The identities of many Eastern European and German Jews who immigrated to Eretz Israel between the 1880s and the foundation of the Israeli state in 1948 oscillated between their roots and identification with the new Zionist project. This lecture explores how immigrants expressed social, cultural and political belonging through clothing and, focusing on gender and visual materials, offers fresh perspectives on how clothing became fashion, or ‘anti-fashion’, and to what extent a consensual mode of dress emerged. It also explores how clothing habits of Arab people and changing Ottoman and British occupying authorities influenced ‘Jewish’ fashion.
Svenja Bethke is a Lecturer in Modern European History and the former Deputy Director of the Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Leicester. Her research interests include the Holocaust, legal history, the history of modern Palestine/Israel, visual culture and fashion history. She is currently a visiting Marie Curie Fellow at the Abraham Harman Institute for Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University Jerusalem for her project on ‘Clothing, Fashion and Nation Building in Eretz Israel’.