In 1898, the Dreyfus Affair plunged French society into a yearlong frenzy. In Paris and provincial villages throughout the country, angry crowds paraded through the streets, threatening to attack Jews and destroy Jewish-owned businesses. Anger about the imagined power of Jewish capital, as well as fears of treason and racial degeneration, made anti-Semitism a convenient banner behind which social and political factions could fall in line. Anti-Semitic feelings that had been simmering in France for decades came boiling to the surface.
Here Pierre Birnbaum guides readers on a tour of France during this crisis. He shows that in the midst of violence, Jewish citizens bravely and effectively defended themselves and were aided by a police force determined to maintain order. Birnbaum paints a vivid portrait of French Jewish culture at the time and explains why the French state remained strong in this time of widespread unrest.
The ritual murder accusation is one of a series of myths that fall under the label blood libel, and describes the medieval legend that Jews require Christian blood for obscure religious purposes and are capable of committing murder to obtain it. This malicious myth continues to have an explosive afterlife in the public sphere, where Sarah Palin's 2011 gaffe is only the latest reminder of its power to excite controversy.Blood Libel is the first book-length study to analyze the recent historiography of the ritual murder accusation and to consider these debates in the context of intellectual and cultural history as well as methodology. Hannah R. Johnson articulates how ethics shapes methodological decisions in the study of the accusation and how questions about methodology, in turn, pose ethical problems of interpretation and understanding. Examining recent debates over the scholarship of historians such as Gavin Langmuir, Israel Yuval, and Ariel Toaff, Johnson argues that these discussions highlight an ongoing paradigm shift that seeks to reimagine questions of responsibility by deliberately refraining from a discourse of moral judgment and blame in favor of an emphasis on historical contingencies and hostile intergroup dynamics.
Colonialism, Antisemitism, and Germans of Jewish Descent in Imperial Germany examines the relationship between the colonial and antisemitic movements of modern Germany from 1871 to 1918, examining the complicated ways in which German antisemitism and colonialism fed off of and into each other in the decades before the First World War. Author Christian S. Davis studies the significant involvement with and investment in German colonialism by the major antisemitic political parties and extra-parliamentary organizations of the day, while also investigating the prominent participation in the colonial movement of Jews and Germans of Jewish descent and their tense relationship with procolonial antisemites.
Working from the premise that the rise and propagation of racial antisemitism in late-nineteenth-century Germany cannot be separated from the context of colonial empire, Colonialism, Antisemitism, and Germans of Jewish Descent in Imperial Germany is the first work to study the dynamic and evolving interrelationship of the colonial and antisemitic movements of the Kaiserreich era. It shows how individuals and organizations who originated what would later become the ideological core of National Socialism---racial antisemitism---both influenced and perceived the development of a German colonial empire predicated on racial subjugation. It also examines how colonialism affected the contemporaneous German antisemitic movement, dividing it over whether participation in the nationalist project of empire building could furnish patriotic credentials to even Germans of Jewish descent. The book builds upon the recent upsurge of interest among historians of modern Germany in the domestic impact and character of German colonialism, and on the continuing fascination with the racialization of the German sense of self that became so important to German history in the twentieth century.
Of all the Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer’s Prioress’s Tale, in which a young schoolboy is murdered by Jews for singing a song in praise of the Virgin Mary, poses a problem to contemporary readers because of the antisemitism of the story it tells. Both the Tale’s antisemitism and its “Chaucerianism”—its fitness or aptness as part of the Chaucerian canon—are significant topics of reflection for modern readers, who worry about the Tale’s ethical implications as well as Chaucer’s own implications. Over the past fifty years, scholars have asked: Is the antisemitism in the tale that of the Prioress? Or of Chaucer the pilgrim? Or of Chaucer the author? Or, indeed, whether one ought to discuss antisemitism in the Prioress’s Tale at all, considering the potential anachronism of expecting medieval texts to conform to contemporary ideologies.
The Critics and the Prioress responds to a critical stalemate between the demands of ethics and the entailments of methodology. The book addresses key moments in criticism of the Prioress’s Tale—particularly those that stage an encounter between historicism and ethics—in order to interrogate these critical impasses while suggesting new modes for future encounters. It is an effort to identify, engage, and reframe some significant—and perennially repeated—arguments staked out in this criticism, such as the roles of gender, aesthetics, source studies, and the appropriate relationship between ethics and historicism.
The Critics and the Prioress will be an essential resource for Chaucer scholars researching as well as teaching the Prioress’s Tale. Scholars and students of Middle English literature and medieval culture more generally will also be interested in this book’s rigorous analysis of contemporary scholarly approaches to expressions of antisemitism in Chaucer’s England.
