How Jews Became Germans: The History of Conversion and Assimilation in Berlin

How Jews Became Germans: The History of Conversion and Assimilation in Berlin

by Deborah Hertz
     
 

When the Nazis came to power and created a racial state in the 1930s, an urgent priority was to identify Jews who had converted to Christianity over the preceding centuries. With the help of church officials, a vast system of conversion and intermarriage records was created in Berlin, the country's premier Jewish city. Deborah Hertz's discovery of these… See more details below

Overview

When the Nazis came to power and created a racial state in the 1930s, an urgent priority was to identify Jews who had converted to Christianity over the preceding centuries. With the help of church officials, a vast system of conversion and intermarriage records was created in Berlin, the country's premier Jewish city. Deborah Hertz's discovery of these records, the "Judenkartei," was the first step on a long research journey that has led to this compelling book. Hertz begins the book in 1645, when the records begin, and traces generations of German Jewish families for the next two centuries. The book analyzes the statistics and explores letters, diaries, and other materials to understand in a far more nuanced way than ever before why Jews did or did not convert to Protestantism. Focusing on the stories of individual Jews in Berlin, particularly the charismatic salon woman Rahel Levin Varnhagen and her husband, Karl, a writer and diplomat, Hertz humanizes the stories, sets them in the context of Berlin's evolving society, and connects them to the broad sweep of European history.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300151640
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
03/10/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
290
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

1 The Black Notebooks 1

2 The Era of Religious Conversion, 1645-1770 17

3 The Coming of Age of Rahel Levin, 1771-1810 43

4 Emancipation and War, 1811-1813 77

5 High Culture Families and Public Satire, 1814-1819 124

6 The Entrance Ticket to European Civilization, 1820-1833 165

Epilogue 217

Appendix 223

Notes 227

Index 266

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