by Subject: Jewish Studies
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The Absent Jews
Kurt Forstreuter and the Historiography of Medieval Prussia
For nearly a century, it has been a commonplace of Central European history that there were no Jews in medieval Prussia—the result, supposedly, of the ruling Teutonic Order’s attempts to create a purely Christian crusader’s state. In this groundbreaking historical investigation, however, medievalist Cordelia Hess demonstrates the very weak foundations upon which that assumption rests. In exacting detail, she traces this narrative to the work of a single, minor Nazi-era historian, revealing it to be ideologically compromised work that badly mishandles its evidence. By combining new medieval scholarship with a biographical and historiographical exploration grounded in the 20th century, The Absent Jews spans remote eras while offering a fascinating account of the construction of historical knowledge.
Subjects: Jewish Studies Early Modern History WWII History
Beyond Inclusion and Exclusion
Jewish Experiences of the First World War in Central Europe
Crouthamel, J., Geheran, M., Grady, T., & Köhne, J. B. (eds)
During the First World War, the Jewish population of Central Europe was politically, socially, and experientially diverse, to an extent that resists containment within a simple historical narrative. While antisemitism and Jewish disillusionment have dominated many previous studies of the topic, this collection aims to recapture the multifariousness of Central European Jewish life in the experiences of soldiers and civilians alike during the First World War. Here, scholars from multiple disciplines explore rare sources and employ innovative methods to illuminate four interconnected themes: minorities and the meaning of military service, Jewish-Gentile relations, cultural legacies of the war, and memory politics.
Subjects: Jewish Studies WWI History 20th Century History
Carnage and Care on the Eastern Front
The War Diaries of Bernhard Bardach, 1914-1918
For nearly all of the Great War, the Jewish doctor Bernhard Bardach served with the Austro-Hungarian army in present-day Ukraine. His diaries from that period, unpublished and largely overlooked until now, represent a distinctive and powerful record of daily life on the Eastern Front. In addition to key events such as the 1916 Brusilov Offensive, Bardach also gives memorable descriptions of military personalities, refugees, food shortages, and the uncertainty and boredom that inescapably attended life on the front. Ranging from the critical first weeks of fighting to the ultimate collapse of the Austrian army, these meticulously written diaries comprise an invaluable eyewitness account of the Great War.
Subjects: WWI History Jewish Studies
Children in the Holocaust and its Aftermath
Historical and Psychological Studies of the Kestenberg Archive
Kangisser Cohen, S., Fogelman, E., & Ofer, D. (eds)
The testimonies of individuals who survived the Holocaust as children pose distinct emotional and intellectual challenges for researchers: as now-adult interviewees recall profound childhood experiences of suffering and persecution, they also invoke their own historical awareness and memories of their postwar lives, requiring readers to follow simultaneous, disparate narratives. This interdisciplinary volume brings together historians, psychologists, and other scholars to explore child survivors’ accounts. With a central focus on the Kestenberg Holocaust Child Survivor Archive’s over 1,500 testimonies, it not only enlarges our understanding of the Holocaust empirically but illuminates the methodological, theoretical, and institutional dimensions of this unique form of historical record.
Subjects: Genocide Studies Jewish Studies
Czechs, Germans, Jews?
National Identity and the Jews of Bohemia
The phenomenon of national identities, always a key issue in the modern history of Bohemian Jewry, was particularly complex because of the marginal differences that existed between the available choices. Considerable overlap was evident in the programs of the various national movements and it was possible to change one’s national identity or even to opt for more than one such identity without necessarily experiencing any far-reaching consequences in everyday life. Based on many hitherto unknown archival sources from the Czech Republic, Israel and Austria, the author’s research reveals the inner dynamic of each of the national movements and maps out the three most important constructions of national identity within Bohemian Jewry – the German-Jewish, the Czech-Jewish and the Zionist. This book provides a needed framework for understanding the rich history of German- and Czech-Jewish politics and culture in Bohemia and is a notable contribution to the historiography of Bohemian, Czechoslovak and central European Jewry.
Subjects: Jewish Studies General History
Jews and Popular Culture in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna
Viennese popular culture at the turn of the twentieth century was the product of the city’s Jewish and non-Jewish residents alike. While these two communities interacted in a variety of ways to their mutual benefit, Jewish culture was also inevitably shaped by the city’s persistent bouts of antisemitism. This fascinating study explores how Jewish artists, performers, and impresarios reacted to prejudice, showing how they articulated identity through performative engagement rather than anchoring it in origin and descent. In this way, they attempted to transcend a racialized identity even as they indelibly inscribed their Jewish existence into the cultural history of the era.