For some, Richard Wagner is infamous as the favorite composer of Hitler, who seems to have admired Wagner as an early exponent of his own racist ideology and worldview. Impressed by this assumption victims of Hitler have also associated Wagner and his music with Nazism to such an extent that in Israel a ban on public performance of that music is upheld to this day. Jacob Katz, a scholar of international repute, approaches the highly charged issue of Richard Wagner’s anti-Semitism with the tools of a critical historian, asking two central questions: What role did anti-Semitism play in the life and work of Richard Wagner? And how did his anti-Jewish thoughts and sentiments contribute to the development of political anti-Semitism and Nazism? In this first comprehensive and judicious treatment of Wagner’s anti-Semitism, Katz analyzes the composer’s attitudes in their own time and place and in the context of Wagner’s life and aspirations. He traces Wagner’s feelings toward Jews chronologically, showing that the composer was ultimately obsessed by a deep-seated Judeophobia generated by conflict with his Jewish mentors and competitors. But he argues against reading the later emergence of Nazism back into Wagner’s life and work. While not absolving Wagner from responsibility for his views, Katz contends that contemporary Jews have paradoxically and uncritically adopted the Nazis’ assumptions about Wagner. Katz argues that Wagner’s music is untainted by his anti-Semitism, that there is, in fact, very little in Wagner’s art that, without forced speculation, can be related to his racist views.
Jeffrey Herf Harvard University Press, 1997 Library of Congress D804.3.H474 1997 | Dewey Decimal 940.53180943
A significant new look at the legacy of the Nazi regime, this book exposes the workings of past beliefs and political interests on how--and how differently--the two Germanys have recalled the crimes of Nazism, from the anti-Nazi emigration of the 1930s through the establishment of a day of remembrance for the victims of National Socialism in 1996.
Whereas a large body of scholarly literature exists on German antisemitism in general, pre-Nazi histories of violence against Jews in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have been widely neglected. This coherent and well-focused collection of essays is the first comprehensive work in any language dealing with antisemitic pogroms in modern German history from the Hep Hep riots of 1819 to the Reichskristallnacht.
In the Western mind, outbursts of collective violence against Jews have been largely identified with Tzarist Russia and the medieval crusade massacres. However, by narrating pogroms as archaic, historians have overlooked their significance to the development of modern antisemitism in Germany and Europe as well as the reasons for its continued presence in the contemporary world. The evidence presented in this volume suggests that acts of exclusionary violence were not dead-end streets of futile protest. Rather, they were rehearsals for new kinds of destruction.
The integration of various perspectives and the close cooperation of scholars from different disciplines is a major achievement of this volume, which will be of interest to advanced undergraduates, graduate students, academics and the general reader in a variety of disciplines, including German studies, Jewish studies, Holocaust and genocide studies, ethnic relations, history, and the social sciences in general.
Christhard Hoffmann is Associate Professor of Modern European History, University of Bergen, Norway. Werner Bergmann is Professor of Research on Antisemitism, Technical University, Berlin, Germany. Helmut W. Smith is Associate Professor of History, Vanderbilt University.
Exclusive Revolutionaries traces the development of German liberal and later nationalist political culture in imperial Austria from the revolutions of 1848 to the outbreak of World War I. Drawing on archival research from several regions of the former Habsburg Monarchy, Pieter M. Judson provides a clear, chronological political narrative that demonstrates the continuing influence of liberal ideas and values well after the defeat of liberal political parties.
In the mid-1800s, Judson argues, German liberal activists built an effective political movement whose ideology was rooted in its members' social experience in voluntary associations. The liberals were committed to the creation of a market economy based on personal property rights, to a society based on the values of individual self-improvement and personal respectability, and to a fundamental distinction between active and passive citizenship. They were determined to achieve a harmonious community of free peoples, in which personal enlightenment would bring an end to the divisive influence of localism, ethnicity, religion, and feudal social hierarchy.
Yet after 1880, as newer, more radical mass political movements threatened their political fortunes, the liberals forged a German nationalist politics based increasingly on ethnic identity. Their emphasis on national identity became a way for former liberals to hold together an increasingly diverse coalition of German speakers who had little in common outside of their shared language. Only "Germanness" bridged the dangerous gulf between social classes. This nationalism helped the liberals to compete for power in the multinational, multicultural Austrian Empire down to 1914, but it left a legacy of nationalist extremism and tolerance of anti-Semitism that continues to influence political cultures in the former lands of the Habsburg Monarchy today.
Exclusive Revolutionaries will interest social and cultural historians of nineteenth-century Europe, and of Germany and Central Europe in particular.
Pieter M. Judson is Professor of History, Swarthmore College. He is the recipient of a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.
In this provocative book, Benjamin Ginsberg examines the cycle of Jewish success and anti-Semitic attack throughout the history of the Diaspora, with a concentrated focus on the "special case" of America. For Ginsberg, the essential issue is not anti-Jewish feeling, but the conditions under which such sentiment is likely to be used in the political arena. The Fatal Embrace identifies the political dynamics that, historically, have set the stage for the persecution of Jews.
The Flood: A Novel
Carol Ascher Northwestern University Press, 1996 Library of Congress PS3551.S32F5 1996 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Nine-year-old Eva Hoffman is the daughter of Austrian Jewish refugees who have found a precarious safety among a small community of European exiles attached to a psychoanalytic hospital in Topeka, Kansas. It is 1951, and the landmark school desegregation case, Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, is being tried in the local court. As the rising river inundates the town, the Hoffmans open their home to refugees from the flood, and Eva learns the complexities of prejudice—and courage—both within and outside her family.
In German Idealism and the Jew, Michael Mack uncovers the deep roots of anti-Semitism in the German philosophical tradition. While many have read German anti-Semitism as a reaction against Enlightenment philosophy, Mack instead contends that the redefinition of the Jews as irrational, oriental Others forms the very cornerstone of German idealism, including Kant's conception of universal reason.
