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Courses / Modules / HIST2073 Jews in Germany before the Holocaust

Jews in Germany before the Holocaust

When you'll study it
Semester 1
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 5
Module lead
Noemie Duhaut
Academic year

Module overview

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