Hector Research Institute of Education Sciences and Psychology

Empowering police officers and teachers in arguing against antisemitism (EMPATHIA³)

The anniversary "1700 years of Jewish life in Germany" was celebrated in 2021. It was the occasion for various events and activities to make the religion and culture, life and eventful history of Jews in Germany visible to the population. The anniversary was celebrated at a time when anti-Semitic incidents recorded by the police were (and still are) on the rise (Bundesministerium des Inneren, für Bau und Heimat, 2021); "du Jude" is a popular swearword in German schoolyards (Bernstein, 2020) and anti-Israeli anti-Semitism is the garb of the age-old Jewish hatred. At demonstrations by those on the fringe, one finds those who downplay the impact of the Holocaust and symbolically reverse its perpetrators and the victims a symbolic perpetrator. A necessary prerequisite for effective action against anti-Semitism is not only knowledge about its manifestations, its codes, and appropriate strategies of effective intervention, but also about Judaism and Jewish life, for example, about Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, or the legal situation  of Jews in Germany. In addition, a competence-oriented approach to information, which starts with the students' current life situation and needs, seems to make sense.

Within the framework of the funding guidelines of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) "Current Dynamics and Challenges of Anti-Semitism", the joint project EMPATHIA³ aims to use research to create the basis for enabling and strengthening future police officers and teachers in their task of preventing, intervening in, and repressing anti-Semitism.

The joint project, which involves researchers from the fields of religious studies, history, pedagogy, educational research, police training and civil society, is divided into three components. The first component is dedicated to the development of a core curriculum for students in education and police service on the prevention, intervention and repression of anti-Semitism. This curriculum will define the core knowledge and competencies necessary for work by the target groups. For the second component, a standardized test instrument will be developed in order to define the contents of the core curriculum and to provide information on the state of knowledge, attitudes and competencies of prospective police officers and teachers in NRW. The third component will be focused on developing and testing the effectiveness of an intervention for both target groups. This intervention will later be used in the training of teachers and police officers and will be tested for its transferability to other professional groups (e.g. justice, social work, etc.).

Collaborative project management

  • Prof. Dr. Nicola Brauch, Fakultät für Geschichtswissenschaften, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Project leaders

  • Prof. Dr. Nicola Brauch, Fakultät für Geschichtswissenschaften, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
  • Prof. Dr. Alexandra Cuffel, Centrum für Religionswissenschaftliche Studien, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
  • ORR’in Dr. Sarah Jahn, Hochschule für Polizei und Verwaltung NRW, Gelsenkirchen
  • Dr. Marc Grimm, Zentrum für Prävention & Intervention im Kinder- & Jugendalter, Universität Bielefeld
  • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Trautwein, Hector-Institut für Empirische Bildungsforschung, Universität Tübingen
  • Volker Beck, Tikvah Institut gUG Berlin