Towards Normality? Patterns of Assimilation and Acculturation within German-speaking Jewry

Cambridge, 9-13 September 2001

Leo Baeck Institute London

After two successful conferences at Clare College, Cambridge, which have resulted in the conference volumes Second Chance (1988) and Two Nations (1997), published in our Schriftenreihe in 1991 and 1999, we held a third Cambridge conference from 9-13 September 2001. The conference volume Towards Normality? Acculturation and Modern German Jewry, dedicated to the memory of Werner E. Mosse, has been published in 2003 in the Schriftenreihe.

The conference was organised by
Professor Andreas Gotzmann, University of Erfurt
Dr Rainer Liedke, University of Giessen
Professor Peter Pulzer, University of Oxford
Professor Werner E. Mosse, LBI London
Dr David Rechter, University of Oxford

The assimilation and acculturation of German-speaking Jews from the Napoleonic Wars to the First World War are central topics of Jewish historiography. “Towards Normality?” was a stocktaking of the existing views and a platform for innovative ideas in this area of research. The conference aimed to show the whole spectrum of social and cultural change within German and Austrian Jewry in this formative period. Apart from the usual political, social and economic factors that played a role in the processes of assimilation, topics were presented which hitherto have not been central to the debate: the development of Jewish historiography, Jewish religion and rites as a topic of political debate, comparisons with Catholic strategies of assimilation or the relevance of gender in the “Germanisation of the Jews”.

Programme

Sunday, 9 September 2001

Prof Michael A. Meyer (International President of the Leo Baeck Institute) introduced by Prof Peter Pulzer, Chairman of the Leo Baeck Institute London

Monday, 10 November 2001

Session I
Chair: Dr Raphael Gross (Leo Baeck Institute London)

Prof Deborah Hertz (Sarah Lawrence College)
The Troubling Dialectic Between Reform and Conversion in Berlin, 1800-1833

Dr Simone Lässig (University of Dresden)
The Bourgeoisfication of the Synagoge: Cultural Capital for the Social Transformation of German Jewry in the Nineteenth Century?

Dr Ritchi Robertson (St Johns College London)
Comment

Session II
Chair: Prof Edward Timms (Centre for German-Jewish Studies, University of Sussex)

Dr Helga Embacher (University of Salzburg)
Salzburg 1867-1918: Jewish Identities in the Province

Dr Albert Lichtblau (University of Salzburg)
Vienna 1848-1918: A Heterogeneous Jewry

Eva Blimlinger MA (Historical Commission of Austria)
Comment

Session III
Chair: Prof John Grenville (Leo Baeck Institute London)

Dr Christian Wiese (University of Erfurt)
The Discussion about the Self-Perception and Academic Normality of the Wissenschaft des Judentums in Wilhelmine Germany

Prof Mitchell Hart (Florida International University)
Towards Abnormality: Assimilation and Degeneration in German-Jewish Social Thought

Prof Andreas Gotzmann (University of Erfurt)
Comment

Tuesday, 11 November 2001

Session IV
Chair: Lothar Kettenacker (German Historical Institute London)

Prof Christhard Hoffmann (University of Bergen)
The Construction of Jewish Modernity: The History of Acculturation in the 19th Century Germany

Dr Johannes Heil (Technical University Berlin)
Persecution as a Topic in Jewish Historiography on the Way to Modernity

Prof Ernst Schulin (University of Freiburg)
Comment

Session V
Chair: Prof Werner T. Angress

Dr Lisa Swartout (University of California, Berkeley)
Segregation or Integration? Honour and Manliness in Jewish Duelling Fraternities

Dr Gregory A. Caplan (Georgetown University)
Germanising the Jewish Male: Military Masculinity as the Final Stage of German-Jewish Acculturation

Prof Ute Frevert (University of Bielefeld)
Comment

Session VI
Chair: Prof Reinhard Rürup (Technical University Berlin)

Dr Eleonore Lappin (Institute for the Jews in Austria, Vienna)
A Poltical Factor: Discussion About the Position of the Jews in European Politics in the Monthly Der Jude

Dr Elisabeth Albanis (University of Leiden)
A “West-Östlicher Divan” from the Front: Moritz Goldstein beyond the Kunstwart debate

PD Dr Ulrich Sieg (University of Marburg)
Nothing more German than the German Jews? On the Integration of a Minority in a Society at War

Dr Jan Palmowski (King’s College London)
Comment

Wednesday, 12 November 2001

Session VII
Chair: Dr Rainer Liedke (University of Giessen)

Dr Tobias Brinkmann (Simon Dubnow Institute Leipzig)
Exceptionalism and Normality – The American Case: German Jews in the United States, 1840-1880

Dr Louise Hecht (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
The Ramshak-Chronicle and the Beginning of Modern Jewish Historiography in Bohemia

Prof Robert Liberles (Ben Gurion University, Beersheva)
Comment

Session VIII
Chair: Prof Peter Alter (University of Duisburg)

Prof Robin Judd (Ohio State University)
Jewish Political Behaviour and the Schächtfrage, 1880-1914

Prof Keith Pickus (Wichita State University)
Divergent Paths of National Integration and Acculturation: Jewish and Catholic Educational Strategies in Nineteenth-Century Hessen-Darmstadt

Dr Till van Rahden (University of Cologne)
Comment

Session IX
Chair: Prof Robert Wistrich (Hebrew University Jerusalem)

Dr Silvia Cresti (EUI Florence)
German and Austrian Jew’s Concepts of Culture, Nation and Volk, 1867/1871-1914

Prof Monica Richarz (Institute of the History of the German Jewry, Hamburg)
Non-Religious Jews and the Making of a Secular Jewish Identity

Dr Stephan Wendehorst (Simon Dubnow Institute, Leipzig)
Comment