The History of Jews Who Fled Nazi Deportation Trains in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands
von Fransecky, T.
Of the countless stories of resistance, ingenuity, and personal risk to emerge in the years following the Holocaust, among the most remarkable, yet largely overlooked, are those of the hundreds of Jewish deportees who escaped from moving trains bound for the extermination camps. In France, Belgium, and the Netherlands alone over 750 men, women and children undertook such dramatic escape attempts, despite the extraordinary uncertainty and physical danger they often faced. Drawing upon extensive interviews and a wealth of new historical evidence, Escapees gives a fascinating collective account of this hitherto neglected form of resistance to Nazi persecution.
A Fatal Balancing Act
The Dilemma of the Reich Association of Jews in Germany, 1939-1945
In 1939 all German Jews had to become members of a newly founded Reich Association. The Jewish functionaries of this organization were faced with circumstances and events that forced them to walk a fine line between responsible action and collaboration. They had hoped to support mass emigration, mitigate the consequences of the anti-Jewish measures, and take care of the remaining community. When the Nazis forbade emigration and started mass deportations in 1941, the functionaries decided to cooperate to prevent the “worst.” In choosing to cooperate, they came into direct opposition with the interests of their members, who were then deported. In June 1943 all unprotected Jews were deported along with their representatives, and the so-called intermediaries supplied the rest of the community, which consisted of Jews living in mixed marriages. The study deals with the tasks of these men, the fate of the Jews in mixed marriages, and what happened to the survivors after the war.
Subjects: WWII History Jewish Studies Genocide Studies
The Holocaust in Bohemia and Moravia
Czech Initiatives, German Policies, Jewish Responses
Prior to Hitler’s occupation, nearly 120,000 Jews inhabited the areas that would become the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia; by 1945, all but a handful had either escaped or been deported and murdered by the Nazis. This pioneering study gives a definitive account of the Holocaust as it was carried out in the region, detailing the German and Czech policies, including previously overlooked measures such as small-town ghettoization and forced labor, that shaped Jewish life. Drawing on extensive new evidence, Wolf Gruner demonstrates how the persecution of the Jews as well as their reactions and resistance efforts were the result of complex actions by German authorities in Prague and Berlin as well as the Czech government and local authorities.
Subjects: Jewish Studies Genocide Studies WWII History
Jews and Arabs Facing the Self and the Other
The question of identity is one of present-day Israel’s cardinal and most pressing issues. In a comprehensive examination of the identity issue, this study focuses on attitudes toward the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora; the Holocaust and its repercussions on identity; attitudes toward the state of Israel and Zionism; and attitudes toward Jewish religion. Israeli Arab students (Israeli Palestinians) and Jewish Israeli students were asked corresponding questions regarding their identity. It was found that, rather than lessening its impact over the years, the Holocaust has become a major factor, at times the paramount factor in Jewish identity. Similarly, among Palestinians the Naqba has become a major factor in Palestinian-Israeli identity. However, the overall results show that the identity of a Jewish citizen of Israel is not purely Israeli, nor is it purely Jewish. It is, to varying degrees, a synthesis of Jewish and Israeli components, depending on the particular sub-groups or sub-identities. The same holds for Israeli-Arabs or Israeli-Palestinians who have neither a purely Israeli identity nor a purely Palestinian (or Arab) one.
Subjects: Jewish Studies Sociology
Jewish Life in Nazi Germany
Dilemmas and Responses
Nicosia, F. & Scrase, D. (eds)
German Jews faced harsh dilemmas in their responses to Nazi persecution, partly a result of Nazi cruelty and brutality but also a result of an understanding of their history and rightful place in Germany. This volume addresses the impact of the anti-Jewish policies of Hitler’s regime on Jewish family life, Jewish women, and the existence of Jewish organizations and institutions and considers some of the Jewish responses to Nazi anti-Semitism and persecution. This volume offers scholars, students, and interested readers a highly accessible but focused introduction to Jewish life under National Socialism, the often painful dilemmas that it produced, and the varied Jewish responses to those dilemmas.
Subjects: Jewish Studies WWII History Genocide Studies
Judging 'Privileged' Jews
Holocaust Ethics, Representation, and the 'Grey Zone'
The Nazis’ persecution of the Jews during the Holocaust included the creation of prisoner hierarchies that forced victims to cooperate with their persecutors. Many in the camps and ghettos came to hold so-called “privileged” positions, and their behavior has often been judged as self-serving and harmful to fellow inmates. Such controversial figures constitute an intrinsically important, frequently misunderstood, and often taboo aspect of the Holocaust. Drawing on Primo Levi’s concept of the “grey zone,” this study analyzes the passing of moral judgment on “privileged” Jews as represented by writers, such as Raul Hilberg, and in films, including Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah and Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. Negotiating the problems and potentialities of “representing the unrepresentable,” this book engages with issues that are fundamental to present-day attempts to understand the Holocaust and deeply relevant to reflections on human nature.
