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< All Fellows and Scholars

Professor Michael Brenner

Dr. Michael Brenner
2007-2008 Ina Levine Invitational Scholar

"German-Jewish History in Modern Times"

Professional Background

Professor Michael Brenner was Chair of Jewish History and Culture at the University of Munich in Germany during his fellowship at the Museum. After studies in Heidelberg and Jerusalem he received a Ph.D. in Jewish history from Columbia University. He has taught previously at Indiana University and Brandeis University, and served as visiting professor at Mainz University, the Central European University of Budapest, Stanford University, the University of Haifa, and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Paris. For his Ina Levine Invitational Scholar Fellowship, Professor Brenner conducted research on, “German-Jewish History in Modern Times.”

At the time of his tenure, Professor Brenner was the chair of the German research section of the Leo Baeck Institute and a board member of numerous advisory committees, including the International Association of Historical Societies for the Study of Jewish History, the Institut für Zeitgeschichte, and the Stiftung Bayerischer Gedenkstätten. He was also area editor on Germany and Austria for the second edition of the Encyclopedia Judaica, and on medieval and modern Judaism for the encyclopedia Religion Past and Present. In addition, he was editor of the journal Münchner Beiträge zur Jüdischen Geschichte und Kultur and co-editor of two book series on Jewish history and culture, one with Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, the other one with Oldenbourg publishing house.

His book, Propheten des Vergangenen: Jüdische Geschichtsschreibung im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert [Prophets of the Past: Jewish Historiography in the 19th and 20th Century] (2006) deals with modern Jewish historiography. His earlier books, some of which have been translated into German, Hebrew, Italian, and Korean, include: Zionism: A Brief History (2002); The Renaissance of Jewish Culture in Weimar Germany (1996), and After the Holocaust (1995). He is editor and co-editor of numerous books, among them Emancipation through Muscles: Jews and Sports in Europe (2006), and Jewish Emancipation Reconsidered: The French and German Models (2003), and Two Nations: British and German Jews in Comparative Perspective (1999). He was co-editor and co-author of the four-volume “German-Jewish History in Modern Times” (1996-98), which covered the period from the early modern period until the Holocaust.

Fellowship Research

During his tenure at the Center, Professor Brenner undertook research in preparation of the fifth volume of what has become the standard survey of modern German-Jewish history. This volume explores the impact of the Holocaust on postwar German life, well beyond liberation. It covers the reconstruction of Jewish communities in both West and East Germany, their consolidation in the period of the Cold War, and their unexpected increase due to immigration from the post-Soviet world. During his tenure Professor Brenner delivered the 2008 Ina Levine Annual Lecture, “In the Shadow of the Holocaust: German Jewry after 1945.” An audio recording of the lecture is available.

Professor Brenner was in residence at the Mandel Center from September 1, 2007 to May 30, 2008.