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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Leo Baeck Summer University in Jewish Studies

Leo Baeck Summer University in Jewish Studies


Welcome To LBSU!


Leo Baeck Summer University is a six-week summer school in Jewish studies, conducted in the English language at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, under the umbrella of the Zentrum Jüdische Studien Berlin-Brandenburg. Advanced undergraduate or beginning graduate students from the United States, Canada, Europe, Israel, Turkey, South America, and more, are encouraged to apply for this unique program.

As an international meeting point for education and exchange,  LBSU examines Jewish life in Germany before and after the Holocaust, with a particular focus on the postwar, post-Holocaust and contemporary experience in relation both to Germany's broader and ever more diverse society and to Jewish communities in Israel, the United States and worldwide.

LBSU not only provides students with a broader knowledge of the rich history of Jewish life in Germany, but also demonstrates the international implications of the complex connections between cultures. It also draws attention to the new domestic and global status of Germany’s Jewish community, which has grown dramatically since 1989-1990 because of massive immigration from the former Soviet Union.

A central focus of LBSU is the issue of Jewish identity. In its many manifestations in the Diaspora and Israel, Jewish identity and the struggle to define it become paradigmatic, particularly in the context of migration and globalization. Consequently, LBSU challenges students to think critically about some of the most pressing and controversial issues we are facing today.

The first module, Modern German-Jewish History, covers the history of German Jewry from the 18th to the early 20th century and from the Nazi to the post-war period. We are adding a special emphasis in 2016, looking at how Germany's Jewish community has been affected by both the post-Soviet Jewish immigration over the last 25 years, and today's massive influx of Muslim refugees.

Our second module also has new focus in 2016: The South American Dream: European Jews in Latin America. This module intends to integrate Latin America into the greater picture of modern Jewish history.


Students in the advanced program are enrolled in a daily, three-hour morning academic seminar for the first five weeks, and carry out intensive project work during the final week. Throughout the six-week program, they attend professionally led excursions, workshops and lectures in the afternoon. Required assignments include readings, writing, short paper or exam; each module is graded, as is the final project. The modules are taught in seminar style and foster discussion and interaction.

Upon successful completion of the program students are granted 12 ECT credits.


Find out how to apply here. Download the LBSU 2016 flyer here.


The 2016 LBSU summer program runs from June 30 to 12 August.


Applications for LBSU 2016 are closed.


The cost of the program is estimated at 2000 euros, which includes housing, tuition, health insurance, excursions and Berlin city transportation. This fee does not include food, other travel and Internet use.

Thanks to grants by the DAAD and the Heinrich Böll Foundation, LBSU will be able to support students with financial aid. Applicants should submit a letter from their academic institution affirming their ongoing need for assistance.


The LBSU was launched in 2007 with funding from the Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany via the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi).

Among its present and past supporters are the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service).

We invite you to learn more about LBSU. Please contact us for more information.


Toby Axelrod, Academic Director

Johanna Wolter, Executive Director




Financed by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) with funds from the
German Ministry of Foreign Affairs




Supported by the Heinrich Böll Foundation