Ofer Ashkenazi – Heimat as a Shelter from Nazism

Event Date: 22 April 2021
ZOOM meeting, recorded

European Leo Baeck Institute Lecture Series 2021

Conceptions of Heimat in Jewish Visual History and Culture

A lecture series organised by the Leo Baeck Institute London in cooperation with the German Historical Institute London.

The lecture series examines the German-Jewish and European-Jewish notion of Heimat and its diverse and changing visual representations and interpretations during the course of history. It looks at the subject through a prism of visual media, such as the arts, photography, film and fashion, as well as literature and social media, etc.


Lecture 3:

Dr Ofer Ashkenazi (Hebrew University, Jerusalem) – Heimat as a Shelter from Nazism

This talk analyses the presence of generic Heimat imagery in German-Jewish family albums from the 1930s and highlights two major tendencies: the appropriation of Heimat iconography in photographs of the Jewish home, and the endeavor to situate Jewish family members within generic Heimat scenes. In both cases, Heimat iconography alluded to an alternative notion of German identity – and of belonging in the German landscape – which allowed and encouraged the integration of Jews within it. Consequently, in Jewish family albums, Heimat imagery provided an imagined landscape that sheltered Jews from the menace of Nazism.

Ofer Ashkenazi is an Associate Professor of History and the Director of the Koebner-Minerva Center for German History at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He is the author of three monographs on German film (most recently, Anti-Heimat Cinema: The Jewish Invention of the German Landscape, 2020). His current research project considers Jewish photography under Nazism.

Introduction by Dr Daniel Wildmann (Director, LBI) with a word of welcome from Professor Christina von Hodenberg (Director,GHIL):






Accompanying images:

Simon Family Collection, courtesy of the Jewish Museum, Berlin


Rosenthal Family Collection, courtesy of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

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