The Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture was founded in 1965 by Nahum Goldmann with reparation funds from the government of what was then West Germany. The mandate of the Foundation at its inception was the reconstruction of Jewish cultural life around the world after the Shoah. The manner in which that mandate has been most effectively fulfilled by the Foundation is through the identification and support of a new generation of scholars, intellectuals, academic, writers, artists, rabbis, educators and other Jewish communal professionals to replace their earlier counterparts in Europe who were decimated by the Nazis in the Holocaust.
As the condition of the Jewish people normalized and the Jewish community was confronted with other major emerging needs, the Foundation re-fashioned the direction of the program. Because of the accelerating Jewish integration into their host communities in the Diaspora, it was deemed imperative to preserve and intensify Jewish cultural distinctiveness and enhance Jewish cultural life in those communities by supporting the training of competent and committed communal, cultural and professional leaders to deal with the new sociological realities and challenges their communities were confronting.
In recent decades, too, the Foundation has become concerned with the centrifugal forces operating in Jewish life and has attempted to promote Jewish connectedness globally. It has successfully demonstrated its effectiveness in this area through the organization of Nahum Goldmann Fellowships in Eastern and Western Europe, South America, Australia and Southeast Asia.
The mandate of the Foundation has been revised to reflect these new emphases in the Foundation's work the development of the social capital of the Jewish people,
its communal, cultural, and professional leadership, and the fostering of Jewish connectedness globally, including the propagation of the Hebrew language.
The Foundation has published a volume documenting all the programs they have supported in Russia & Eastern Europe from 1965-2011 - their most impressive achievements, and important contributions to Jewish life in the post-Holocaust era. For those interested, the volume is now available on this website. The Foundation's 25th Anniversary Report of the Nahum Goldmann Fellowship is also available for download.