The Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena is an Institute of Advanced Studies, with a thematic focus on the history, culture and societies of twentieth-century Eastern Europe. The Kolleg invites international scholars to Jena to pursue their research projects in a climate of dialogue and exchange among the fellows and the Kolleg’s research staff. It closely cooperates with international research institutions in the region and abroad.
The Kolleg is proud and honoured to bear the name of Nobel laureate Imre Kertész (1929–2016) whose life and work inspires the institute’s approach to the history of Central and Eastern Europe in the twentieth century. A victim of National Socialism, a survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, where he was liberated by American forces in April 1945, and a witness to the Stalinist history of his native Hungary, Kertész experienced the two most fundamental attacks on human dignity which have been so tragically formative for the Eastern parts of Europe. Kertész’ novel Fateless is among the most important literary representations of the Shoah. His extraordinary contribution to keeping alive the memory of the loss of all civilizational and human certainties in twentieth-century Europe remains an example to all at the Kolleg.
The Kolleg is housed in two landmark buildings – the GDR high-rise JenTower with its signature round glass façade, and the eighteenth century former summer residence of the Princesses of the Grand Ducal House of Saxe-Weimar. Fellows and staff have their office spaces in both buildings; there are seminar rooms and one common room for more informal gatherings shared by all members of the Kolleg. More information can be found in Historical Notes on the Kolleg’s Buildings.