Offering the first analytical account of the connection between anti-Semitism and philosophy, Mack begins his exploration by showing how the fundamental thinkers in the German idealist tradition—Kant, Hegel, and, through them, Feuerbach and Wagner—argued that the human world should perform and enact the promises held out by a conception of an otherworldly heaven. But their respective philosophies all ran aground on the belief that the worldly proved incapable of transforming itself into this otherworldly ideal. To reconcile this incommensurability, Mack argues, philosophers created a construction of Jews as symbolic of the "worldliness" that hindered the development of a body politic and that served as a foil to Kantian autonomy and rationality.
In the second part, Mack examines how Moses Mendelssohn, Heinrich Heine, Franz Rosenzweig, and Freud, among others, grappled with being both German and Jewish. Each thinker accepted the philosophies of Kant and Hegel, in varying degrees, while simultaneously critiquing anti-Semitism in order to develop the modern Jewish notion of what it meant to be enlightened—a concept that differed substantially from that of Kant, Hegel, Feuerbach, and Wagner. By speaking the unspoken in German philosophy, this book profoundly reshapes our understanding of it.
The poignant story of Holocaust survivors who returned to their hometown in Poland and tried to pick up the pieces of a shattered world.
In the immediate aftermath of World War II, the lives of Polish Jews were marked by violence and emigration. But some of those who had survived the Nazi genocide returned to their hometowns and tried to start their lives anew. Lukasz Krzyzanowski recounts the story of this largely forgotten group of Holocaust survivors. Focusing on Radom, an industrial city about sixty miles south of Warsaw, he tells the story of what happened throughout provincial Poland as returnees faced new struggles along with massive political, social, and legal change.
Non-Jewish locals mostly viewed the survivors with contempt and hostility. Many Jews left immediately, escaping anti-Semitic violence inflicted by new communist authorities and ordinary Poles. Those who stayed created a small, isolated community. Amid the devastation of Poland, recurring violence, and bureaucratic hurdles, they tried to start over. They attempted to rebuild local Jewish life, recover their homes and workplaces, and reclaim property appropriated by non-Jewish Poles or the state. At times they turned on their own. Krzyzanowski recounts stories of Jewish gangs bent on depriving returnees of their prewar possessions and of survivors shunned for their wartime conduct.
The experiences of returning Jews provide important insights into the dynamics of post-genocide recovery. Drawing on a rare collection of documents—including the postwar Radom Jewish Committee records, which were discovered by the secret police in 1974—Ghost Citizens is the moving story of Holocaust survivors and their struggle to restore their lives in a place that was no longer home.
Globalizing Race explores how intersections between French antisemitism and imperialism shaped the development of European racial thought. Ranging from the African misadventures of the antisemitic Marquis de Morès to the Parisian novels and newspapers of late nineteenth-century professional antisemites, Dorian Bell argues that France’s colonial expansion helped antisemitism take its modern, racializing form—and that, conversely, antisemitism influenced the elaboration of the imperial project itself.
Globalizing Race radiates from France to place authors like Guy de Maupassant and Émile Zola into sustained relation with thinkers from across the ideological spectrum, including Hannah Arendt, Friedrich Nietzsche, Frantz Fanon, Karl Marx, Max Horkheimer, and Theodor Adorno. Engaging with what has been called the “spatial turn” in social theory, the book offers new tools for thinking about how racisms interact across space and time. Among these is what Bell calls racial scalarity. Race, Bell argues, did not just become globalized when European racism and antisemitism accompanied imperial penetration into the farthest reaches of the world. Rather, race became most thoroughly global as a method for constructing and negotiating the different scales (national, global, etc.) necessary for the development of imperial capitalism.
As France, Europe, and the world confront a rising tide of Islamophobia, Globalizing Race also brings into fascinating focus how present-day French responses to Muslim antisemitism hark back to older, problematic modes of representing the European colonial periphery.
In 2014, the first three volumes of Heidegger’s Black Notebooks—the personal and philosophical notebooks that he kept during the war years—were published in Germany. These notebooks provide the first textual evidence of anti-Semitism in Heidegger’s philosophy, not simply in passing remarks, but as incorporated into his philosophical and political thinking itself. In Heidegger and the Myth of a Jewish World Conspiracy, Peter Trawny, the editor of those notebooks, offers the first evaluation of Heidegger’s philosophical project in light of the Black Notebooks.
While Heidegger’s affiliation with National Socialism is well known, the anti-Semitic dimension of that engagement could not be fully told until now. Trawny traces Heidegger’s development of a grand “narrative” of the history of being, the “being-historical thinking” at the center of Heidegger’s work after Being and Time. Two of the protagonists of this narrative are well known to Heidegger’s readers: the Greeks and the Germans. The world-historical antagonist of this narrative, however, has remained hitherto undisclosed: the Jews, or, more specifically, “world Judaism.” As Trawny shows, world Judaism emerges as a racialized, destructive, and technological threat to the German homeland, indeed, to any homeland whatsoever. Trawny pinpoints recurrent, anti-Semitic themes in the Notebooks, including Heidegger’s adoption of crude cultural stereotypes, his assigning of racial reasons to philosophical decisions (even undermining his Jewish teacher, Edmund Husserl), his endorsement of a Jewish “world conspiracy,” and his first published remarks on the extermination camps and gas chambers (under the troubling aegis of a Jewish “self-annihilation”). Trawny concludes with a thoughtful meditation on how Heidegger’s achievements might still be valued despite these horrifying facets. Unflinching and systematic, this is one of the most important assessments of one of the most important philosophers in our history.
