Exchange Scholars-in-Residence, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies and the Institut für Zeitgeschichte Dr. Björn Siegel
Dr. Björn Siegel is a researcher at the Institute for the History of the German Jews, Hamburg (Germany). He received his PhD and MA in History from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich in Germany. In addition to his native German, he has language skills in English, French, and Hebrew. From 2008 to 2009, he was a fellow at the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Since 2010, he has been a lecturer of history at the University of Hamburg, Germany, in addition to his research position at the Institute for the History of the German Jews, Hamburg, Germany. While in residence at the Center, Dr. Siegel conducted a research project titled “A Maritime Place of Resignation or Hope? Individual Experiences of Journeys to/from Palestine during the Holocaust.”
Dr. Siegel’s panel presentations and lectures in Austria, Czech Republic, England, Germany, Israel, Switzerland, and the United States include “The long way home: Arnold Bernstein’s changing German-Jewish self-conception” (World Congress of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, 2013); “Eine besinnliche Fahrt ins Land der Juden: Konflikte jüdischer Repräsentanten während der Jungfernfahrt der S.S. Tel Aviv nach Palästina (1935)” (Bar Ilan University, Israel, 2012); “A community within a community: Adolf Jellinek and Wissenschaft des Judentums in Habsburg Vienna” (European Association for Jewish Studies Conference, Oxford, 2012).
During his tenure, Dr. Siegel continued his research on the ship as a place in Jewish history, specifically European shipping companies and Zionist organizations in the context of the Jewish migration movement to Palestine (1920-1939). He used the Museum’s collection of oral histories; family papers, correspondences, and memoirs; photograph collections; and archival material from Zionist bodies in Eastern Europe and various state institutions. With these materials, he investigated the transnational and trans-local place of the “ship”, (internal) conflicts between expectations and reality on board the ships, and how various organizing bodies influenced the migration processes. He expects that the study of individual on-board experiences will add a new perspective to the on-going research project, “The ship as a place in Jewish history,” at the Institute for the History of the German Jews in Hamburg.
Dr. Siegel was in residence at the Mandel Center from September 1 to December 31, 2013.
The 2013 Institut für Zeitgeschichte – United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Exchange Scholar Award has been made possible by the Curt C. and Else Silberman Foundation.