Andrea Kirchner is a Ph.D. candidate at the Martin-Buber-Chair for Jewish Philosophy at the Goethe-University of Frankfurt, Germany, since 2013. Her dissertation, supervised by Prof. Christian Wiese, deals with the life and work of the German Zionist Richard Lichtheim (1885-1963).
She holds a Fellowship of the Minerva Foundation and is currently a Research Fellow at the Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Before she volunteered at Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies in Jerusalem in 2012, she studied Medieval and Modern History, Psychology and Sociology at the University of Leipzig, Germany (2005-2011).
The aim of my research project, titled "Richard Lichtheim − From Constantinople to Geneva. A Political Biography" is to emphasize two key aspects in Lichtheim’s biography. On the one hand I want to shed light on Lichtheim’s concrete contribution to Zionist policy in the first half of the 20th century. On the other hand the impact of his political experiences on his personal ideological development from General Zionism to Jabotinsky’s Revisionism and eventually to the moderate ideas of Aliya Hadasha will be explored. The project therefore focusses on the two stages in Lichtheim’s political career, which were vital for these profound changes in his political outlook: Constantinople (1913-1917) and Geneva (1939-1946), where he served as a Zionist emissary and was confronted with fundamental threats against both the Jewish people and the Zionist project. This dissertation attempts to put Lichtheim’s diversified biography into its historical context and show how his experiences during the two world wars shaped his commitment to Zionism and perception of it. By doing this, my study contributes to the historiography of German Zionism and its attempt to understand the ideological and political structure of Zionism in all its complexity.