ancient Near Eastern Studies; he has received several honorary guest invitations to major research institutions, is on the board of several professional societies, and has been awarded an honorary doctorate, Doctor of Humane Letters. Ancient Near Eastern Studies owes him not only the first decipherment of some important texts from the earliest period of human written culture, but as a profound expert on the languages and cultures of Mesopotamia in the first four millennia BCE, he has also contributed significantly to an overall cultural-historical interpretation of human history.

    Prof. William W. Hallo was the first scholar born in Kassel to be appointed to the Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship. In 1986 he had returned to his native Kassel for the first time to speak at the International Franz Rosenzweig Congress on problems and experiences in translating Rosenzweig's Star of Redemption into English (1971). Nevertheless, accepting the Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship was not an easy decision for him, because William W. Hallo did not really know what the students in Kassel expected from him as an Ancient Orientalist and therefore what would await him at a university that had no Ancient Oriental Studies to offer. Out of respect for the work of Franz Rosenzweig, William W. Hallo accepted the invitation of the Department of Social Sciences to the visiting professorship in Ancient History. However, this challenge for both sides turned out to be a great event. William W. Hallo delivered the three-hour lecture "Origins - the Ancient Near Eastern Background of Some Human Achievements" to a large audience listening to him with rapt attention - the status of women, the school system, the financial system, and also the calendar, mythology, and the calendar. The constraint of speaking to students who had only rudimentary prior knowledge of general history from the period of the early advanced civilizations of Mesopotamia became a fruitful challenge for William W. Hallo to choose this form of presentation, which appeals to a broad audience, also for the elaboration of his lecture in the large book Origins[1] that has since been published.

    In another three-hour seminar, William W. Hallo covered "Scripture and its Translations: Theory and Practice of Transmission from its Origins to the Present Day," in which he particularly addressed the translation of Scripture undertaken by Buber and Rosenzweig , but was also able to vividly contribute his own rich experience with translations from Babylonian texts found in the Bible to the translation of Franz Rosenzweig's Star of Redemption .

    Prof. Dr. William W. Hallo passed away on March 30, 2015 in Hamden, CT, USA.


    [1] William W. Hallo, Origins. The Ancient Near Eastern Background of Some Modern Western Institutions, Leiden/New York/Cologne 1996.

    Dr. Eveline Goodman-Thau
    Professor of Jewish Studies

    Eveline Thau was born in Vienna in 1934, and in 1939 her family fled to Holland, where she survived the period of German occupation in hiding. After the war, she attended high school in Hilversum and, after graduating from high school in 1953, began her studies in English literature and Jewish studies at the University of Amsterdam. In 1956, she married and emigrated to Israel. Only after her five children had grown up did she resume her studies in biblical studies, rabbinic texts and Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Since 1976, Eveline Goodman-Thau has taught her own seminars in Jewish exegesis and theology after Auschwitz. Since 1982 she has been a lecturer in Jewish philosophy and literature at the Martin Buber Institute in Jerusalem and has given numerous guest lectures in the USA and in several European countries, since 1987 also in the Federal Republic of Germany.

    The focal points of Eveline Goodman-Thau's scholarly work are: the study of the Bible and its rabbinic exegesis, the examination of Jewish philosophy, the experience of Dutch Jewry (from 1966 to 1976 she was director of the Institute for Research on Dutch Jewry and compiled a lexicon on the Dutch "Righteous of the Nations"). Since 1989 she has been on the board of the European Society of Women for Theological Research.

    At the invitation of the departments of Protestant and Catholic Religion, Eveline Goodman-Thau was appointed Visiting Professor at the University of Kassel in 1990, becoming the first woman to hold the Franz-Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship. Although she had not yet received her doctorate at the time of her appointment, her scholarly work in the field of biblical studies and the Kabbalah, and especially her commitment to the field of Christian-Jewish dialogue and within women's theological studies, made it possible for her to jump this formal bureaucratic hurdle.

    Eveline Goodman-Thau offered the following seminars in the guest semester, which was postponed to the winter semester 1990/91 for scheduling reasons. All of them led to the center of research on the Jewish heritage of European intellectual history and, fortunately, all of them were very well attended: "Problems of the Identity of Jews in Germany", "Franz Kafka and Paul Celan - Tradition as Contradiction", "Franz Rosenzweig - Translator of the Bible".

