The Historical Archive of the Hebrew University: German-Jewish Knowledge and Cultural Transfer, 1918-1948

Years of activity: 2016-2018



The project was launched toward the 100th anniversary of the laying of the HU’s cornerstone. Perhaps unlike any other research institute, the history of the Hebrew University embodies the complex interactions between science and politics in the conflictual twentieth century. During the three years of the project, the materials of the archive underwent systematic cataloging and preservation. In parallel, the project’s team, comprised of graduate students and post-docs, used the archive for their individual research projects

The Archive of the Hebrew University:  includes documentation related to university’s various decision-making bodies (Board of Governors, the Senate, the Standing Committee); files of individual departments and research institutes, documenting their establishment; the on-going activity of the university in the pre-State era, which was deeply embedded in the political situation of Palestine and the conflict; and personal files of the university’s faculty and administration, covering different aspects of their employment at the institution.

Research topics:  the project’s team focused on the various aspects of the transfer of knowledge from Germany to Palestine (more than half of the initial faculty originated from or trained in German-speaking countries); questions of place and space; or specific figures from the university’s first faculty. 

The archive’s catalog is now available here and is searchable in English. You can also visit the archive’s website

Check out the project’s bilingual blog [here on the left menu!] and FB page for a pick of the materials.


In Cooperation With

Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach

Archive of the Hebrew University

Supported by the Gerda Henkel Stiftung



PI: Prof. Yfaat Weiss

Project Coordinator: Adi Livny

Researchers: Dr. Shira WilkofDr. Enrico LuccaAnna KawałkoYael Levi, Bilha Shilo

Research Assistants: Omri Davidson, Tom Eshed, Shaul Marmari



The project’s concluding event took place in the STABI, Berlin (December 2018), read about it in Jüdische Allgemeine (German)

Exhibition: Ad Acta: The Hebrew University, Jewish Scholars, and the Exile from Europe (NLI, Fall-Winter 2018-9). On the Exhibition: FAZ (German), Haaretz (Hebrew, English), Maariv (Hebrew)

Conference: Universities and Nation Building, 13-14 November 2016. Read Yonatan Shilo Dayan’s report of the conference on H-Soz-Kult

Conference: Universities and Nation Building, 13-14 November 2016



Universities and Nation Building, a conference review by Yonatan Shilo Dayan, H-Soz-Kult, 10 March 2017.

Forschen um der Wahrheit willen. Die deutsche Tradition prägt die Hebräische Universität Jerusalem bis heute, a piece on the project written by Enrico Lucca, Jüdische Allgemeine 15/16, 14 April 2016 (in German).

Description of the project at the Gerda Henkel Foundation's website (in German).