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The Jews of Germany: A Historical Portrait
 

The Jews of Germany: A Historical Portrait (Trade Paperback / Paperback, New edition)

By Gay, Ruth
Introduction by Gay, Peter

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Provides a panoramic overview of a now extinct culture: the 1500-year history of the Jews in Germany. Through texts, pictures and contemporary accounts it follows the German Jews from their first settlements on the Rhine in the fourth century to the destruction of the community i... read full description below.

ISBN 9780300060522
Barcode 9780300060522
Published 15 September 1994 by Yale University Press
Format Trade Paperback/Paperback, New edition
Alternate Format(s) View All (1 other possible title(s) available)
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Indent title (internationally sourced), usually ships 4-6 weeks

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Full details for this title

ISBN-13 9780300060522
ISBN-10 0300060521
Stock Available
Status Indent title (internationally sourced), usually ships 4-6 weeks
Publisher Yale University Press
Imprint Yale University Press
Publication Date 15 September 1994
International Publication Date 28 September 1994
Publication Country United States United States
Format Trade Paperback/Paperback, New edition
Edition New edition
Author(s) By Gay, Ruth
Introduction by Gay, Peter
Category European History
Social & Cultural History
Jewish studies
Number of Pages 328
Dimensions Width: 216mm
Height: 280mm
Spine: 17mm
Weight 764g
Interest Age General Audience
Reading Age General Audience
Library of Congress Jews
NBS Text History: Specific Subjects
ONIX Text College/higher education;Professional and scholarly;General/trade
Dewey Code 943.004924
Catalogue Code Not specified

Description of this Book

This book provides a panoramic overview of a now extinct culture: the 1500-year history of the Jews in Germany. Through texts, pictures and contemporary accounts, it follows the German Jews from their first settlements on the Rhine in the fourth century to the destruction of the community in World War II. Using both voices and images of the past the book reveals how the German Jews looked, how they lived, what they thought about, and what others thought of them. Ruth Gay's text, interwoven with passages from memoirs, letters, newspapers and other contemporary sources, shows how the German Jews organized their communities, created a new language (Yiddish), and built their special culture - all this under circumstances sometimes friendly but often hostile. The book explores the internal debates that agitated the community from medieval to modern times and analyzes how German Jewry emerged into the modern world. The earliest document in the book is a fourth-century decree by the Roman Emperor Constantine permitting Jews to hold office in Cologne. Among the last are letters from Betty Scholem in Berlin, writing during the Nazi years to her son in Gershom in Palestine. In between are accounts of a ninth-century Jewish merchant appointed by Charlemagne to a diplomatic mission to Baghdad, a 13th-century Jewish minnesinger, a 17th-century pogrom in Frankfurt in which gentiles helped to save their Jewish neighbours and the 19th-century innovation of department stores.

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Awards, Reviews & Star Ratings

US Review The history of Jews in Germany begins with the third century A.D., when a settlement at Cologne was paying taxes to the Emperor Constantine. It ends in 1943, the year Hitler declared the country Judenrein - free of Jews. By then, 170,000 - out of a community of half a million - had perished in the camps. The rest had emigrated. This fascinating account by Gay (Jews in America, 1965) covers not only the tragedies leading up to the ultimate one, but the triumphs of nearly two millennia. Above all, Gay describes the strategies of day-to-day survival for rich and for poor, Prussians and Alsatians, city and country folk, men and women - making dozens of useful distinctions overlooked in our standard simple notion of what it meant to be a German Jew. Yes, the Lateran Council in 1215 required that Jews wear distinctive headgear. But at the same time, the legends of King Arthur were circulating in rhymed Yiddish couplets. Yes, a few Jews were financial advisers to dukes and princes and, later, stunningly successful capitalists. But most lived in rural poverty as late as the 19th century, when 120,000 emigrated to the US. Gay's text is easy to follow, and the copious illustrations (277 b&w; ten color) include woodcuts, engravings, photographs of forgotten ancestors, and facsimile pages of historic documents. Almost every page offers some intriguing tidbit. A Jewish envoy of Charlemagne brought a white elephant back to Aachen from the Baghdad court of Caliph Haroun el Rashid. Twelve thousand Jewish soldiers fought and died for the Kaiser during WW I. A perfect bar mitzvah gift - and, one hopes, of interest to non-Jews too - Gay's book rescues a long and variegated history from the dark shadow of recent events. (Kirkus Reviews)

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