Since its establishment in 1994, the Centre has developed into a major institution for the study of the history, culture and thought of Jews in Central Europe and for the training of a new generation of teachers and researchers in this field.
Based within a dynamic modern university committed to interdisciplinary studies, the Centre contributes distinctively to historical, philosophical and literary scholarship and education. Financial support from a wide range of educational trusts, individual donors and a London-based Support Group greatly enhance its work. The primary aim of the Centre's teaching and research activities is the re-evaluation of how the history of Jews in German-speaking lands is studied. The Centre attracts international scholars who actively contribute to scholarship in German-Jewish studies through teaching and research, focusing on political, social, literary and intellectual German-Jewish history.
Given the location of the Centre, another key objective is to research the history of Jewish refugees and their families to the United Kingdom during and after the Second World War. The Centre also focuses on projects related to the history of anti-Semitism, the Holocaust and its effects on post-war history until today. The Centre's archival collection, located in the University of Sussex Library, is being developed in accordance with these main themes. There is a particular interest in materials documenting the histories of German-Jewish families since the Enlightenment, including diaries, letters, oral testimony, survival narratives and other biographical sources recording the history of refugees.
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The University of Sussex (of which the Centre for German-Jewish Studies is a part) is an exempt charity and, as such, is not required to register with the Charity Commissioners because the institution is already responsible to another statutory body – The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). As an exempt charity The University has exactly the same rights as any registered charity. The Inland Revenue claim number is XN1306 and tax claims are treated in exactly the same way as those of a registered charity.