Jewish Film Heritage

Jew­ish film his­to­ry is still a young but dynam­ic field of research — “Jew­ish film her­itage” on the oth­er hand, has so far been a desider­a­tum. It can be con­cep­tu­al­ized fol­low­ing the notion of film her­itage dis­cussed in recent years, which under­stands films “not as inter­pretable texts or results of a spe­cif­ic pro­duc­tion process, but as a net­work of rela­tion­ships con­sist­ing of their mate­r­i­al con­di­tion, their legal pos­ses­sion and their (ide­al) appro­pri­a­tion, or of var­i­ous actors such as film archives, rights hold­ers and the inter­est­ed pub­lic” (Chris Wahl). The term film her­itage thus goes beyond film his­to­ry, as it makes vis­i­ble the con­di­tions under which film his­to­ry is writ­ten. This under­stand­ing of film her­itage widens the per­spec­tive to include audio­vi­su­al mate­r­i­al wide­ly neglect­ed by film his­to­ri­og­ra­phy (such as ama­teur, indus­try, edu­ca­tion­al or adver­tis­ing films), parafilmic and film accom­pa­ny­ing mate­ri­als as well as cin­e­mas and oth­er film screen­ing venues (from DP camps to film events in com­mu­ni­ties to Jew­ish film fes­ti­vals) or biogra­phies of Jew­ish filmmakers.
The goal of the project is to devel­op a sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly based work­ing def­i­n­i­tion of the term that con­nects to lit­er­ary stud­ies research on the under­stand­ing of “Jew­ish lit­er­a­tures” as well as to film stud­ies approach­es to deal­ing with audio­vi­su­al her­itage and con­sid­er­a­tions of crit­i­cal her­itage studies.
The Jew­ish Film Her­itage project is part of the DFG Pri­or­i­ty Pro­gram 2357: Jew­ish Cul­tur­al Heritage.