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BookDOI

Jewish daily life in Germany, 1618-1945

24 Mar 2005-
TL;DR: The authors examined the everyday lives of ordinary Jews in Germany during the Nazi era, focusing on the qualitative aspects of ordinary life - emotions, subjective impressions, and quotidian perceptions, and found that Jewish success existed alongside an antisemitism that persisted as a frightful leitmotif throughout German Jewish history.
Abstract: From the 17th century until the Holocaust, Germany's Jews lurched between progress and setback, between fortune and terrible misfortune. German society shunned Jews in the eighteenth century and opened unevenly to them in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, only to turn murderous in the Nazi era. This book portrays the drama of German-Jewish history - the gradual ascent of Jews from impoverished outcasts to comfortable bourgeois citizens and then their dramatic descent into genocidal torment during the Nazi years - by examining the everyday lives of ordinary Jews. Building on social, economic and political history, it focuses on the qualitative aspects of ordinary life - emotions, subjective impressions, and quotidian perceptions. How did ordinary Jews make sense of their world? How did they construe changes brought about by industrialization? How did they make decisions to enter new professions or stick with the old, juggle traditional mores with contemporary ways? The Jewish adoption of secular, modern European culture and the struggle for legal equality exacted profound costs, both material and psychological. Even in the heady years of progress, a basic insecurity informed German-Jewish life. Jewish successes existed alongside an antisemitism that persisted as a frightful leitmotif throughout German-Jewish history. And yet the history that emerges from these pages belies simplistic interpretations that German antisemitism followed a straight path from Luther to Hitler or that Germans nurtured an "eliminationist" antisemitism. Just as German history cannot be typecast, neither can Germans. Non-Jews were not uniformly antisemitic and maintained a wide variety of religious, regional, political, and class allegiances that fostered a wide range of attitudes towards Jews. Jewish daily life thus provides another vantage point from which to study the social life of Germany. Focusing on both internal Jewish life - family, religion, culture and Jewish community - and the external world of German culture and society provides a uniquely well-rounded portrait of a world defined by the shifting sands of inclusion and exclusion.
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In the 1990s, Hillel Halkin characterized the trend as "feminizing Jewish Studies," which he did not intend as a compliment as mentioned in this paper, and a firestorm ensued, fueled by Gabriel Schoenfeld's wholesale condemnation of "the voguish hybrid known as gender stud ies" in Holocaust scholarship.
Abstract: What has been called the "corporeal turn" in recent Jewish studies is provoking anxiety. If "Judaism's mind has been more interesting and more influential than Judaism's body," a distinction worthy of study in its own right, critics are calling for "a swing back to its more traditional mooring in the text (which, in any case, has often dealt with the body)." But those who took the corporeal turn never left the text behind. Rather, they brought a concern with the body to the text and found new ways to read and think about those texts. What troubles the critics would seem to lie elsewhere. Reviewing several books published in the 1990s, Hillel Halkin characterized the trend as "feminizing Jewish Studies," which he did not intend as a compliment.1 The problem was not that their authors ignored the text.2 Rather, it was the way they read the texts; their ap proach was marked, in his view, by "postmodern thinking," skepticism, a "nonto anti-Zionist" stance, an affirmation of "Diaspora Jewish iden tity," and above all an open embrace of feminism and feminist theory (and, though he does not say so in so many words, a preoccupation with sexuality and homosexuality). Non-Orthodox Jewish America is, in his view, suffering from deep confusion, exacerbated (if not caused) by the "sexual revolution," and this kind of work just makes things worse. A firestorm ensued, fueled a few months later by Gabriel Schoenfeld's wholesale condemnation of "the voguish hybrid known as gender stud ies" in Holocaust scholarship.3

73 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article found that the persecution of Jewish professionals had significant, long-lasting detrimental effects on the human capital and political development of Germans who were at school-age during the Nazi Regime.
Abstract: This paper provides causal evidence on long-term consequences of Jewish expulsions in Nazi Germany on the educational attainment and political outcomes of German children. We combine a unique city-level dataset on the fraction of Jewish population residing in Germany before the Nazi Regime with individual survey data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP). Our identification strategy exploits the plausibly exogenous city-by-cohort variation in the Jewish population in Germany as a unique quasi-experiment. We find that the persecution of Jewish professionals had significant, long-lasting detrimental effects on the human capital and political development of Germans who were at school-age during the Nazi Regime. First, these children have 0.4 fewer years of schooling on average in adulthood. Second, these children are less likely to go to college or have a graduate degree. Third, they are less likely to have interest in politics as adults. These results survive using alternative samples and specifications, including controlling for Second World War, Nazi and Communist Party support and unemployment effects.

53 citations

MonographDOI
01 Jan 2010

36 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors provides a rational choice analysis of rituals, defined as predictable and regular observances of acts or procedures, which have a symbolic element resulting in the inculcation or reinforcement of shared values and beliefs.
Abstract: This paper provides a rational choice analysis of rituals, defined as predictable and regular observances of acts or procedures, which have a symbolic element resulting in the inculcation or reinforcement of shared values and beliefs. The purpose is threefold. First, to make clear why rituals matter for economic and social outcomes. Second, to engage in interdisciplinary exchange by demonstrating how economics can be blended with insights from other social sciences. Third, to gain insight into why rituals exist and persist, as well as the process through which rituals change.

31 citations

MonographDOI
01 Aug 2009
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors discuss the racial and social boundaries between Germans and Jews in Weimar Germany and the process of Nazifying language, and the eradication of the "impossible, untenable category of 'German Jews": enforcing and contesting racial difference.
Abstract: Introduction 1. 'We are all Germans why then ask for religion ...': cultural identity, language, and Weimar pluralism, 1928-32 2. Towards the 'racial and social boundaries between Germans and Jews are to be strictly drawn ...': dictatorship building and the process of Nazifying language, 1933 3. Towards the eradication of the 'impossible, untenable category of 'German Jews": enforcing and contesting racial difference, 1935-8 4. 'The Jewess' attempted to 'state a case on her decent': linguistic violence as part of genocide, 1941-5 5. 'We are not bad Jews, because we believe we are good and true Germans ...': another beginning and persisting difference, 1945-8 Conclusion Appendix.

28 citations