Silence has many causes: shame, embarrassment, ignorance, a desire to protect. The silence that has surrounded the atrocities committed against the Jewish population of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union during World War II is particularly remarkable given the scholarly and popular interest in the war. It, too, has many causes—of which antisemitism, the most striking, is only one. When, on July 10, 1941, in the wake of the German invasion of the Soviet Union, local residents enflamed by Nazi propaganda murdered the entire Jewish population of Jedwabne, Poland, the ferocity of the attack horrified their fellow Poles. The denial of Polish involvement in the massacre lasted for decades.
Since its founding, the journal Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History has led the way in exploring the East European and Soviet experience of the Holocaust. This volume combines revised articles from the journal and previously unpublished pieces to highlight the complex interactions of prejudice, power, and publicity. It offers a probing examination of the complicity of local populations in the mass murder of Jews perpetrated in areas such as Poland, Ukraine, Bessarabia, and northern Bukovina and analyzes Soviet responses to the Holocaust.
Based on Soviet commission reports, news media, and other archives, the contributors examine the factors that led certain local residents to participate in the extermination of their Jewish neighbors; the interaction of Nazi occupation regimes with various sectors of the local population; the ambiguities of Soviet press coverage, which at times reported and at times suppressed information about persecution specifically directed at the Jews; the extraordinary Soviet efforts to document and prosecute Nazi crimes and the way in which the Soviet state’s agenda informed that effort; and the lingering effects of silence about the true impact of the Holocaust on public memory and state responses.
This book is the first comprehensive study of postwar antisemitism in the Netherlands. It focuses on the way stereotypes are passed on from one decade to the next, as reflected in public debates, the mass media, protests and commemorations, and everyday interactions. The Holocaust, Israel and 'the Jew' explores the ways in which old stories and phrases relating to 'the stereotypical Jew' are recycled and modified for new uses, linking the antisemitism of the early postwar years to its enduring manifestations in today's world.The Dutch case is interesting because of the apparent contrast between the Netherlands' famous tradition of tolerance and the large numbers of Jews who were deported and murdered in the Second World War. The book sheds light on the dark side of this so-called 'Dutch paradox,' in manifestations of aversion and guilt after 1945. In this context, the abusive taunt 'They forgot to gas you' can be seen as the first radical expression of postwar antisemitism as well as an indication of how the Holocaust came to be turned against the Jews. The identification of 'the Jew' with the gas chamber spread from the streets to football stadiums, and from verbal abuse to pamphlet and protest. The slogan 'Hamas, Hamas all the Jews to the gas' indicates that Israel became a second marker of postwar antisemitism.The chapters cover themes including soccer-related antisemitism, Jewish responses, philosemitism, antisemitism in Dutch-Moroccan and Dutch- Turkish communities, contentious acts of remembrance, the neo-Nazi tradition, and the legacy of Theo van Gogh. The book concludes with a lengthy epilogue on 'the Jew' in the politics of the radical right, the attacks in Paris in 2015, and the refugee crisis. The stereotype of 'the Jew' appears to be transferable to other minorities.Also available as paperback!
The nineteenth- and twentieth-century relationship between European culture, German history, and the Jewish experience produced some of the West’s most powerful and enduring intellectual creations—and, perhaps in subtly paradoxical and interrelated ways, our century’s darkest genocidal moments. In Times of Crisis explores the flashpoints of this vexed relationship, mapping the coordinates of a complex triangular encounter of immense historical import.
In essays that range from the question of Nietzsche’s legacy to the controversy over Daniel Goldhagen’s Hitler’s Willing Executioners, the distinguished historian Steven E. Aschheim presents this encounter as an ongoing dialogue between two evolving cultural identities. He touches on past dimensions of this exchange (such as the politics of Weimar Germany) and on present dilemmas of grasping and representing it (such as the Israeli discourse on the Holocaust). His work inevitably traces the roots and ramifications of Nazism but at the same time brings into focus historical circumstances and contemporary issues often overshadowed or distorted by the Holocaust.
These essays reveal the ubiquitous charged inscriptions of Nazi genocide within our own culture and illuminate the projects of some later thinkers and historians—from Hannah Arendt to George Mosse to Saul Friedlander—who have wrestled with its problematics and sought to capture its essence. From the broadly historical to the personal, from the politics of Weimar Germany to the experience of growing up German Jewish in South Africa, the essays expand our understanding of German Jewish history in particular, but also of historical processes in general.
