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Jüdische Kulturen


Besuch Sommerfreund und Korn

Michael Sommerfreund, Honorary Senator of the Heidelberg University of Jewish Studies, passed away in Frankfurt am Main in July 2017 at the age of 93.

תהיה נפשו צרורה בצרור החיים

His soul should be integrated into the bundle of life

Together with his wife Lilli Sommerfreund, who died in 2013, he established the Lilli and Michael Sommerfreund Foundation. The funds of this foundation have so far been used to support a three-year doctoral scholarship at the HfJS, trialogue work for teacher training and other measures to support young talent in the field of Jewish Studies. Finally, in the summer semester of 2018, the Lilli and Michael Sommerfreund Foundation sponsored the Visiting Professorship for Jewish Cultures. This chair, which is filled annually with a new guest lecturer, enriches the range of courses on offer at the HfJS, particularly in the area of Sephardic-Misrachic Jewish cultures.

In his memorial speech to the mourners, Rabbi Avichai Apel paid tribute to the deceased as a friendly, unobtrusive man of whom little was known because he did not talk much and yet could have told so many stories.

Michael Sommerfreund was born in Tlumacz, Poland, in 1924. He experienced the German invasion of Poland when he was just fifteen years old. Michael was the only one of his family to survive the persecution by the German occupiers, first by fleeing into the forests of his homeland, then after being captured in various camps. After liberation in 1945, he met another survivor, Lilli from Uszhorod in the Ukraine, two years his junior, who had also been left without a family. They married and planned a new start in America; the health consequences of their time in the camp dashed their hopes and their only child died shortly after birth. Instead of America, they moved to Frankfurt, at first probably out of necessity, but over the decades they accepted it.

Lilli and Michael Sommerfreund accompanied the Heidelberg University of Jewish Studies with great interest for many years and supported its work. The members of the university see their commitment as a strong sign of confidence in the future of the Jewish community and society in Germany and will constantly preserve their memory and learn, teach and research in their spirit.