International Conference Hamburg, 27–29 March 2023

Experiences of violence have a great impact on Jewish life and Jewish thinking from biblical times onwards. An interdisciplinary conference will discuss these various collective experiences of violence in Jewish history with a special focus on temporality.

Anti-Jewish violence was and is still interpreted through temporal prisms. Traditionally, experiences of violence were viewed by Jews as continuing or reflecting the biblical narrative of gentile hostility towards Jews. This line of interpretation often contains an eschatological concept of apocalypse and salvation. In contrast to this cyclic notion of events, Zionism and Socialism offered their own notions of time. They viewed episodes of violence against Jews as part of a linear process that should end by establishing their envisioned utopias: A Jewish homeland or a new socialist order. Under this temporal prism, both the anticipation and commemoration of such events are meant to justify the ideological cause. A third prism, which seems to keep increasing over time and even receive a sacralized status, is that of the Holocaust as a cataclysm dominating the discussion on prior and future events of violence against Jews.

The conference is convened by Ilay Halpern, Monica Rüthers and Kim Wünschmann and will take place at the University of Hamburg from 27 to 29 March 2023. It is organized as part of the Project “Before the Pogrom. Anticipated Violence in Modern Jewish History” within the Research Unit “GewaltZeiten/Times of Violence. Temporality in Violent Undertakings”, funded by the Research Program of the City of Hamburg (LFF), in which scholars from the University of Hamburg, the Institute for the History of the German Jews, and the Helmut Schmidt University of the Bundeswehr cooperate.


There will be a limited number of seats available for additional participants and registration is required. If you are interested in attending the conference, please contact Beate Kuhnle at