Jehuda Reinharz, born in Haifa in 1944, spent his childhood in Israel and his adolescence in Germany, and moved with his family to the United States when he was seventeen. These three diverse geographies and the experiences they engendered shaped his formative years and the future of a prolific scholar who devoted his life to the study of the central role of leadership as Jews faced the challenges of emancipation and integration in Germany, the rise of modern antisemitism, the formation of Zionist youth culture and politics, and the transformation of Jewish politics in Palestine and the State of Israel. In this volume, eminent scholars in their respective fields extend the lines of Reinharz’s research interests and personal activism by focusing on the ideological, political, and scholarly contributions of a diverse range of individuals in Jewish history. Essays are clustered around five central themes: ideology and politics; statecraft; intellectual, social and cultural spheres; witnessing history; and in the academy. This volume offers a panoramic view of modern Jewish history through engaging essays that celebrate Reinharz’s rich contribution as a path-breaking and prolific scholar, teacher, and leader in the academy and beyond.
Baker, Cynthia M Rutgers University Press, 2017 Library of Congress DS143.B25 2017 | Dewey Decimal 305.8924
Jew. The word possesses an uncanny power to provoke and unsettle. For millennia, Jew has signified the consummate Other, a persistent fly in the ointment of Western civilization’s grand narratives and cultural projects. Only very recently, however, has Jew been reclaimed as a term of self-identification and pride.
With these insights as a point of departure, this book offers a wide-ranging exploration of the key word Jew—a term that lies not only at the heart of Jewish experience, but indeed at the core of Western civilization. Examining scholarly debates about the origins and early meanings of Jew, Cynthia M. Baker interrogates categories like “ethnicity,” “race,” and “religion” that inevitably feature in attempts to define the word. Tracing the term’s evolution, she also illuminates its many contradictions, revealing how Jew has served as a marker of materialism and intellectualism, socialism and capitalism, worldly cosmopolitanism and clannish parochialism, chosen status, and accursed stigma.
Baker proceeds to explore the complex challenges that attend the modern appropriation of Jew as a term of self-identification, with forays into Yiddish language and culture, as well as meditations on Jew-as-identity by contemporary public intellectuals. Finally, by tracing the phrase new Jews through a range of contexts—including the early Zionist movement, current debates about Muslim immigration to Europe, and recent sociological studies in the United States—the book provides a glimpse of what the word Jew is coming to mean in an era of Internet cultures, genetic sequencing, precarious nationalisms, and proliferating identities.
The Jews in Polish Culture
Aleksander Hertz Northwestern University Press, 1988 Library of Congress DS135.P6H413 1988 | Dewey Decimal 943.8004924
"A richly perceptive sociological consideration of the Jewish community as a caste in 19th- and early-20th-century Poland... A book that should be part of any study of modern Polish culture or Diaspora Jewry." --Kirkus Reviews
Scholarly, objective, insightful, and analytical, Jews, Turks, and Other Strangers studies the causes of prejudice against Jews, foreign workers, refugees, and emigrant Germans in contemporary Germany. Using survey material and quantitative analyses, Legge convincingly challenges the notion that German xenophobia is rooted in economic causes. Instead, he sees a more complex foundation for German prejudice, particularly in a reunified Germany where perceptions of the "other" sometimes vary widely between east and west, a product of a traditional racism rooted in the German past. By clarifying the foundations of xenophobia in a new German state, Legge offers a clear and disturbing picture of a conflicted country and a prejudice that not only affects Jews but also fuels a larger, anti-foreign sentiment.
Alan E Steinweis Harvard University Press, 2009 Library of Congress DS134.255.S74 2009 | Dewey Decimal 940.531842
Kristallnacht revealed to the world the intent and extent of Nazi Judeophobia. However, it was seen essentially as the work of the Nazi leadership. Now, Alan Steinweis counters that view in his vision of Kristallnacht as a veritable pogrom - a popular cathartic convulsion of anti-Semitic violence that was manipulated from above but executed from below by large numbers of ordinary Germans rioting in the streets, heckling and taunting Jews, cheering Stormtroopers' hostility, and looting Jewish property on a massive scale.
The scale and the depth of Nazi brutality seem to defy understanding. What could drive people to fight, kill, and destroy with such ruthless ambition? Observers and historians have offered countless explanations since the 1930s. According to Johann Chapoutot, we need to understand better how the Nazis explained it themselves. We need a clearer view, in particular, of how they were steeped in and spread the idea that history gave them no choice: it was either kill or die.
Chapoutot, one of France’s leading historians, spent years immersing himself in the texts and images that reflected and shaped the mental world of Nazi ideologues, and that the Nazis disseminated to the German public. The party had no official ur-text of ideology, values, and history. But a clear narrative emerges from the myriad works of intellectuals, apparatchiks, journalists, and movie-makers that Chapoutot explores.
The story went like this: In the ancient world, the Nordic-German race lived in harmony with the laws of nature. But since Late Antiquity, corrupt foreign norms and values—Jewish values in particular—had alienated Germany from itself and from all that was natural. The time had come, under the Nazis, to return to the fundamental law of blood. Germany must fight, conquer, and procreate, or perish. History did not concern itself with right and wrong, only brute necessity. A remarkable work of scholarship and insight, The Law of Blood recreates the chilling ideas and outlook that would cost millions their lives.
