Westjuden: Germany and German Jews through East European Eyes

  • John D. Klier
Part of the Studies in Russia and East Europe book series (SREE)

Abstract

An enormous literature has been devoted to the so-called Ostjuden, the traditionalist East European Jews who increasingly moved into the heartland of the German Reich in the period after 1871.2 A highly visible target for German antisemites, their presence also produced feelings of extreme ambivalence among ‘native’, acculturated German Jews. To the latter, the Ostjuden, easily identified by their garb, Yiddish speech, religious organization and practice, and ‘immigrant’ trades, called into question their own status and position as an integral part of German society. The Ostjuden existed to be pitied, assisted, scorned and very occasionally romanticized. The simplest way for German Jews to explain away the embarrassment caused by their co-religionists was to point to the backward social and economic conditions and obscurantism of the Russian Empire (or, alternatively, Old Poland), whose environment had produced the degenerative state of the Ostjuden.

Keywords

Dust Europe Triad Ghost Defend 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    See, most recently, Steven E. Aschheim, Brothers and Strangers: The East European Jew in German and German Jewish Consciousness,1800–1923, Madison, WI, 1982.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • John D. Klier

There are no affiliations available

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