Subjects: Genocide Studies General History Jewish Studies
The Legacy of Liberal Judaism
Ernst Cassirer and Hannah Arendt's Hidden Conversation
Comparing the liberal Jewish ethics of the German-Jewish philosophers Ernst Cassirer and Hannah Arendt, this book argues that both espoused a diasporic, worldly conception of Jewish identity that was anchored in a pluralist and politically engaged interpretation of Jewish history and an abiding interest in the complex lived reality of modern Jews. Arendt’s indebtedness to liberal Jewish thinkers such as Moses Mendelssohn, Abraham Geiger, Hermann Cohen, and Ernst Cassirer has been obscured by her modernist posture and caustic critique of the assimilationism of her German-Jewish forebears. By reorienting our conception of Arendt as a profoundly secular thinker anchored in twentieth century political debates, we are led to rethink the philosophical, political, and ethical legacy of liberal Jewish discourse.
Subjects: Jewish Studies General History
Matters of Testimony
Interpreting the Scrolls of Auschwitz
Chare, N. & Williams, D.
In 1944, members of the Sonderkommando—the “special squads,” composed almost exclusively of Jewish prisoners, who ensured the smooth operation of the gas chambers and had firsthand knowledge of the extermination process—buried on the grounds of Auschwitz-Birkenau a series of remarkable eyewitness accounts of Nazi genocide. This careful and penetrating study examines anew these “Scrolls of Auschwitz,” which were gradually recovered, in damaged and fragmentary form, in the years following the camp’s liberation. It painstakingly reconstructs their historical context and textual content, revealing complex literary works that resist narrow moral judgment and engage difficult questions about the limits of testimony.
Subjects: Genocide Studies WWII History Jewish Studies
Microhistories of the Holocaust
Zalc, C. & Bruttmann, T. (eds)
How does scale affect our understanding of the Holocaust? In the vastness of its implementation and the sheer amount of death and suffering it produced, the genocide of Europe’s Jews presents special challenges for historians, who have responded with work ranging in scope from the world-historical to the intimate. In particular, recent scholarship has demonstrated a willingness to study the Holocaust at scales as focused as a single neighborhood, family, or perpetrator. This volume brings together an international cast of scholars to reflect on the ongoing microhistorical turn in Holocaust studies, assessing its historiographical pitfalls as well as the distinctive opportunities it affords researchers.
Subjects: Genocide Studies WWII History Jewish Studies
Nazism, the Holocaust, and the Middle East
Arab and Turkish Responses
Nicosia, F. R. & Ergene, B. A. (eds)
Given their geographical separation from Europe, ethno-religious and cultural diversity, and subordinate status within the Nazi racial hierarchy, Middle Eastern societies were both hospitable as well as hostile to National Socialist ideology during the 1930s and 1940s. By focusing on Arab and Turkish reactions to German anti-Semitism and the persecution and mass-murder of European Jews during this period, this expansive collection surveys the institutional and popular reception of Nazism in the Middle East and North Africa. It provides nuanced and scholarly yet accessible case studies of the ways in which nationalism, Islam, anti-Semitism, and colonialism intertwined, all while sensitive to the region’s political, cultural, and religious complexities.
Subjects: Genocide Studies Jewish Studies
Probing the Limits of Categorization
The Bystander in Holocaust History
Morina, C. & Thijs, K. (eds)
Of the three categories that Raul Hilberg developed in his analysis of the Holocaust—perpetrators, victims, and bystanders—it is the last that is the broadest and most difficult to pinpoint. Described by Hilberg as those who were “once a part of this history,” bystanders present unique challenges for those seeking to understand the decisions, attitudes, and self-understanding of historical actors who were neither obviously the instigators nor the targets of Nazi crimes. Combining historiographical, conceptual, and empirical perspectives on the bystander, the case studies in this book provide powerful insights into the complex social processes that accompany state-sponsored genocidal violence.
Rethinking Holocaust Justice
Essays across Disciplines
Goda, N. J. W. (ed)
Since the end of World War II, the ongoing efforts aimed at criminal prosecution, restitution, and other forms of justice in the wake of the Holocaust have constituted one of the most significant episodes in the history of human rights and international law. As such, they have attracted sustained attention from historians and legal scholars. This edited collection substantially enlarges the topical and disciplinary scope of this burgeoning field, exploring such varied subjects as literary analysis of Hannah Arendt’s work, the restitution case for Gustav Klimt’s Beethoven Frieze, and the ritualistic aspects of criminal trials.