Legacies of Anti-Semitism in France was first published in 1983. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
These four essays—on Blanchot, Lacan, Giraudoux, and Gide—have as their focus the barely imaginable coherence which the writings of four major contemporaries take on when read in the light of France's pre-World War II heritage of anti-Jewish thought. As the essays delve into such crucial topics as the inaugural silence in Blanchot's sense of literature, the "style" of Lacan, Giraudoux's relation to Racine, and the sexual politics of Gide, they engage a realm that at times seems—or seemed—anti-Semitic in its essence. Negotiating the complex ramifications of a lost tradition and the structure of its obliteration, Jeffrey Mehlman, in his conclusion, speculates on the emblematic value of Walter Benjamin's perpetually deferred "journey to Palestine via France" and its import for textual interpretation.
A French version of Mehlman's essay on Blanchot, published in Tel quel,spurred an impassioned journalistic debate in Paris and London. Broadening still further the context of that inquiry, Legacies will prove a source of provocation and insight to all who are interested in the intellectual history of contemporary France.
This poignant and humorous collection of stories offers a fresh perspective on current issues such as homosexuality and anti-Semitism and lends a unique voice to those experiencing growing pains and self-discovery. Newman’s readers accompany her quirky Jewish characters through all types of experiences from an initial lesbian sexual encounter to being sequestered in a college apartment after paranoid Holocaust flashbacks. In these stories characters anxiously discover their lesbian identities while beginning to understand, and finally to embrace, their Jewish heritage. The title story, "A Letter to Harvey Milk," was the second place finalist in the Raymond Carver Short Story Competition.
Nationalizing a Borderland enriches understanding of ethnic conflict by examining the factors in the Austro-Hungarian province of Galicia between 1914 and 1920 that led to the rise of xenophobic nationalism and to the ethnocide of World War II. From Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, and Austrian archival sources, Prusin argues that while the violence inflicted upon Jews during that period may at first seem irrational and indiscriminate, a closer examination reveals that it was generated by traditional negative views of Jews and by the security concerns of the Russian and Polish militaries in the front zone. This violence, Prusin contends, served as a means of reshaping the socio-economic and political space of the province by diminishing Jewish cultural and economic influence.
On Interpretive Conflict
John Frow University of Chicago Press, 2019 Library of Congress BD241.F769 2019 | Dewey Decimal 303.3
“Interpretation” is a term that encompasses both the most esoteric and the most fundamental activities of our lives, from analyzing medical images to the million ways we perceive other people’s actions. Today, we also leave interpretation to the likes of web cookies, social media algorithms, and automated markets. But as John Frow shows in this thoughtfully argued book, there is much yet to do in clarifying how we understand the social organization of interpretation.
On Interpretive Conflict delves into four case studies where sharply different sets of values come into play—gun control, anti-Semitism, the religious force of images, and climate change. In each case, Frow lays out the way these controversies unfold within interpretive regimes that establish what counts as an interpretable object and the protocols of evidence and proof that should govern it. Whether applied to a Shakespeare play or a Supreme Court case, interpretation, he argues, is at once rule-governed and inherently conflictual. Ambitious and provocative, On Interpretive Conflict will attract readers from across the humanities and beyond.
Weimar Germany (1919–33) was an era of equal rights for women and minorities, but also of growing antisemitism and hostility toward the Jewish population. This led some Jews to want to pass or be perceived as non-Jews; yet there were still occasions when it was beneficial to be openly Jewish. Being visible as a Jew often involved appearing simultaneously non-Jewish and Jewish. Passing Illusions examines the constructs of German-Jewish visibility during the Weimar Republic and explores the controversial aspects of this identity—and the complex reasons many decided to conceal or reveal themselves as Jewish. Focusing on racial stereotypes, Kerry Wallach outlines the key elements of visibility, invisibility, and the ways Jewishness was detected and presented through a broad selection of historical sources including periodicals, personal memoirs, and archival documents, as well as cultural texts including works of fiction, anecdotes, images, advertisements, performances, and films. Twenty black-and-white illustrations (photographs, works of art, cartoons, advertisements, film stills) complement the book’s analysis of visual culture.
Felix Cohen, the lawyer and scholar who wrote TheHandbook of Federal Indian Law (1942), was enormously influential in American Indian policy making. Yet histories of the Indian New Deal, a 1934 program of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, neglect Cohen and instead focus on John Collier, commissioner of Indian affairs within the Department of the Interior (DOI). Alice Beck Kehoe examines why Cohen, who, as DOI assistant solicitor, wrote the legislation for the Indian Reorganization Act (1934) and Indian Claims Commission Act (1946), has received less attention. Even more neglected was the contribution that Cohen’s wife, Lucy Kramer Cohen, an anthropologist trained by Franz Boas, made to the process.
Kehoe argues that, due to anti-Semitism in 1930s America, Cohen could not speak for his legislation before Congress, and that Collier, an upper-class WASP, became the spokesman as well as the administrator. According to the author, historians of the Indian New Deal have not given due weight to Cohen’s work, nor have they recognized its foundation in his liberal secular Jewish culture. Both Felix and Lucy Cohen shared a belief in the moral duty of mitzvah, creating a commitment to the “true and the just” that was rooted in their Jewish intellectual and moral heritage, and their Social Democrat principles.
A Passion for the True and Just takes a fresh look at the Indian New Deal and the radical reversal of US Indian policies it caused, moving from ethnocide to retention of Indian homelands. Shifting attention to the Jewish tradition of moral obligation that served as a foundation for Felix and Lucy Kramer Cohen (and her professor Franz Boas), the book discusses Cohen’s landmark contributions to the principle of sovereignty that so significantly influenced American legal philosophy.
In his lifetime, French philosopher Jacques Maritain (1882–1973) achieved a reputation as both a leading Catholic intellectual and as an outspoken critic of antisemitism. Here historian Richard Francis Crane traces the development of Maritain’s opposition toward antisemitism and analyzes the Catholic appreciation of Judaism that animated his stance. Crane probes the writings and teachings of Maritain—from before, during, and after the Holocaust—and illuminates how his ideas altered Christian perceptions of Jews and Judaism during his lifetime and continue to do so today.
Pound in Purgatory, available now in paperback, overturns all previous explanations of Ezra Pound's anti-Semitism by uncovering its roots in economic and conspiracy theory. Leon Surette demonstrates that, contrary to popular opinion, Pound was not a life-long anti-Semite and consistently ignored or resisted anti-Semitic comments from his correspondents until after 1931.
From 1931 to 1945 Pound's poetry took a back seat to his activities as an economic reformer and propagandist for the corporate state. Pound believed he had a simple and practical solution for the economic woes of the world brought on by the Great Depression, and he became increasingly preoccupied with capturing political power for the economic reform he envisioned.
As the world spiraled toward war, Pound's program of economic reform foundered and he gradually succumbed to a paranoid belief in a Jewish conspiracy. Through an incisive analysis of Pound's correspondence and writings, much of it previously unexamined, Surette shows how this belief fostered the virulent anti-Semitism that pervades his work-–both poetry and prose-–from this time forward.
In 1922, voters in the newly created Republic of Poland democratically elected their first president, Gabriel Narutowicz. Because his supporters included a Jewish political party, an opposing faction of antisemites demanded his resignation. Within hours, bloody riots erupted in Warsaw, and within a week the president was assassinated. In the wake of these events, the radical right asserted that only "ethnic Poles" should rule the country, while the left silently capitulated to this demand.
As Paul Brykczynski tells this gripping story, he explores the complex role of antisemitism, nationalism, and violence in Polish politics between the two World Wars. Though focusing on Poland, the book sheds light on the rise of the antisemitic right in Europe and beyond, and on the impact of violence on political culture and discourse.
Antisemitism emerged toward the end of the nineteenth century as a powerful political movement with broad popular appeal. It promoted a vision of the world in which a closely-knit tribe called “the Jews” conspired to dominate the globe through control of international finance at the highest levels of commerce and money lending in the towns and villages. This tribe at the same time maneuvered to destroy the very capitalist system it was said to control through its devotion to the cause of revolution. It is easy to draw a straight line from this turn-of-the-century paranoid thinking to the murderous delusions of twentieth-century fascism. Yet the line was not straight.
Antisemitism as a political weapon did not stand unchallenged, even in Eastern Europe, where its consequences were particularly dire. In this region, Jewish leaders mobilized across national borders and in alliance with non-Jewish public figures on behalf of Jewish rights and in opposition to anti-Jewish violence. Antisemites were called to account and forced on the defensive. In Imperial and then Soviet Russia, in newly emerging Poland, and in aspiring Ukraine—notorious in the West as antisemitic hotbeds—antisemitism was sometimes a moral and political liability. These intriguing essays explore the reasons why, and they offer lessons from surprising places on how we can continue to fight antisemitism in our times.
Universal equality is a treasured political concept in France, but recent anxiety over the country’s Muslim minority has led to an emphasis on a new form of universalism, one promoting loyalty to the nation at the expense of all ethnic and religious affiliations. This timely book offers a fresh perspective on the debate by showing that French equality has not always demanded an erasure of differences. Through close and contextualized readings of the way that major novelists, philosophers, filmmakers, and political figures have struggled with the question of integrating Jews into French society, Maurice Samuels draws lessons about how the French have often understood the universal in relation to the particular.
Samuels demonstrates that Jewish difference has always been essential to the elaboration of French universalism, whether as its foil or as proof of its reach. He traces the development of this discourse through key moments in French history, from debates over granting Jews civil rights during the Revolution, through the Dreyfus Affair and Vichy, and up to the rise of a “new antisemitism” in recent years. By recovering the forgotten history of a more open, pluralistic form of French universalism, Samuels points toward new ways of moving beyond current ethnic and religious dilemmas and argues for a more inclusive view of what constitutes political discourse in France.
The Road to the Open
Arthur Schnitzler Northwestern University Press, 1991 Library of Congress PT2638.N5W413 1991 | Dewey Decimal 833.8
Turn-of-the-century Vienna was the scene of tremendous social and artistic upheaval. Arthur Schnitzler's novel The Road to the Open brilliantly captures the complex world of Freud, Mahler, Strauss, and Klimt, dealing masterfully with the basic issues of Austian anti-Semitism, the Viennese intellectual community, post-Wagnerian music, and the psychology of Vienna's middle class.
This innovative collection of essays on the upsurge of antisemitism across Europe in the decades around 1900 shifts the focus away from intellectuals and well-known incidents to less-familiar events, actors, and locations, including smaller towns and villages. This “from below” perspective offers a new look at a much-studied phenomenon: essays link provincial violence and antisemitic politics with regional, state, and even transnational trends. Featuring a diverse array of geographies that include Great Britain, France, Austria-Hungary, Romania, Italy, Greece, and the Russian Empire, the book demonstrates the complex interplay of many factors—economic, religious, political, and personal—that led people to attack their Jewish neighbors.
Medieval European culture encompassed Judaic, Christian, Muslim, and pagan societies, forming a complex matrix of religious belief, identity, and imagination. Through incisive readings of a broad range of medieval texts and informed by poststructuralist, queer, and feminist theories, The Spectral Jew traces the Jewish presence in Western Europe to show how the body, gender, and sexuality were at the root of the construction of medieval religious anxieties, inconsistencies, and instabilities.
Looking closely at how medieval Jewish and Christian identities are distinguished from each other, yet intimately intertwined, Kruger demonstrates how Jews were often corporealized in ways that posited them as inferior to Christians—archaic and incapable of change—even as the two mutually shaped each other. But such attempts to differentiate Jews and Christians were inevitably haunted by the knowledge that Christianity had emerged out of Judaism and was, in its own self-understanding, a community of converts.
Examining the points of contact between Christian and Jewish communities, Kruger discloses the profound paradox of the Jew as different in all ways, yet capable of converting to fully Christian status. He draws from central medieval authors and texts such as Peter Damian, Guibert of Nogent, the Barcelona Disputation, and the Hebrew chronicles of the First Crusade, as well as lesser known writings such as the disputations of Ceuta, Majorca, and Tortosa and the immensely popular Dialogues of Peter Alfonsi.
By putting the conversion narrative at the center of this analysis, Kruger exposes it as a disruption of categories rather than a smooth passage and reveals the prominent role Judaism played in the medieval Christian imagination.
Steven F. Kruger is professor of English and medieval studies at Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. He is author of several books and editor with Glenn Burger of Queering the Middle Ages (Minnesota, 2001).
Studying the Jew investigates those German scholars who forged an interdisciplinary field to create a comprehensive portrait of the Jew, fabricating an empirical basis for Nazi antisemitic policies. In a chilling story of academics who perverted their talents and distorted their research in support of persecution and genocide, Studying the Jew explores the intersection of ideology and scholarship, the state and the university, the intellectual and his motivations, to provide a new appreciation of the use and abuse of learning and the horrors perpetrated in the name of reason.
In a bold rethinking of the Hollywood blacklist and McCarthyite America, Joseph Litvak reveals a political regime that did not end with the 1950s or even with the Cold War: a regime of compulsory sycophancy, in which the good citizen is an informer, ready to denounce anyone who will not play the part of the earnest, patriotic American. While many scholars have noted the anti-Semitism underlying the House Un-American Activities Committee’s (HUAC’s) anti-Communism, Litvak draws on the work of Theodor W. Adorno, Hannah Arendt, Alain Badiou, and Max Horkheimer to show how the committee conflated Jewishness with what he calls “comic cosmopolitanism,” an intolerably seductive happiness, centered in Hollywood and New York, in show business and intellectual circles. He maintains that HUAC took the comic irreverence of the “uncooperative” witnesses as a crime against an American identity based on self-repudiation and the willingness to “name names.” Litvak proposes that sycophancy was (and continues to be) the price exacted for assimilation into mainstream American culture, not just for Jews, but also for homosexuals, immigrants, and other groups deemed threatening to American rectitude.
Litvak traces the outlines of comic cosmopolitanism in a series of performances in film and theater and before HUAC, performances by Jewish artists and intellectuals such as Zero Mostel, Judy Holliday, and Abraham Polonsky. At the same time, through an uncompromising analysis of work by informers including Jerome Robbins, Elia Kazan, and Budd Schulberg, he explains the triumph of a stoolpigeon culture that still thrives in the America of the early twenty-first century.
The publication of Martha B. Helfer’s The Word Unheard: Legacies of Anti-Semitism in German Literature and Culture marks a stunningly original new direction in the interpretation of canonical works of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century German literature.
Between 1749 and 1850—the formative years of the so-called Jewish Question in Germany—the emancipation debates over granting full civil and political rights to Jews provided the topical background against which all representations of Jewish characters and concerns in literary texts were read. Helfer focuses sharply on these debates and demonstrates through close readings of works by Gotthold Lessing, Friedrich Schiller, Achim von Arnim, Annette von Droste- Hülshoff, Adalbert Stifter, and Franz Grillparzer how disciplinary practices within the field of German studies have led to systematic blind spots in the scholarship on anti-Semitism to date.
While all the authors discussed are well known and justly celebrated, the particular works addressed represent an effective mix of enduring classics and less recognized, indeed often scandalously overlooked, texts whose consideration leads to a reevaluation of the author’s more mainstream oeuvre. Although some of the works and authors chosen have previously been noted for their anti-Semitic proclivities, the majority have not, and some have even been marked by German scholarship as philo-Semitic—a view that The Word Unheard undertakes not so much to refute as to complicate, and in the process to question not only these texts but also the deafness of the German scholarly tradition. With implications that reach into many disciplines, The Word Unheard will be a foundational study for all scholars of modern Germany.