The Institute for the History of the German Jews (Institut für die Geschichte der deutschen Juden, IGdJ) was established in 1966 as the first research institution dedicated entirely to German-Jewish history. A foundation constituted under civil law, the institute is publicly financed by the City of Hamburg.

The first director of the IGdJ, Mosche Graupe, served from 1966 until 1972. His successor, Peter Freimark, presided over the institute for two successive decades, turning over proceedings to Monika Richarz in 1992. Following her nine year tenure (1993 – 2001), the IGdJ was run by Stefanie Schüler-Springorum, who served as director from 2001-2011. In 2011, Andreas Brämer stepped in as commissarial director, and was succeeded by the IGdJ’s current director, Miriam Rürup, in July 2011. Miriam Rürup is the IGdJ’s sixth director.


The IGdJ focuses primarily on academic research and fostering the work of young scholars. In addition to its research pursuits, the IGdJ puts forth an extensive array of institutional publications as well as external scientific studies. IGdJ researchers often teach at the nearby University of Hamburg. The institute also organizes a number of conferences, colloquia, and guest lectures in close cooperation with scholars at German and foreign research institutions.

Established in 1969, the IGdJ’s publication series “Hamburger Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Juden”, has now published over 45 monographs, documentaries and collected volumes, all of which aim to shed light on the varied and interdisciplinary approaches to Jewish historiography. The younger paperback series, “Studien zur jüdischen Geschichte” was launched in 1993, and now contains approximately ten tome and volumes. 

Areas of Research

IGdJ’s main research agenda is to analyze extensive archival material concerning the history of the Jews in the Hamburg region from its beginnings until present day. This includes the history of Sephardic Jews who settled in Hamburg as well as Jewish cemeteries of the region. The institute also seeks to examine the general history, culture, and religion of German speaking Jewish people from early modern to present times.

Research topica:

  • History of the Jews in Hamburg, Altona and Wandsbek
  • Documenting Jewish Cemeteries in the Hamburg Region
  • History and Culture of the Sephardic Jews in Germany
  • History of Religion and Culture
  • Jewish Social History
  • History of Migration
  • History of Jewish Women and Gender