1 December 2020: Marc Volovici – German as a Jewish Problem

A message of welcome from
Sir Ben Helfgott, 
Life Patron of the Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies, and former Chairman


“The Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies has again organised an inspiring range of events to remind us of the rich legacy of Jewish life in Poland, and in Eastern Europe more generally. Lectures, book launches, workshops and the annual conference to launch the new volume of Polin. Studies in Polish Jewry bring the state of the art in this field to a London audience. I very much look forward to join these events, many of which will also be accessible from further afield by computer.”



1 December 2020, 6:30pm on Zoom:
Marc Volovici: German as a Jewish Problem 
In his recent book publication German as a Jewish Problem, Marc Volovici (Birkbeck College) explores the multilingual nature of the Jewish national sphere in Central and Eastern Europe, and the centrality of the German language within it. He argues that it is impossible to understand the histories of modern Hebrew and Yiddish without situating them in relation to German – a hypothesis we look forward to probe.

Respondent: Prof. Michael L. Miller (CEU Budapest/Vienna)

Marc Volovici is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology and the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism at Birkbeck, University of London. He received his PhD in 2017 from Princeton University, and his research interests lie in Jewish nationalism, European intellectual history, Israel/Palestine, and antisemitism. Marc’s book, German as a Jewish Problem: The Language Politics of Jewish Nationalism, has been recently published with Stanford University Press. He served as an academic advisor and co-edited the exhibition catalogue for the exhibition ‘Jews, Money, Myth’, staged at the Jewish Museum London in 2019.

Michael L. Miller is a professor of history and nationalism studies at Central European University in Budapest and Vienna, and co-founder of its Jewish Studies program. He received his PhD in History from Columbia University, where he specialized in Jewish and Central European History. Michael’s research focuses on the impact of nationality conflicts on the religious, cultural, and political development of Central European Jewry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His articles have appeared in Slavic Review, Austrian History Yearbook, Simon Dubnow Institute YearbookMúlt és Jövő and The Jewish Quarterly Review. Miller’s book, Rabbis and Revolution: The Jews of Moravia in the Age of Emancipation, was published by Stanford University Press in 2011.  It appeared in Czech translation as Moravští Židé v době emancipace (Nakladatelství Lidové noviny, 2015).  He is one of the authors of Zwischen Prag und Nikolsburg: Leben in den böhmishcen Ländern (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019), which will appear in English as Prague and Beyond: Jews in the Bohemian Lands (University of Pennsylvania Press, 20201). He is currently working on a history of Hungarian Jewry, titled Manovill: A Tale of Two Hungarys.
Chair: François Guesnet (UCL)