Press releases – 2022

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Goethe University PR & Communication Department 

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Nov 10 2022

Evaluation report recognizes outstanding work in research and education 

German Science and Humanities Council certifies Fritz Bauer Institute's “impressive achievements” 

The team of the Fritz Bauer Institute at Goethe University Frankfurt can be pleased about a recent laudation by the German Science and Humanities Council (Wissenschaftsrat). Despite its “low staffing", the Council testifies to the Institute's "impressive achievements" – and suggests better financing. Another positive development, the Council says, is the closer cooperation with Goethe University, made possible by a cooperative professorship.

FRANKFURT. Combining high-quality research and a wide range of educational offerings is something the Fritz Bauer Institute does very well despite its limited staffing. That is the conclusion reached in an evaluation of the German Science and Humanities Council, which was commissioned by the Hessian Ministry of Science and the Arts. The Frankfurt-based institute's research on National Socialist crimes of violence, and especially on the Holocaust, as well as on the legal and societal handling of these crimes after 1945, is of high quality, the report said. "Research on the Holocaust and the conveyance of a critical awareness of history remain greatly important today, especially in Germany. The Fritz Bauer Institute makes a valuable contribution to this, one that in future should resonate even more on the international stage," Dorothea Wagner, Council chairwoman, was quoted as saying in a press release.

In the face of the pandemic, the Institute had offered its lecture events online – both as a livestream and also for later accessing. The public's response to the offer was great, and the Institute was able to expand its reach. That is why the German Science and Humanities Council recommends maintaining the online offer, while at the same time emphasizing that this would require better staffing. It is not just the Institute's education and outreach activities that are thinly staffed, the Council's evaluation found, but also the areas of IT, digitization and media support in particular. It is solely thanks to the exceptionally high commitment of the employees that the Institute is able to uphold its extensive and high-quality services. The German authority recommends a moderate increase in the number of base-funded positions and an annual increase in the budget to keep pace with rising costs.

"We are happy about this great appreciation of our work," comments Prof. Sybille Steinbacher, who has headed the institute since 2017 and holds the specially created professorship on "Researching the History and Impact of the Holocaust" at Goethe University's Department of History. "Although we are a small institute, we do a lot. The fact that our potential is recognized and appreciated is important for us and will hopefully be reflected in an increase in our funding." The evaluation formulated expectations with regard to digitization, internationalization and networking, which had in fact already been set in motion. "We are glad that the Council report confirmed that this cannot be achieved without an increase in personnel. We are fully aware that these are financially difficult times, but we urgently need more funds, especially for our digital offerings, for outreach work in and outside of schools, and for our exhibitions," Steinbacher said.

"We are pleased to have the independent Fritz Bauer Institute working closely with us, especially thanks to the establishment of a cooperative professorship at the History Department," said Goethe University President Prof. Enrico Schleiff. "The Fritz Bauer Institute conducts research at the highest level and will increasingly explore its research questions in an interdisciplinary manner – a development that is in line with the entire Goethe University. After all, solutions to the challenges facing society as a whole must be as diverse and multi-perspective as the challenge itself. Doing that puts a comprehensive university enriched by affiliated institutes in a position to research the knowledge for tomorrow," Schleiff continued.

The Fritz Bauer Institute was founded in 1995 as a foundation under civil law. It was named after Fritz Bauer (1903-1968), the Hessian attorney general who set the first Auschwitz trial in Frankfurt in motion. In 2000, the Fritz Bauer Institute became an independent cultural institute affiliated with Goethe University. In 2017, the institute's director was for the first time jointly appointed with Goethe University, and Prof. Sybille Steinbacher has held this position ever since. From the time of its founding, the Fritz Bauer Institute has closely linked research on the Holocaust and its impact and reception history with mediation and documentation. The Institute implements research projects, publications, scientific and public events as well as traveling exhibitions. It is also involved in teaching at Goethe University's History Department. The Institute is financed by the State of Hesse and the City of Frankfurt; a further, smaller share is provided by the friends' association Fritz Bauer Institute e.V. Goethe University also contributes to the financing by providing infrastructure. In addition, the Fritz Bauer Institute also draws on third-party funding from foundations and the public sector to finance its research projects, which currently include several on the history of Frankfurt under National Socialism. Apart from that, a fund endowed by and named after the Frankfurt physician Dorothee Freudenberg was established in 2020, enabling both research projects and scholarships, especially on the history of "euthanasia" in Nazi Germany and occupied Europe.

