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Mar 30, 2015 7:00 PM

From Franz Kafka's Prague to Hugo Bergmann's Jerusalem

Lecture by Nitzan Lebovic, Lehigh University.

Hugo Bergmann, a childhood friend of Kafka, left Prague in the early 1920s to become the head of the National Library in Jerusalem, the first rector of the Hebrew University, and in 1925 one of the founders of Brit Shalom ("Covenant of Peace"). According to Bergmann, “the great service of Bohemian Jews to [the German and Czech] people was their ability to build bridges.” This lecture traces the earliest discussions about Prague as a model for a federal, bi-national state, and a peaceful solution to ethnic conflicts.  As Nitzan Lebovic will discuss in his talk, Franz Kafka’s literature, Martin Buber’s philosophy and Hugo Bergman’s “bridges-model” were the basis for Brit Shalom's radical political design.

Nitzan Lebovic is an assistant professor of history and the Apter Chair of Holocaust Studies and Ethical Values at Lehigh University. He is the author of The Philosophy of Life and Death: Ludwig Klages and the Rise of a Nazi Biopolitics (Palgrave Studies in Cultural and Intellectual History, 2013), and of Zionism and Melancholy: The Short Life of Israel Zarchi (Forthcoming in Hebrew: Carmel, 2015).

Lecture organized by the Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews with the co-operation of the Czech Consulate in New York


321 East 73rd Street
NY 10021 New York
United States


Mar 30, 2015 7:00 PM


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