Antisemitism in the European Classroom

This collaborative project, based at the ZeBUSS (Center for Research on Education, Curriculum, Schooling, and Socialization) of the Europa-Universität Flensburg and at the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, researches the dynamics, manifestations, and effects of antisemitism in Europe. This initiative develops digital teaching materials designed to prevent antisemitism across disciplines in European classrooms. The project facilitates a collaboration between the Fritz Bauer Institute (Frankfurt am Main) and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as well as with schools in Germany, France, Spain, and Romania. Other partner institutions such as memorial sites, Nazi documentation centers, and Jewish museums will serve as extracurricular learning environments. The project aims to provide students with a sustainable set of values that will empower them to counter radical attitudes, behaviors, and conspiracy theories.

The first portion of the project, based in Flensburg (Prof. Iulia-Karin Patrut and Dr. Stephanie Born), takes a comparative approach in looking at how antisemitism prevention is incorporated into school curricula in Germany and Romania. To this end, the project works to develop digital teaching materials, with a particular focus on the subjects of German and German as a foreign language. As an eastern European country, Romania presents a particularly interesting case: it shifted alliances in 1944, contains a German minority, and was also home to influential Jewish voices in cultural and social life before 1945. In recent years, an engagement with responsibility for the Holocaust has moved in a positive direction. There is an increase in public debate on the dangers of antisemitism, and the Elie Wiesel National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania was established in 2005. It remains to be seen whether these new forms of memory culture are already embedded in school curricula or whether Jewish life and antisemitism remain overlooked.

The second portion of the project, also based in Flensburg (Prof. Marco Thomas Bosshard und Dr. Fernando García Naharro), similarly compares strategies of preventing antisemitism in both German and Spanish classrooms, focusing on the subjects of history and Spanish. Spain played a minor role in the Holocaust due to its formal neutrality during World War II, yet it nevertheless must come to terms with a long tradition of antisemitism, a history that culminated in the expulsion of Jews in 1492. In its modern manifestation, antisemitism has been present in Spain since Jews began resettling there in the late nineteenth century. School curricula have only recently raised and problematized this issue explicitly.

Finally, the Düsseldorf-based project (Prof. Ursula Hennigfeld and Dr. Jutta Weiser) takes a comparative look at antisemitism prevention in the classroom in Germany and France, focusing on the subjects of political science and French. To this end, the project takes into account how French society has dealt with issues of antisemitism. Public debate has increased in recent years about antisemitic incidents in the nineteenth century (ie. the Dreyfus Affair), the role of the Vichy Regime, and contemporary antisemitism (i.e. the 2015 attacks in Paris). The project examines how lessons incorporate historical and contemporary forms of antisemitism while working to prevent it.


Prof. Dr. Iulia-Karin Patrut

Europa-Universität Flensburg
Institut für Sprache, Literatur und Medien
Auf dem Campus 1

24943 Flensburg

Prof. Dr. Marco Thomas Bosshard

Europa-Universität Flensburg
Romanisches Seminar
Auf dem Campus 1

24943 Flensburg

Prof. Dr. Ursula Hennigfeld

Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
Institut für Romanistik
Universitätsstr. 1

40225 Düsseldorf