Public History at LBI Jerusalem Archive


The archive of Leo Baeck Jerusalem contains diverse materials from the history of German Jewry over more than two centuries. However, some of these documents are not easily accessible to contemporary readers, as they often written in archaic hand writing. In a unique collaborative project, students from across Germany came together to employ digital tools and decipher an archival file from the LBI collections. Along the way, the leaned about the Jewish history of their city.

The Public History Bremen and Facts & Files – Historical Research Institute Berlin jointly organized a Transcribathon event that took place from the 13th to 17th of June 2022, as part of the first Public History Bremen Summer School. During the week, participants transcribed and annotated historical documents relating to the history of the family Rosenak. The Rabbi Leopold Rosenak collection of Leo Baeck institute was chosen as it deeply entangled with the history of the city Bremen. Those documents entail letters and postcards from the front, photographs and other documents from the time of the Great War, as well as other manuscripts by Rosenak related to its time as community rabbi.

In a few days, the five teams of participants managed to transcribe over 800,000 characters from 409 documents in Rosenak’s papers, as well as an unpublished memoir by Bella Rosenak. The program also included visits to nearby museums, such as the German Emigration Center, and a historical city tour that stopped at the Rosenak’s former home.

The Public History Summer School is part of the crowd sourcing project Europeana 1914-1918. Members of the public are invited to create an account and contribute to transcriptions at

To see the results of the Transcribathon at Europeana website:

Browse Rabbi Leopold Rosenak collection at LBI Jerusalem catalog:

Browse Rabbi Leopold Rosenak collection at LBI New York catalog:

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