    The filling of the Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship in 1990 proved to be almost fateful for Eveline Goodman-Thau and at the same time particularly fruitful for the continuation of the institution of the Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship. Prof. Ulrich Sonnemann offered Eveline Goodman-Thau the opportunity to complete her doctorate with a thesis in the philosophy of religion, parts of which she had presented in a colloquium. To enable her to do this, the Otto Braun Fund granted Eveline Goodman-Thau scholarship funds for two additional semesters of research at the University of Kassel. This in turn created the basis for planning and organizing three scientific symposia on the topics "Kabbalah and Romanticism" (1991), "Light and Spirit - On the Metaphor of Light" (1992), "Messianism between Myth and Power" (1993) together with Eveline Goodman-Thau in the Interdisciplinary Working Group for Basic Philosophical Problems , the results of which are available in two volumes.

    In the fall of 1992 the dissertation of Eveline Goodman-Thau Zeitbruch. Zur messianischen Grunderfahrung in der jüdischen Tradition [1], and in February 1993 the disputation could still be carried out at the sickbed of Ulrich Sonnemann. A few weeks later, at the age of 81, Ulrich Sonnemann succumbed to his cancer, which had dragged on for over a year.

    After her guest semesters in Kassel, Dr. Eveline Goodman-Thau received another call for a guest semester in Oldenburg and then a long-term guest professorship at the University of HalleWittenberg, from where she continued - still in close connection with Kassel - also the scientific symposia "Jewish Thought in European Intellectual History". In 2000 Eveline Goodman-Thau habilitated at the University of Kassel with the thesis Aufstand der Wasser. Jewish Hermeneutics between Tradition and Modernity[2] in Philosophy of Religion.


    [1] Eveline Goodman-Thau, Breaking Time. On the Basic Messianic Experience in the Jewish Tradition, Berlin 1995.[2] Eveline Goodman-Thau, Revolt of the Waters. Jewish Hermeneutics between Tradition and Modernity, Berlin 2002.

    Dr. Joachim Israel
    Professor emeritus of Sociology and Philosophy of Science
    Lund University

    Joachim Israel was born in Karlsruhe in 1920; he emigrated to Sweden in 1938; initially worked there as a farm laborer for five years until he was able to begin his studies in philosophy, psychology and sociology at Stockholm University. He received his doctorate in 1952 and habilitated in sociology in 1956. He taught at Stockholm University until 1963, after which he was professor of sociology at the University of Copenhagen. In 1971 he received an appointment at the University of Lund/Sweden, where he taught sociology and philosophy until his retirement in 1986. Visiting professorships took him to the USA, Norway, Israel, Australia and the Federal Republic of Germany.

    Joachim Israel is one of the most internationally renowned theorists of a philosophically based sociology; his books have been translated into many world languages. In German translation appeared as paperbacks in high editions: Der Begriff Entfremdung (1972), Die sozialen Beziehungen (1977), Der Begriff Dialektik (1979), Sprache und Erkenntnis (1990) - to name only the most important. His work addresses central problems at the intersection of philosophy, sociology, social psychology, and linguistics. The range of topics Joachim Israel deals with is extraordinary and impressive, ranging from treatises on the theory of science to concrete empirical analyses; theory and practice refer to each other.

    Joachim Israel had already held a visiting professorship at the University of Kassel in 1981; since then he has been involved in the supervision of two doctoral dissertations in Kassel and has repeatedly come to Kassel for workshops and conferences, including the International Franz-Rosenzweig Congress in 1986, so that he, who is very familiar with the University, has had a large audience from the very beginning.

    Joachim Israel, however, accepted the invitation of the department social sciences to the Franz-Rosenzweig guest professorship in 1989 primarily as a challenge to be able to deal again with the writings of his philosophical teacher Martin Buber, whereby it was also important to him to highlight Martin Buber as a co-founder of a cultural-scientific social theory at the beginning of our century and as a Zionist socialist - a side of Buber that is often underestimated in the German Buber reception. The results of this seminar "Martin Buber - German and Jewish Philosopher" are now available in Swedish and German Martin Buber. Dialogue Philosophy in Theory and Practice published.[1]

    In continuation of his basic theoretical studies Joachim Israel presented in a lecture "Problems of Philosophy of Language in an Epistemological Perspective", which were hotly discussed in the following colloquium - these remarks have also been published in the meantime as a book Language and Cognition .[2] In another seminar Joachim Israel devoted himself to "Psychology of Motivation and Fundamental Questions of Theory of Action."[3] The lecture was held in German.

