The online portal "Copernico. History and Cultural Heritage in Eastern Europe" is calling for submissions for the new topic in focus "Jewish Life in Eastern Europe – Past and Present".
Jewish Life in Eastern Europe in the Past and Present
On November 22, 1924, Joseph Roth published a feature on Lemberg (L'viv, Lwów, L'vov) in the Frankfurter Zeitung. In it, he describes multilingual Lemberg, often called the "city of blurred borders," where Jews were as much at home as Poles and Ukrainians. While this image is not free of nostalgic transfiguration, given the bloody battles between the Polish and Ukrainian populations and the November pogrom after the end of World War I, the reportage rightly emphasizes the strong presence of Jewish life in eastern Europe before the Holocaust: "Near the theater that demarcates the street at the lower end, people speak Yiddish. They always spoke that way in this area. They will probably never speak any other way."
As in Lviv, Jews were one of the largest populations in many places in Eastern Europe from the Middle Ages onward, shaping culture and education, politics and the economy. Their presence was also reflected in the cityscape, particularly in the form of the shtetl, but also in the existence of individual buildings, building complexes or streets with specifically 'Jewish' connotations.
The violent conflicts of the 20th century, the Holocaust against the European Jews, ethnic cleansing and forced population displacements almost erased the coexistence of different languages and religions that was once so characteristic of the whole of Eastern Europe. After 1945, there were tentative attempts by some Jewish survivors to re-establish Jewish life in their former places of residence. This was quite often ignored, openly rejected or dismissed by non-Jewish society as a mere transitional stage before emigration.
The Call for Papers asks for contributions dealing with the history of Jewish cultural heritage in Eastern Europe. Well-known phenomena in the history of religion and culture, such as the Jewish Enlightenment or Zionism, can be put into perspective, as well as lesser-known facets of everyday life or economic history. The following aspects would also be conceivable foci:
  • Shtetls and metropolises: Jewish spaces
  • Landscapes of memory and “lost places”
  • “Divided” history: coexistence and encounters between Jews and non-Jews
  • Jewish personalities and institutions
  • Spiritual-religious life
  • Everyday culture and family
  • Exclusion and persecution
  • Object histories: Judaica in space and time
  • Difficult new beginnings: New Jewish life after 1945
Guidelines and formats
Proposals may cover a wide variety of formats and content, ranging from low-threshold introductory formats to in-depth background articles on specific issues. The maximum text length is 12,000 characters including spaces. Other text forms, for example for the introduction of historical personalities, for object stories or for selected historical sources can also be significantly shorter (4,000-6,000 characters).
Contributions longer than 10,000 characters are published in parallel on the Herder Institute's publication server and assigned a DOI. In addition, all contributions in the portal have a citation recommendation, permalinks and license reference. All contributions are published bilingually and translated into English (if required, contributions can also be submitted in English and translated into German). For each entry, at least one attractive, high-resolution illustration with caption and rights clearance is required. The submitted contributions will be proofread within the framework of an internal review process. All authors retain the rights to use their own texts. Further instructions for contributors, illustrations and keywords are available on the portal itself and on request at
The rules of good scientific practice apply.
Deadline and dates
Please send an abstract of max. 300 words with a short description of your planned contribution to by 31 May, 2022. You will receive feedback by 30 June 2022, indicating whether your contribution has been accepted for the thematic focus. The deadline for the submission of finished contributions is 1 October, 2022.