The German Science and Humanities Council's press release (in German) can be accessed here

Images for download:


Photo 1: "We are happy about this great appreciation of our work." Prof. Sybille Steinbacher has served as head of the Fritz Bauer Institute since 2017. (Photo: Niels P. Jørgensen)

Photo 2: Fritz Bauer at Club Voltaire, pictured between 1965 and 1968. (Photo: Siegfried Träger, Fritz Bauer Institute, Frankfurt am Main)

Photo 3: A look inside the archives of the Fritz Bauer Institute. (Photo: Werner Lott)

Photo 4: The Fritz Bauer Institute is located in the IG Farben House on Goethe University's Westend Campus. (Photo: Werner Lott)

Further information
Prof. Dr. Sybille Steinbacher
Phone: +49 (0)69 798-32240

Editor: Dr. Anke Sauter, Science Editor, PR & Communication Office, Tel: +49 (0) 69 798-13066, Fax: +49 (0) 69 798-763 12531,


Nov 8 2022

Two new Research Training Groups at Goethe University 

How practices of future-making influence the present

Goethe University has attracted two new German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) Research Training Groups. Based in Frankfurt, "Fixing Futures" deals with the anticipation of "futures" and how societies, organisations and individuals prepare for them. The second Research Training Group was jointly applied for with the Technical University Darmstadt (TU Darmstadt) and is dedicated to the question of how "standards of governance" change the possibility of collective self-determination.

FRANKFURT. The German Research Foundation yesterday announced eleven new Research Training Groups, two of which are located at Goethe University and focus on the social sciences. Offering new perspectives for young researchers who want to qualify in this field, the Research Training Group "Fixing Futures" ties in with the Master's program "Science and Technology Studies. Economies, Governance, Life" and the interdisciplinary research network "Lab for Studies in Science and Technology". Spokesperson is sociologist Prof. Thomas Lemke, with cultural anthropologist Prof. Dr. Gisela Welz acting as co-spokesperson.

Although people have always wondered what the future might hold, the question has never been as pressing as today. Contemporary societies find themselves confronted with new kinds of political, economic and ecological challenges – including, for example, in connection with global warming, pandemics and new refugee movements. In order to be prepared for the future, scenarios and problematic situations are anticipated, often focusing on technological solutions. The future is "fixed" – a term that holds a dual meaning: "On the one hand, it refers to the act of stabilising futures so that one can prepare for them. But on the other, it also connotes the act of repairing futures that are seen as deficient," explains Prof. Lemke, who will be working in the Research Training Group with eight other researchers. In addition to sociology and cultural anthropology, researchers from human geography are also involved in “Fixing Futures".

How do you prepare for events that you expect to happen in the future? What precautions are taken? How are these decisions justified? What if the future turns out different and you are not prepared? Misjudgments of this kind can have serious repercussions. The Research Training Group will examine three areas: economies, governance and life. What is striking to spokesman Lemke is that technological solutions are offered in all areas – with the decisions often left to the individual. He points to the example of so-called social freezing, i.e. the conscious choice to postpone the desire to have children into the future in the interest of one's career. "Why aren't these issues discussed socially," he asks. Whether we are talking about a gene bank for extinct animal species or a switch to e-mobility, Lemke continues, people often rely on the credo that "technologies will save us" – when they could just as well be thinking about how to address the structural conditions of the problems. The question of power also plays a major role, Lemke points out, adding that nowhere is this more obvious than in the case of climate change: Those who suffer most from the consequences are neither responsible for the causes nor do they have any significant say in finding possible solutions.

A total of 14 positions must now be filled until the Research Training Group starts its work –  ten for doctoral students and two for postdocs. According to Lemke, the Research Training Group will optimally prepare them for a wide range of professional fields and institutions in the academic sector and beyond.

