The Leo Baeck Institute — New York | Berlin (LBI) is devoted to the history of German-speaking Jews. Its 80,000-volume library and extensive archival and art collections represent the most significant repository of primary source material and scholarship on the Jewish communities of Central Europe over the past five centuries.
German-speaking Jews had a history marked by individual as well as collective accomplishments and played a significant role in shaping art, science, business, and political developments in the modern era, as evidenced by the continuing relevance of figures such as Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, and Franz Kafka.
LBI is committed to preserving this legacy and has digitized over 3.5 million pages of documents from its collections—from rare renaissance books to the personal correspondence of luminaries and ordinary people alike, to community histories and official documents. LBI also promotes the study and understanding of German-Jewish history through its public programs, exhibitions, and support for research and scholars.
LBI was founded in 1955 by leading German-Jewish émigré intellectuals including Martin Buber, Max Grunewald, Hannah Arendt and Robert Weltsch, who were determined to preserve the vibrant cultural heritage of German-speaking Jewry that was nearly destroyed in the Holocaust. They named the Institute for Rabbi Leo Baeck, the last leader of Germany’s Jewish Community under the Nazi regime, and appointed him as the Institute’s first President, and established centers in New York, London, and Jerusalem. LBI-New York is a founding member of the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan and maintains an office in Berlin and a branch of its archives at the Jewish Museum Berlin.
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