German-Jewish history has often been regarded as ‘leading up to the Holocaust’. In this module we will explore the life and culture of Jews in Germany from the late C18th until the eve of the Nazi takeover in 1933. Starting with the Jewish enlightenment, initiated by philosopher Moses Mendelssohn (1729/1786), we see the emergence of a modernizing Jewish element within a modernizing German society and its capital city of Berlin. Here, all Jewish ‘fantasies’, from Assimilation to Zionism, have been played out, discussed, created tensions within the Jewish community and produced an unparalleled cultural creativity, particularly around the turn of the century and in the 1920s. Antisemitism in German society led to the establishment of Jewish organisations such as the Centralverein, but also to the development of a ‘Jewish renaissance’, a re-discovery of a Jewish identity nearly lost in the processes of modernization. Using a core set of primary sources as our foundation, we will trace Jewish life from the struggle for emancipation through to the cultural, social, and political transformations of the 19th and early 20th centuries
Aims and Objectives
Knowledge and Understanding
Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
- the relationship between Jews and non-Jews in Germany
- different academic approaches to Jewish history and culture
- the transformation of Jewish life during the long 19th and early 20th centuries
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- evaluate different scholarly approaches to the study of Jewish life in Germany
- integrate textual analysis with secondary research
- analyze primary and secondary sources in the framework of Jewish history and culture
- make connections between political, social, and cultural developments and the formation of identities
- show a critical understanding of the nature of minority-majority relations
Transferable and Generic Skills
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- produce coherent and well-argued written work
- work confidently with library, archival and virtual sources as appropriate
We will discuss the relationship between German history and Jewish history and ask how both can be integrated. We learn about the Jewish enlightenment, the Haskalah, and follow the path to emancipation and the Jewish responses to modernity. We study the emerging dilemmas of Jewish identity in imperial Germany and World War I, the Jewish response to the radicalisation of Anti-Semitism, and the short-lived but intense hopes connected to the Weimar Republic. During the module the following questions will be addressed:
Did Jews consider themselves primarily Jewish or German?
How were they perceived by others?
What was their relationship with non-Jewish Germans, as individuals and communities?
In answering these questions you will engage with a wide range of primary sources including documents, testimonies, literature, and films. You will also debate the diverging scholarly approaches to this history, which since 1945 has often been read through the lens of the Holocaust.
Learning and Teaching
Teaching and learning methods
Teaching methods include:
Short introductory lectures which may include some group work/participation
Seminars focusing on the detailed reading and analysis of primary sources – these could be texts, images or objects
Learning activities include:
In depth analysis of primary sources
Preparatory reading and individual study
Individual participation in seminars, group work and short presentations on seminar themes
Discussion in seminars will help you to develop your ideas on a topic, to analyse a range of source material and to articulate a critical argument.
|Preparation for scheduled sessions||36|
|Completion of assessment task||72|
|Wider reading or practice||17|
|Total study time||150|
Resources & Reading list
Ritchie Robertson (ed.) (1999). The German-Jewish Dialogue.
Marion Kaplan (1991). The Making of the Jewish Middle Class: Women, Family, and Identity in Imperial Germany.
Shulamit Volkov (2006). Germans, Jews, and Antisemites: Trials in Emancipation.
Steven E. Aschheim (1982). Brothers and Strangers: The East European Jew in German and German Jewish Consciousness, 1800-1923.
Till van Rahden (2008). Jews and other Germans: Civil Society, Religious Diversity, and Urban Politics in Breslau, 1860-1925.
Rainer Liedtke and David Rechter (eds.) (2003). Towards Normality? Acculturation and Modern German Jewry.
Sander Gilman and J. Zipes (eds.) (1997). Yale Companion to Jewish Writing and Thought in German Culture.
Peter Pulzer (1988). The Rise of Political Anti-Semitism in Germany and Austria.
Mordechai Breuer (1992). Modernity Within Tradition: The Social History of Orthodox Jewry in Imperial Germany.
Helmut Walser Smith (ed.) (2001). Protestants, Catholics and Jews in Germany, 1800-1914.
Amos Elon (2004). The Pity of It All: A Portrait of Jews in Germany 1743-1933.
Werner E. Mosse (1987). Jews in the German Economy: The German-Jewish-Economic Elite, 1820-1935.
Michael Brenner, Vicki Caron and Uri R. Kaufman (eds.) (2003). Jewish Emancipation Reconsidered: The French and German Models.
Michael A. Meyer et al (eds.) (1996-2000). German-Jewish History in Modern Times.
Werner Bergmann (2002). Exclusionary Violence: Antisemitic Riots in Modern German History.
Peter Pulzer (1992). Jews and the German State: The Political History of a Minority, 1848-1933.
Paul Mendes-Flohr and Jehuda Reinharz (eds.) (1995). The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History.
Jacob Katz (1978). Out of the Ghetto: The Social Background of Jewish Emancipation, 1770-1870.
Jehuda Reinharz and Walter Schatzberg (eds.) (1985). The Jewish Response to German Culture: From the Enlightenment to the Second World War.
Michael Brenner (1991). The Renaissance of Jewish Culture in Weimar Germany.
Paul Mendes-Flohr (1999). German Jews: A Dual Identity.
David Sorkin (1987). The Transformation of German Jewry, 1780-1840.
Neil Gregor, Nils Roemer, Mark Roseman (eds.) (2006). German History from the Margins.
George Mosse (1985). German Jews beyond Judaism.
Nils H. Roemer (2005). Jewish Scholarship and Culture in Nineteenth-Century Germany: Between History and Faith.
Michael Brenner and Derek J. Penslar (eds.) (1998). In Search of Jewish Community: Jewish Identities in Germany and Austria, 1918-1933.
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.
This is how we’ll assess you if you don’t meet the criteria to pass this module.
An internal repeat is where you take all of your modules again, including any you passed. An external repeat is where you only re-take the modules you failed.
Repeat type: Internal & External