DFG-Research Project:
„National Jewish Youth Culture and Zionistic Education in Germany and Palestine between the World Wars“

On July 1, 2018, the DFG project "National Jewish Youth Culture and Zionist Education in Germany and Palestine between the World Wars" took up its work. The project is located at the Department of Education / Department of General Education of the TU Braunschweig (Faculty 6) and is initially funded for three years.

The research is carried out by Prof. Dr. Ulrike Pilarczyk in cooperation with the Koebner-Minerva Center for German History at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (Prof. Dr. Ofer Ashkenazi). The German-Israeli team also includes the scientists Knut Bergbauer, Marco Kißling, Beate Lehmann and Miriam Szamet. Advice on data management and the securing of collected sources is provided by the archive of the Library of Educational Historical Research (BBF) of the German Institute for International Educational Research.

National Jewish Youth Culture is a concept embraced by diverse social and cultural movements, in which, primarily, educated middle-class Jewish youth have endeavoured to define their individual and collective self-image as a national and educational project. The proposed research aims to reconstruct and analyze the relationship between social, political and cultural factors and internal transformations of national Jewish educational concepts and projects into a consistent Zionist education in Germany and Palestine in the interwar years. Based on our preliminary research, the key premise of this research project is the existence, continuity and shifts of relevant pedagogical networks, concocted by several generations of women and men who were inspired by the implications of a national Jewish youth culture. In cooperating transnationally, these networks controversially shaped and promoted the pedagogical developments of the Interwar. The guiding criteria of the proposed research are, therefore, intergenerationality, transnationality and the constantly varying definitions and practices of gender roles.

The indexing of the networks as well as the analysis and interpretation of disputed pedagogical issues and objectives will focus on three significant educational developments of this period. Split into three sub-projects, the project will draw extensively on archival sources in Israeli and German archives and be closely coordinated as a joint, German-Israeli endeavor.

  1. The first sub-project examines social and progressive educational concepts cultivated within the national Jewish youth milieu in Germany during and after the First World War and developing into Zionism. Siegfried Lehmann and his pedagogical work in Germany, Lithuania and Palestine, 1916-1933, will be used as a case study.

  2. The second sub-project examines the developments of more notable, progressive educational concepts of that time influenced by the younger generation of national Jewish-oriented Jewish youths into the Zionist concept of work and coeducation in the 1920s and influenced by the Jewish-Palestinian workers movement until 1933. The evolution of the National Jewish Youth Group Jung-Jüdischer Wanderbund into the Zionist Brit Haolim and the foundation of the Kibbutz, Givat Brenner in Palestine (1928) will be used as an example.

  3. The third sub-project explores the educational practice of the Zionist Youth Aliyah after 1933 in Palestine, which was essentially based on the above-mentioned Zionist education concept and then caught between the conflicting educational concepts of the Kibbutz movement (Hakibbutz HaMeuchad) and the subsisting progressive pedagogical traditions of the youth movement in Germany. The manifest educational practices of selected German Youth Aliyah groups in the Kibbutzim, Givat Brenner, in Ein Charod and in Siegfried Lehmann's youth village, Ben Schemen, will be examined comparatively.

  last changed 02.05.2019
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