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1 August 2002

University of Heidelberg Expresses Profound Sympathy to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Rector Prof. Dr. Peter Hommelhoff and Vice-Rector Prof. Dr. Silke Leopold after the attack on students at Heidelberg's partner university: "Our thoughts are with you."

"We are filled with horror by the news of the attack on students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem." Thus Rector Prof. Dr. Peter Hommelhoff and Vice-Rector Prof. Dr. Silke Leopold in a letter of condolence addressed to the Rector of the Hebrew University, Prof. Dr. Haim D. Rabinowitch. "The University of Heidelberg, the Rectorate, the Senate and all students and staff join in expressing their profoundest sympathy to you and all the members of the University of Jerusalem. We ask you to convey these sentiments to the victims and their families. Our thoughts are with you."

Partnership dates back to 1983

Only a few weeks ago, on 12 June 2002, a major exhibition was opened in Heidelberg entitled "Jews at the University of Heidelberg — Documents from Seven Centuries". The exhibition has been organised in the framework of a partnership between the University of Heidelberg and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem that dates back to 1983. It documents the significance of Jewish professors and students throughout Heidelberg University's 600-year history and can be viewed at the University Library until the end of August. Subsequently the exhibition will be shown in Jerusalem.

The exhibition traces the increasing participation of Jews in university life. In the first five centuries only very few Jews taught and studied here but as of the late 19th century the liberal spirit prevailing in Heidelberg attracted prominent Jewish scholars and a large number of Jewish students. In the age of the Kaiser and the Weimar Republic the University's reputation for science and scholarship flourished as never before and the Jewish contribution was crucial to this development.

A number of students and professors went from here to Palestine and had a hand in the foundation of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the state of Israel. During the National Socialist regime, the Jewish members of the University were humiliated and hounded out. After 1945 academic links with Israel were re-established and institutionalised. A major factor in the renewal of Jewish academic life in Heidelberg was the foundation of the Institute of Jewish Studies, which is closely connected to the University.

(The exhibition is on show until 31 August 2002 at the University Library, Plöck 107-109. It is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays to Fridays, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays. Admission free.)

Please address any inquiries to:
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

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Updated: 05.08.2002


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