The second new Research Training Group is entitled "Standards of Governance" and was jointly applied for by Goethe University and TU Darmstadt. Its spokesperson is Jens Steffek, Professor of Transnational Governance at TU Darmstadt. Democracy researcher Prof. Sandra Seubert will assume the role of deputy spokesperson. The cross-locational Research Training Group deals with the concept of "good governance", which comprises general norms such as transparency, participation and accountability of those in power. Initially, the Research Training Group will consist of two groups of ten doctoral students each. Seubert emphasizes that this is not just about recruiting young scientists: "In view of the tasks and problems facing democratic societies today, it is very important to train young people well for different areas of politics, and to connect the knowledge generated scientifically with society."

Funding for the two Research Training Groups "Fixing Futures" and "Standards of Governance" will begin on April 1, 2023, and initially run for five years. There is an option to continue the funding for another four years.

Images for download:


These professors are involved in the new Research Training Aroup "Fixing Futures": Thomas Lemke (photo: Mafra Merielli), Martina Klausner (photo: private), Peter Lindner (photo: A. Nikulin), Thomas Scheffer (photo: Uwe Dettmar), Marc Boeckler (photo: private), Lizzie Richardson (photo: private), Barbara Brandl (photo: Jan-Frederik Bandel), Josef Barla (photo: Merielli Mafra), Gisela Welz (photo: private).

Additional information
"Fixing Futures":
Prof. Dr. Thomas Lemke
Sociology with a focus on biotechnologies, nature and society
Institute of Sociology
Goethe University
Phone: +49 (0)69 798-36664

"Standards of Governance":
Prof. Dr. Sandra Seubert
Political Science with a focus on Political Theory
Institute for Political Science
Goethe University
Phone: +49 (0)69 798-36553

Editor: Dr. Anke Sauter, Science Editor, PR & Communication Office, Tel: +49 (0) 69 798-13066, Fax: +49 (0) 69 798-763 12531,


Nov 8 2022

Forum deepens the transatlantic conversation in times of threats to democratic governance and lifestyles

Formal inauguration of the John McCloy Transatlantic Forum at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften

BAD HOMBURG/FRANKFURT. On Friday, November 4, 2022, the John McCloy Transatlantic Forum was officially inaugurated before a full auditorium in the lecture hall of the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften. The forum is named after John J. McCloy, who served as U.S. High Commissioner in Frankfurt from 1949 to 1952.

Present at the ceremony were Goethe University President Professor Enrico Schleiff, the Mayor of Bad Homburg Alexander W. Hetjes, and the forum's initiators: Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften Director Professor Matthias Lutz-Bachmann, the spokespersons of the "Democratic Vistas" research area Professor Gunther Hellmann and Professor Johannes Völz, as well as the Bad Homburg-based forum sponsors Bernd von Maltzan and Felix Hufeld. Guest of honor was John J. McCloy II, son of U.S. High Commissioner John J. McCloy. The keynote was given by Professor Charles A. Kupchan of Georgetown University, an expert on U.S.-European relations, who served as special advisor to President Barack Obama and as a member of the U.S. Security Council. In his introductory remarks, Kupchan spoke about the West's enduring strengths as well as its vulnerability in the world of tomorrow.

The forum's goals

The new forum at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften brings together personalities from academia, politics, culture and business to discuss the significance of transatlantic relations in the crisis-ridden present. In fostering this dialog, it aims to help strengthen the form of democracy that has emerged in the transatlantic setting and develop it further in the context of a changing world order.

The forum's name commemorates the Americans' commitment to the development of German democracy in the postwar period. However, Johannes Völz, co-spokesman of the related research focus "Democratic Vistas," emphasized that "our aim is not to unreflectively revive the old transatlantic community of values."  That, Völz said, would be too short-sighted. While the Forum remains committed to the transatlantic idea, he said that nowadays it is important to examine Western democracies in their interconnectedness with a North-South and an East-West axis.

Civic commitment

The new forum was initiated by Forschungskolleg director Matthias Lutz-Bachmann and the two research project spokespersons. Bernd von Maltzan accompanied and promoted the forum from the very beginning. In his words: "As [German] Foreign Minister Baerbock recently put it, it is extremely important now to use the 'transatlantic moment' to counter the current challenges threatening democracy. As someone who grew up in the postwar era and is deeply grateful to the Americans for their contribution to building German civil society, I would like to contribute to that cause by supporting the exchange of ideas among scholars and policymakers at the John McCloy Transatlantic Forum."

