Stolpersteine (stumbling blocks) in front of the Institute of Physics at TU Darmstadt

The Evenarí Forum

In the summer semester 2001, the "Evenarí Forum for German-Jewish Studies: Engineering Sciences, Natural Sciences, Historical and Cultural Studies" was constituted as an academic, interdisciplinary initiative of members of the TU Darmstadt.

The name commemorates the habilitated biologist Walter Schwarz, who was informed by the Rector of the TH Darmstadt on April 1, 1933:

Rector of the TH Darmstadt

"Herr Doktor, I'm afraid I have to dismiss you without notice, since you have been denounced to me as a conscious Jew!"

Stolperstein für Michael Evenari vor dem Botanischen Institut der TU Darmstadt
Picture: K. Fischer
Michael Evenarí 1977 at the award of an honorary doctorate of the THD between Liesel Evenarí and TH President Helmut Böhme

Walter Schwarz left Germany, called himself Michael Evenarí and became an internationally renowned scientist at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, especially with his research on agriculture in the desert. It was by no means a matter of course that he remained attached to his old alma mater after the war.

The TH Darmstadt thanked him for this by awarding him an honorary doctorate in 1977. It was his life's work to build a bridge between Darmstadt and Ben Gurion University Sde Boqer, Germany and Israel.

The first connections between Darmstadt and Sde Boqer had already been established at the end of the seventies, but unfortunately these have petered out over the years; the Evenarí Forum would like to build on this.

Even if the focus of the activities is to be in the field of natural and engineering sciences, aspects of the history of science will not be ignored, since the important role of German natural scientists and engineers of the Jewish faith – not only at the TU Darmstadt – has neither been fully researched nor is it known to a wider public, even of famous Nobel Prize winners such as Fritz Habers or Albert Einstein everyone may be familiar with.

In 2002, the “Evenarí-Forum” merged with the “Arbeitsgemeinschaft zur Geschichte und Kultur der Juden an der TU Darmstadt” (Working Group on the History and Culture of the Jews at the TU Darmstadt), thus bundling the Jewish-Israeli-oriented activities of the university.

Stumbling block installation

On March 15, 2010, the laying of “Stolpersteine” (stumbling blocks) commemorated six scientists of the TH Darmstadt who were forced out of the university and dismissed between 1933 and 1935, among them Michael Evenarí, the Forum's patron saint.

Friends of the Evenarí Forum

Michael Evenarí during the almond harvest in Avdat, 1968

The Evenarí Forum consists of about 30 people from the professors and lecturers of the TU Darmstadt. They meet regularly to exchange ideas and organize the activities of the forum. Members of the TU Darmstadt (lecturers, students, employees) are cordially invited to participate!