The main goals of this edition are to impart knowledge about Jewish history through sources, to make larger contexts comprehensible through specific examples, and to facilitate access to these sources and thus encourage new research. Furthermore, it represents a contribution to the preservation and study of Jewish heritage. In publishing this edition, it is our intention to provide a new perspective on Hamburg’s Jewish history while making a technical contribution to the long-term preservation of key sources.

    By presenting previously little studied sources and putting familiar archival documents in new contexts and formats we hope to give thought-provoking impulses and encourage new lines of study. The fact that the arguments made are based directly on the sources encourages debate on specific interpretations and categorizations. Hamburg’s Jewish history is considered in a national, transnational, and global context. Beyond their significance for local history, the sources are meant to “open doors” to understanding broader developments and questions in (German-)Jewish history.

    The source interpretations which provide critical commentary on the documents as well as context on their history are informed by current research. Thus it is ensured that the edition reflects current scholarly debate while the commentary also serves the purpose of contextualizing a source that has been taken out of its original place of discovery. In order to include findings from current research projects, we specifically encouraged the participation of junior scholars in our project.

    Making sources available on the internet not only increases their visibility and accessibility, the edition also seeks to digitally reunite Hamburg’s Jewish heritage, which has been scattered all over the world, and to preserve it for future generations (and scholars). The English translations provided for all source material are intended to facilitate the inclusion of sources on Hamburg’s Jewish history in comparative transnational studies or in academic curricula outside Germany.

    Since the online source edition is conceived of as a model project, it is also intended to provide new insights into the use of digitization in the field of Jewish history and document these. These may include the practical application of existing digital tools or the tagging of heterogeneous source material. Experiences concerning the possible improvement and testing of subject-specific requirements such as thesauri, multilingual versions of sources or tagging texts including Hebrew characters will be of particular interest in this process. Being anchored in the discipline of history, we hope this edition will increase the acceptance of digital publications and provide guidance on their critical use.