Future forum and research focus activities have already received commitments for funding, meaning democracy researchers will be able to come to the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften for guest visits as early as fall 2023 to contribute to the forum and its research focus.

Forum namesake John J. McCloy lived in Bad Homburg.

John J. McCloy served as American High Commissioner in Frankfurt from 1949 to 1952 and lived with his family in "Haus Hohenbuchen" on the edge of Bad Homburg's “Kurpark", the spa gardens. His son, John J. McCloy II, now almost 85 years old, has vivid and fond memories of the years he spent there as a youth. In his speech at the forum's opening, he emphasized that naming it after his father was a great honor and privilege for him. After all, he added, the forum builds on his parents' firm conviction that culture, science, education and social commitment are crucial building blocks for the development of democratic societies. His mother, for example, was known throughout Bad Homburg and beyond for her social commitment as well as for the events she organized. Bad Homburg Mayor Alexander Hetjes presented the guest of honor with a large volume of photographs on the history of Bad Homburg, saying, "The name of John J. McCloy and his wife Ellen enjoys a very good reputation in Bad Homburg to this day."

Images for download:


1.       Inauguration of the John McCloy Transatlantic Forum: Rush McCloy, Alexander Hetjes, Laura McCloy, Enrico Schleiff, John McCloy III, Bernd von Maltzan, John McCloy II, Gunther Hellmann, Charles Kupchan, Johannes Völz, Felix Hufeld, Iris Koban, Matthias Lutz-Bachmann.

2.   First John McCloy Transatlantic Forum: Professor Matthias Lutz-Bachmann, Professor Johannes Völz, Professor Charles Kupchan, Professor Gunther Hellmann

Photos: Stefanie Wetzel

Further information
Website of the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:

Event recording: The event, including the speech given by Charles Kupchan, was recorded, and the video will be made available on the Forschungskolleg's YouTube channel in the coming days.

Contact: Iris Helene Koban

Managing Director Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften; Tel.: +49 (0)6172 13977-10

Beate Sutterlüty

Science Communication; Tel.: +49 (0)6172 13977-15

Editor: Dr. Dirk Frank, deputy head of PR & Communication Office, Tel: +49 (0) 69 798-13753,


Nov 4 2022

Frobenius Research Promotion Prize goes to Dr. des Valerie Nur

Mobile Tuareg artisans in Niger

The Frobenius Research Promotion Prize goes to Bayreuth this year: Frobenius Institute for Research in Cultural Anthropology at Goethe University honors Valerie Nur for her outstanding dissertation on Tuareg artisans in Niger.

FRANKFURT. Each year, the Frobenius Institute honors excellent ethnological dissertations in German-speaking countries with the Frobenius Research Promotion Prize, endowed with 3000 euros. This year the prize went to Valerie Nur for her doctoral thesis "Handwerkliche Arbeit als soziale Praxis. Eine ethnologische Studie über die handwerklichen Praktiken der endogamen Handwerkergruppe der inadan Tuareg des Aïr in Niger" (Craft as social practice. An anthropological study of the craft practices of the endogamous artisan group of the inadan Tuareg of the Aïr in Niger). The thesis was supervised by Professor Gerd Spittler and submitted to the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies in Cultural Anthropology. It is based on a field study in the course of which Valerie Nur spent a total of twenty months with the Inadan (Tuareg), who have received little attention in research to date, at various locations in the Aïr mountains as well as in the capital Niamey (Niger). 

Together with the Inadan, Valerie Nur reflected on craft work and was able to gain intensive experience with craft practice during her field study. In her work, she describes the everyday handicrafts of the men and women, such as leather work, the procurement process itself, the making and reshaping of tools, and the recurring changes that occur in craft practice. Moreover, Valerie Nur explains how intricately this work is integrated into the daily family life of the mobile Inadan, who grow up with the craft and are connected by kinship over hundreds of kilometers. Since the finished products have a spiritual value beyond their market value, the craft is of special importance for the social relations of the Inadan beyond these family ties. 