    For us colleagues, however, the most impressive were the free colloquia, in which Joachim Israel, entirely in the spirit of dialogical learning, as Franz Rosenzweig had demanded for the Free Jewish Teaching House , Socratically linked us to mostly ethical-political everyday problems and involved us in a common philosophical discussion.

    Joachim Israel died after a short but severe cancer illness at the age of 81 on May 15, 2001 in Halmstad/Sweden.


    [1] Joachim Israel, Martin Buber. Dialogfilosof och sionist, Stockholm 1992 - revised German version: Martin Buber - Dialogphilosophie in Theorie und Praxis, Berlin 1995-

    [2] Joachim Israel, Sprache und Erkenntnis. Zur Tiefenstruktur der Alltagssprache, Frankfurt a. M. 1990.

    [3] Joachim Israel, Handlung und Interaktion. Eine Einführung aus sozialpsychologischer Perspektive, ed. by Heinrich Dauber and Wolfdietrich Schmied-Kowarzik (Kasseler Philosophische Schriften 36), Kassel 2003.

    Leonard H. Ehrlich PhD
    Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Judaic Studies
    University of Massachusetts at Amherst

    Leonard H. Ehrlich was born in Vienna in 1924, and after the annexation of Austria he emigrated to the United States in 1939. In the service of the U.S. Army, he re-entered German and Austrian soil toward the end of the war. After the war, he first studied psychology in the U.S., then switched to philosophy, listening to Karl Jaspers in Basel from 1948 to 1951, and finally graduated with a PhD from Yale University in 1956. Since 1956 Leonard H. Ehrlich has been teaching as Professor of Philosophy and Judaic Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

    Prof. Leonard H. Ehrlich is one of the most important representatives of existential philosophy in the Anglo-American-speaking world. He was co-founder and long-time chairman of the International Karl Jaspers Society. Together with his wife Dr. Edith Ehrlich, also from Vienna, he translated several works by Jaspers into English. With his philosophical works on Karl Jaspers, Martin Heidegger and Franz Rosenzweig, he has made an internationally respected name for himself. Another focus of his research is Judaic Studies, in which he is particularly interested in a cultural-historical exploration of European Jewry as well as in making visible the consequences of its destruction.

    The appointment of Leonard H. Ehrlich marked the official opening of the Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship. His welcome and inaugural lecture were attended not only by the President of the University, but also by many colleagues and students from all departments. Leonard H. Ehrlich was no stranger to Kassel, having helped open the International Franz Rosenzweig Congress a year and a half earlier with his lecture on "Rosenzweig's Concept of Zeitigung from the Sources of Judaism."

    With his three-hour main lecture "Problematic of Jewish Existence in the Face of Modernity and the Destruction of European Jewry," Leonard H. Ehrlich programmatically penetrated the problematic field that lies at the center of the thematic concern of the Franz Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship. He attempted to penetrate the subject philosophically, on the one hand, from the spirit of Franz Rosenzweig's thought and, on the other hand, in unsparing confrontation with the events and consequences of the annihilation of European Jewry. It was disappointing for all of us that only a small crowd of a little more than a dozen students attended this so forceful and fundamental lecture, but since this lecture is now available in revised form as a book under the title Fraglichkeit der jüdischen Existenz[1], the impressive remarks of Leonard H. Ehrlich's impressive remarks are no longer limited to the initial audience in Kassel, but can now have an impulsive effect on the philosophical-theological discussion about the historical incision of Auschwitz and the consequences to be drawn from it.

    In another three-hour seminar, "The Existential Philosophy of Karl Jaspers," Leonard H. Ehrlich had to make a similar experience as Peter Fuss had a year earlier with his Hegel seminar. Leonard H. Ehrlich hoped to find more basic knowledge about the existential philosophical approach of Karl Jaspers among the German students, but instead he found some extremely interested students, whom he had to introduce to the existential philosophy of Jaspers - as in his home university - first of all.

