Jerusalem, from the balcony of Hebrew University Mount Scopus campus.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJI) has been awarded a grant by the Alfred Landecker Foundation, totaling $13 million, in order to fund academic initiatives centering on the causes and subsequent consequences of the Holocaust, in addition to promoting studies on human rights, minority protection, the rule of law and reparations for historical wrongs and injustices.
The grant, the largest ever between German and Israeli parties, entails the establishment of three new academic initiatives, and supplemental funding that will go towards the university’s Minerva Center for Human Rights.
The first initiative is the Jacob Robinson Institute for the History of Legal Thought and Practice, bearing the namesake of Dr. Robinson, a historian who focused on war-torn Eastern European Jewry during the years of the Nazi Regime. Robinson also served as a consultant during the Nuremberg trials – including the court proceedings of Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Holocaust.
The second initiative will be the establishment of the Landecker-Benjamin B. Ferencz Chair in the Study of Protection of Minorities and Vulnerable Groups. Ferencz was an American lawyer who tasked himself with investigating Nazi war crimes during World War II, and played a part in the inception of the International Criminal Court.
The third initiative will be the creation of the Alfred Landecker Digital Humanities Lab at Hebrew University, which will research survivor testimonies of mass crimes. According to the foundation named in his memory, Landecker was a German-Jewish accountant who was deported from Mannheim in April 1942 to Izbica, a ghetto serving as a transfer point for the deportation of Jews to the Bełżec and Sobibór extermination camps. It is assumed that he was murdered shortly afterwards.
“I’m proud that at the very beginning of my assignment as the CEO of the Alfred Landecker Foundation, our first major donation goes to one of the world’s outstanding and Israel’s leading academic institution, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem,” foundation CEO Dr. Andreas Eberhardt said.
Alfred Landecker Foundation CEO Dr. Andreas Eberhardt
“The foundation gladly supports the research and scholarly dissemination of legal and historical questions related to both the establishment and strengthening of human rights: individual as well as collective rights,” he said. “These subject matters were at the core interest and activity of leading Jewish legal scholars throughout the conflict-ridden 20th century. That legacy has to be continued, strengthened and applied during exceptionally precarious times.”
President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Prof. Asher Cohen said that the “Hebrew University is honored to receive this prestigious grant from the Alfred Landecker Foundation. The funding will allow us to expand our goal of nurturing a new generation of public and professional leaders, one that will work tirelessly to safeguard human rights and minority rights, and to abide by a rule of law that protects the sanctity of life. This ethos is at the core of Israel‘s Jewish and democratic underpinnings and of our own academic charter.”
Prof. Asher Cohen, President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem