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The ferocity of the anti-semitic Nazi attack upon the Jews took many by surprise. This book tries to explain why. The history of the Jews in modern Germany is usually told as the tale of outstanding individuals, completely immersed in German society and disproportionately contributing to its culture. This book focuses, however, on the story of "ordinary" German Jews, concerned not merely with being like other Germans, i.e. "assimilated," but with upward social climbing and achievements as well. Although they did not seek to abandon Judaism, they tried to reformulate and reinvent it to fit their newly upgraded status. Thus, despite continuous antisemitism, Germany "seemed" to accept the Jews on these terms until World War II.Read more
- An original book on the pre-history of the Holocaust
- Takes a fresh look at the meaning of antisemitism
- Offers a personal perspective on a tragic chapter in modern history
Reviews & endorsements
"Volkov deftly illuminates the paradoxical social, demographic and cultural position of German Jews, in which social and occupational distinction blended with distinctiveness.... this volume provides a rewarding summary statement of Volkov's contributions to German-Jewish history and especially to German history."
-Shelley Baranowski, Department of History, University of Akron, H-GermanSee more reviews
"Volkov may be complemented for widening the aperture, and seeing the problem of Jews and antisemitism with a European, even transnational lens. The benefit of this approach is even more evident when she considers the Jews of Palestine, who despite their clear-sighted anguish about events in Nazi Germany in the 1930s nevertheless remained preoccupied with teh Zionist projects in Eretz Israel."
-Helmut Walser Smith, Vanderbilt University
"Volkov does an excellent job of sketching out the contradictions and conflicts that plagued the process of acculturation...The three sections of this book are outstanding essays."
Jay Howard Geller, Canadian Journal of History
"The essays collected in this book often have to do with German-Jewish reactions to antisemitism and with the complex dynamics of Jewish assimiliation....Volkov offers bold and penetrating answers to much-discussed questions....She conceptualizes and contextualizes the structure and meaning of antisemitism discourse deftly, setting up her arguments by identifying holes in the existing scholarship wit admirably clarity....abounds with fresh perspectives on large and difficult problems..."
--Paul Reitter, Ohio State University, German Quarterly Book Reviews
"This book contributes excellent reading for all course on Jewish-German history." -Sabine Von Mering, German Studies Review
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- Date Published: July 2006
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521609593
- length: 326 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
- weight: 0.44kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Part I. Interpreting the Danger-Signs:
1. Views from East and West
2. On self-hatred and self-criticism
3. Past shadows, present needs
Part II. Antisemitism as a Cultural Code:
4. Antisemitism Old and New
5. Functions and meaning
6. Norms and codes: two case studies
7. Comparing Germany with the French Republic
Part III. The Jewish Project of Modernity:
8. On minorities in the nation state
9. Climbing up the social ladder
10. Paradoxes of becoming alike
11. Jewish success in science
12. On the ambivalence of Bildung
13. Forces of dissimilation
14. Inventing tradition.
Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses
- Comparative Colloquium on Modern Jewish History
- Graduate Colloquium in Modern Jewish History
- History of the Jewish People
- NAZI HOLOCAUST
- Nazi Germany and the Holocaust
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