    His philosophical lectures triggered lasting and fruitful discussions among his colleagues in the Department of Education/Human Sciences as well as in the framework of the Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation and also received much attention in the press and on the radio. Leonard H. Ehrlich reported on his experiences as a Franz-Rosenzweig visiting professor in lectures and journal articles in the U.S.; the translation of one of these reports, "Als jüdischer Gastprofessor in Kassel," also appeared in our university journal Prisma.

    Prof. Leonard H. Ehrlich PHD passed away on 8. 6. 2011 in Hingham, MA, USA.


    [1] Leonard H. Ehrlich, Questionability of Jewish Existence. Philosophische Untersuchungen zum modernen Schicksal der Juden, Freiburg/München 1993.

    Peter Fuss PhD
    Professor of Philosophy
    University of Missouri - St. Louis

    Peter Fuss was born in Berlin in 1932; just in time his parents were able to emigrate with him to the USA in 1939. He first grew up in New York, graduated from Harvard University with a PhD, taught as Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of California in Riverside from 1961 to 1969, and has been Professor of Philosophy at the University of Missouri in St. Louis since 1969.

    With his guiding philosophical problem of thinking totality other than through theories of totality, Peter Fuss draws on the traditions of classical German philosophy and critical theory, but combines them with American traditions of political and speculative thought. In a longer-term research project, Peter Fuss is preparing a new, philosophically informed translation of G. W. F. Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit into English.

    In 1987, the Franz-Rosenzweig Visiting Professorship was still entirely experimental and preliminary. Since the decisions of the central committees of the university were still pending, the Department of Education/Human Sciences quickly decided to make a vacant professorship available for the first realization of the idea, and just as spontaneously Prof. Peter Fuss agreed to come to Kassel for a two-month compact guest semester immediately after his spring semester in St. Louis. There were already close contacts to Peter Fuss, the nephew of the social philosopher Ulrich Sonnemann, who teaches at our university; shortly before, PD Dr. Gottfried Heinemann had been in St. Louis for a guest semester.

    For Peter Fuss, too, the guest semester in Kassel was an experiment. He hoped to be able to clarify problems of interpretation of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, which he translated into English with a working group, in a seminar with German students. He was astonished to find that even the German freshmen did not understand the texts any better than their fellow students in the United States.

    But the most surprising experience for him was that only three listeners showed up for the seminar he offered, "On the Political Philosophy of Hannah Arendt," two university lecturers and one student. This was, of course, mainly due to the fact that few students take advantage of an additional teaching opportunity in the middle of the summer semester. But it also reveals something of the extent of the destruction of Jewish heritage in schools and colleges, for Hannah Arendt was still an unknown name to many of the students at the time. It was not until a year or two later, via feminist philosophy and then after the upheaval of political conditions in Central Europe, that interest in the philosopher and political thinker Hannah Arendt emerged and swept through German universities like a fashion wave.

    The third seminar, on "Philosophical Implications in H. Melville's Moby Dick," on the other hand, met with the greatest response from students.

    Despite these initial difficulties in attracting students for the additional guest events, all in all this preliminary phase was successful and very encouraging for us, because Peter Fuss had contributed productively and with commitment to the joint research project of the department "Education and the Future" with lectures and discussion contributions, as well as lecturing in the Philosophical Forum on "The Aporia of Plato's State", so that through this active presence of Prof. Peter Fuss, the application for the Franz-Rosenzweig Guest Professorship as a continuous institution found broad approval and support by the university committees.

    Source reference

    Text contributions and autobiographical sketches of the individual visiting professors are printed in: 

    • Wolfdietrich Schmied-Kowarzik (ed.) 
      Realizing the Destroyed Jewish Heritage 
      Franz-Rosenzweig Guest Lectures Kassel 1987-1998
      kasseluniversity press 1997,  ISBN 3-7281-2518-0

    • Wolfdietrich Schmied-Kowarzik (ed.) 
      Confronting the Destroyed Jewish Heritage
      Franz Rosenzweig Guest Lectures (1999-2005)
      kassel university press 2004, ISBN 3-89958-044-3