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Professor of Jewish History and Culture at Ludwig Maximilian University and Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies, American University

Michael Brenner is the Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies and Director of American University’s Center for Israel Studies and Professor of Jewish History and Culture at Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich. He received his PhD at Columbia University and taught previously at Indiana and Brandeis Universities. Since 1997 he has been Professor of Jewish History and Culture at the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich. He had visiting appointments at numerous universities, including Haifa, Paris, Budapest, Vienna, Stanford, Berkeley, and Johns Hopkins.

Professor Brenner is an elected fellow of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, the American Academy for Jewish Research and the Accademia Nazionale Virgiliana in Mantua. He is the International President of the Leo Baeck Institute for the Study of German-Jewish History and serves on many academic boards, including the Jewish Museum of Berlin, the Israel Institute, the Center for European Studies of the University of Haifa and is board chair of the Franz Rosenzweig Research Center of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His nine books have been translated into ten languages and include In Search of Israel: The History of an Idea; A Short History of the Jews; Prophets of the Past: Interpreters of Jewish History; Zionism: A Brief History; The Renaissance of Jewish Culture in Weimar Germany, After the Holocaust: Rebuilding Jewish Lives in Postwar Germany and, most recently, In Hitler’s Munich: Jews, the Revolution, and the Rise of Nazism. He is co-author of the four-volume German-Jewish History in Modern Times, for which he was awarded a National Jewish Book Award, and editor of nineteen books.

Professor Brenner was awarded with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2014. In 2020 he was the first recipient of the Salo W. and Jeannette M. Baron Award for Scholarly Excellence in Research on the Jewish Experience.
Michael Brenner publishes widely in international media, including the Washington Post, the Times of Israel, and the Spiegel. His voice is heard frequently on PBS and international radio and TV stations.


  • –present
    Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies and Director, Center for Israel Studies, Department of History, American University