Subjects: Genocide Studies Postwar History Jewish Studies
Space and Spatiality in Modern German-Jewish History
Lässig, S. & Rürup, M. (eds)
What makes a space Jewish? This wide-ranging volume revisits literal as well as metaphorical spaces in modern German history to examine the ways in which Jewishness has been attributed to them both within and outside of Jewish communities, and what the implications have been across different eras and social contexts. Working from an expansive concept of “the spatial,” these contributions look not only at physical sites but at professional, political, institutional, and imaginative realms, as well as historical Jewish experiences of spacelessness. Together, they encompass spaces as varied as early modern print shops and Weimar cinema, always pointing to the complex intertwining of German and Jewish identity.
Submerged on the Surface
The Not-So-Hidden Jews of Nazi Berlin, 1941–1945
Lutjens Jr., R. N.
Between 1941 and 1945, thousands of German Jews, in fear for their lives, made the choice to flee their impending deportations and live submerged in the shadows of the Nazi capital. Drawing on a wealth of archival evidence and interviews with survivors, this book reconstructs the daily lives of Jews who stayed in Berlin during the war years. Contrary to the received wisdom that “hidden” Jews stayed in attics and cellars and had minimal contact with the outside world, the author reveals a cohort of remarkable individuals who were constantly on the move and actively fought to ensure their own survival.
Subjects: Jewish Studies Genocide Studies WWII History
Testimonies of Resistance
Representations of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Sonderkommando
Chare, N. & Williams, D. (eds)
The Sonderkommando—the “special squad” of enslaved Jewish laborers who were forced to work in the gas chambers and crematoria of Auschwitz-Birkenau—comprise one of the most fascinating and troubling topics within Holocaust history. As eyewitnesses to and unwilling abettors of the murder of their fellow Jews, they are the object of fierce condemnation even today. Yet it was a group of these seemingly compromised men who carried out the revolt of October 7, 1944, one of the most celebrated acts of Holocaust resistance. This interdisciplinary collection assembles careful investigations into how the Sonderkommando have been represented—by themselves and by others—both during and after the Holocaust.
Subjects: Genocide Studies Jewish Studies WWII History
Vienna Is Different
Jewish Writers in Austria from the Fin-de-Siècle to the Present
Herzog, H. H.
Assessing the impact of fin-de-siècle Jewish culture on subsequent developments in literature and culture, this book is the first to consider the historical trajectory of Austrian-Jewish writing across the 20th century. It examines how Vienna, the city that stood at the center of Jewish life in the Austrian Empire and later the Austrian nation, assumed a special significance in the imaginations of Jewish writers as a space and an idea. The author focuses on the special relationship between Austrian-Jewish writers and the city to reveal a century-long pattern of living in tension with the city, experiencing simultaneously acceptance and exclusion, feeling “unheimlich heimisch” (eerily at home) in Vienna.
Visitors to the House of Memory
Identity and Political Education at the Jewish Museum Berlin
Bishop Kendzia, V.
As one of the most visited museums in Germany’s capital city, the Jewish Museum Berlin is a key site for understanding not only German-Jewish history, but also German identity in an era of unprecedented ethnic and religious diversity. Visitors to the House of Memory is an intimate exploration of how young Berliners experience the Museum. How do modern students relate to the museum’s evocative architecture, its cultural-political context, and its narrative of Jewish history? By accompanying a range of high school history students before, during, and after their visits to the museum, this book offers an illuminating exploration of political education, affect, remembrance, and belonging.
Subjects: Museum Studies Jewish Studies General Anthropology
World War I and the Jews
Conflict and Transformation in Europe, the Middle East, and America
Rozenblit, M. L. and Karp, J. (eds)
World War I utterly transformed the lives of Jews around the world: it allowed them to display their patriotism, to dispel antisemitic myths about Jewish cowardice, and to fight for Jewish rights. Yet Jews also suffered as refugees and deportees, at times catastrophically. And in the aftermath of the war, the replacement of the Habsburg Monarchy and the Russian and Ottoman Empires with a system of nation-states confronted Jews with a new set of challenges. This book provides a fascinating survey of the ways in which Jewish communities participated in and were changed by the Great War, focusing on the dramatic circumstances they faced in Europe, North America, and the Middle East during and after the conflict.
Subjects: Jewish Studies WWI History