Dr Jürgen Heyde

Curriculum Vitae 

PD Dr Jürgen Heyde came to the Imre Kertesz Kolleg Jena as a fellow in May 2013. Prior to that he worked on the DFG (German Research Foundation) project Der "Ghetto"-Begriff in der polnisch-jüdischen Historiographie und Publizistik 1868-1918. Eine begriffs- und kommunikationsgeschichtliche Untersuchung (The ‘Ghetto’ as a concept in Polish-Jewish historiography and journalism 1868–1918. An investigation of conceptual and communications history) at Martin Luther Universität Halle-Wittenberg. He began to work as a research associate at the same university in 2003 and was awarded his habilitation in 2009. After completing his PhD at the Freie Universität Berlin, he was a research associate at the German Historical Institute in Warsaw from 1998 to 2003. He studied Eastern European history, Polish/Slavonic studies and medieval history from 1987 to 1993 in Giessen, Mainz, Warsaw, and Berlin.

Research project at the Kolleg

From programme to politics. Narratives of action in anti-Semitic publications in Poland 1880–1939
This project examines the relationship between anti-Semitic writers and their readers. It shows how the former imagined, constructed, and guided an anti-Semitic in-group (or we-group) through “narratives of action” in Poland between 1880 and 1939. It is based on the assumption that anti-Semitic polemics were essentially directed not at a Jewish audience (as the Jews were perceived as the out-group), but served first and foremost to confirm the followers of anti-Semitic writers in their opinions and urge them to participate in the political, social, and economic agenda set forth by these writers.
By “narratives of action”, I mean any argument that responded to the questions “what should be done with the Jews” and “who should do something” in order to “solve the Jewish question”. Such narratives provoked into action by proposing more or less concrete measures and defining the actors that would carry them out. They helped anti-Semitic writers build up a group of followers and connect to the “masses”, thereby strengthening their status as leaders.
The project analyses the evolution of these “narratives of action” in Polish anti-Semitism from the last quarter of the nineteenth century to the outbreak of the Second World War. It examines the historical and discursive contexts of these narratives, the image they convey of the in-group, and the relationship they propose between the author as leader and his readers as followers or the “masses”.
By focussing on the interaction between anti-Semitic authors and their followers, the project highlights a core aspect of the development of modern anti-Semitism:  the evolution of anti-Semitism into a social and political movement through a process of communication.

Main areas of research

  • Non-dominant groups in early modern Eastern Europe
  • Jewish history in Poland-Lithuania (middle ages–early twentieth century)
  • Polish history
  • Baltic history in early modern times

Positions and memberships

Member of the editorial boards of the following journals:

  • Tuna. Ajalookultuuri Ajakiri (Past. Journal of Cultural history), Estonia
  • Ajalooarhivi toimetised (Publications of the Historical Archives), Estonia


  • Polskie Towarzystwo Studiów Żydowskich (Polish Jewish Studies Association)
  • Gesellschaft zur Erforschung der Geschichte der Juden (Society for the Study of Jewish History)
  • Baltische Historische Kommission (Baltic Historical Commission)
  • Verband der Osteuropahistorikerinnen und -historiker e.V. (VOH, Association of Historians of Eastern Europe)
  • Verband der Historiker und Historikerinnen Deutschlands (Association of German Historians)