German Culture, Jewish Culture: Interwovenness and Demarcation in the Nineteenth Century


Legal equality, social advancement, German culture—these were decisive terms for the history of Jewish Germans in the nineteenth century. When it came to culture, however, it was less a matter of integration or adaptation than of joint processes. Jewish Germans did their share to shape and create the German culture of the nineteenth century. They also adapted some of the religious traditions of Judaism to the prevailing aesthetic norms. But Jewish Germans became subject to mounting opposition at the precise moment when cultural differences became imperceptible. Just as magnificent new synagogues sprang up, offering material evidence of Jewish belonging, and as the German-Jewish milieu began making higher education possible for women, bestsellers were published that asserted an alleged difference between Jews and Germans. Material artifacts propelled anti-Jewish stereotypes and made images of Jewish emigration to Palestine commonplace.


  1. < Being German Abroad, Germans Abroad
  2. Debating National Interest in the Expulsions of Poles and Jews, 1885-86 >