Valeria Nur's study also contributes to migration research; after all, mobile craftsmen are also migrant workers, capable of working anywhere and of expanding their skills. Valerie Nur's dissertation convinced the committee with its underlying intensive and self-reflective ethnographic research as well as with the excellent linguistic presentation of the results.

Images for download: 


Image 1: A blacksmith in his workshop in Timia surrounded by neighbors and children. (Timia, 2013) (Photo: Valerie Nur)

Image 2: A craftsman soaks wood for a camel saddle. (Niamey, 2014) (Photo: Valerie Nur)

Image 3: Two craftsmen with shouldered axes on their way to a customer. (Mont Bagzan 2015) (Photo: Valerie Nur)

Further information 

Frobenius Institute for Research in Cultural Anthropology at Goethe University
Dr. Katja Geisenhainer
Tel: +49 (0)69 798-33058;

Editor: Dr. Anke Sauter, Science Editor, PR & Communication Office, Tel: +49 (0) 69 798-13066, Fax: +49 (0) 69 798-763 12531, 


Nov 3 2022

International conference at Goethe University looks at the history of the Jewish Frankfurt during the Nazi era and after 1945

Destruction and New Beginnings 

FRANKFURT. An international conference organized by Goethe University's Buber-Rosenzweig Institute for Jewish Intellectual and Cultural History of Modernity and the Present as well as several partners, will take place from

Sunday, November 6, through Tuesday, November 8, 2022
in the Casino Building on Goethe University's Westend Campus

The topic of discussion will be “Jewish Frankfurt. Destruction and Fragile New Beginnings, 1933 to 1990".

Frankfurt am Main was one of the most important centers of Jewish life and culture in Europe up until 1933. During the National Socialist regime, Frankfurt's Jews were also systematically disenfranchised, persecuted and murdered, and the city's Jewish communities dissolved. The conference is dedicated to the history of the Jewish Frankfurt in the Nazi state and traces both the threats to it as well as its destruction. Under the protection of the U.S. military administration, a new Jewish community was established in the postwar period, several Jewish organizations settled in the city, and Jewish life developed anew. The conference will also shed light on this history until the 1980s, when it was precisely from Frankfurt that impulses emanated for a new visibility of the Jewish community in the Federal Republic.

The conference focuses on different facets of these two highly different, yet closely linked phases of Frankfurt's Jewish history. How did Frankfurt's Jews experience the exclusion from the city's society and their persecution, what was irretrievably lost in the process, and how was the intellectual and cultural legacy of the Jewish Frankfurt able to continue thriving in exile? Under what conditions did the Jewish community reestablish itself, and by what means did Jews return to the center of Frankfurt's urban society in the postwar decades?

The conference will bring together internationally renowned scholars and present the latest findings on Frankfurt's Jewish history during the Nazi era and after World War II. The event will kick off on Sunday, November 6, at 19:00 with a keynote lecture by Steven E. Aschheim, professor emeritus at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, on the topic "Before the Catastrophe: Frankfurt's Diverse Jewish Intellectuals and the Entangled Vortex of Change." On Monday, November 7, at 19:00, Professor Michael Brenner of Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich will give a second keynote lecture on "Jewish Postwar Geography: Frankfurt between Föhrenwald, Düsseldorf and Berlin."

The conference is part of the project "Synagogue Memorial Book of Hesse", organized by the Martin Buber Professorship for Jewish Philosophy of Religion at Goethe University Frankfurt, the Education Department of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, and the Institute for Christian-Jewish Studies at the Augustana University Neuendettelsau. The project's aim is to comprehensively research and document the history of the Hessian Jewish communities and their synagogues. The “Synagogue Memorial Book of Hesse" is organized in cooperation with the Fritz Bauer Institute for the History and Impact of the Holocaust, the Jewish Community Frankfurt and the Jewish Museum Frankfurt.

The conference program is available here (in German):

Further information:
Dr. Stefan Vogt
Martin Buber Professorship for Jewish Philosophy of Religion Faculty of Protestant Theology
Westend Campus Phone: +49 (0)179 5281106

Editor: Dr. Anke Sauter, Science Editor, PR & Communication Office, Tel: +49 (0) 69 798-13066, Fax: +49 (0) 69 798-763 12531,