The Alfred Landecker Foundation in Berlin has announced a $13 million grant to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in support of initiatives focused on the causes and consequences of the Holocaust and the study of human rights, minority protection, the rule of law, and reparations for historical wrongs and injustices.
The grant will fund three new initiatives at the university, including the Jacob Robinson Institute for the History of Legal Thought and Practice, named for the historian who served as a consultant in the Nuremberg war crime trials and worked on the prosecution of Nazi murderers such as Adolf Eichmann. Robinson subsequently participated in the drafting of the reparations agreement between Israel, the Jewish People, and Germany, and helped establish the research arm of Yad Vashem.
The grant also will establish the Landecker-Benjamin B. Ferencz Chair in the Study of Protection of Minorities and Vulnerable Groups, named for the American lawyer who investigated Nazi war crimes and advocated for the establishment of the International Criminal Court, and the Alfred Landecker Digital Humanities Lab, which will research oral testimonies of survivors of mass crimes, and will provide funding for the university's Minerva Center for Human Rights.
The collaboration with the university is one of the first major projects launched by the foundation as part of its commitment to create an international academic network dedicated to investigating key aspects of the protection of democratic values, pluralism, and ethnic, religious, and cultural minorities in an era of nationalism and emerging authoritarianism. Established in 2019 by the Reimann family, which owns several well-known consumer brands, including Krispy Kreme and Peet's Coffee, through the privately held JAB Holding Co. — formerly the Benckiser company, whose corporate leaders were ardent supporters of Adolf Hitler and supported the use of forced labor in their factories during World War II — the foundation is dedicated to keeping "the memory of the Holocaust alive and to draw motivation from it to enlighten ourselves and others in order to combat antisemitic, racist, and antidemocratic trends."
"I'm proud that at the very beginning of my assignment as the CEO of the Alfred Landecker Foundation, our first major donation goes to one of the world's outstanding and Israel's leading academic institution, [t]he Hebrew University of Jerusalem," said Andreas Eberhardt. "The foundation gladly supports the research and scholarly dissemination of legal and historical questions related to both the establishment and strengthening of human rights, individual as well collective rights. These subject matters were at the core interest and activity of leading Jewish legal scholars throughout the conflict-ridden twentieth century. That legacy has to be continued, strengthened, and applied during exceptionally precarious times."