Mädchen aus Masuren: Ein Leben in Polen und Deutschland (German Edition)

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Under this onslaught, the old hybrids began to dissolve and, by the First World War, much of this world had disappeared. For his part, Eric Kurlander examines the relationship between ethnic minorities and German liberalism in two border regions—Schleswig-Holstein and Alsace-Lorraine. At the same time the regions under review show marked differences. At least until the First World War, Schleswig-Holstein saw a series of seemingly paradoxical alliances. Ninety-six percent of the inhabitants were German speakers. But the republican inheritance from their years under French revolutionary rule created a very distinct political identity among the Alsatians.

The more signs emerged after of illiberal tendencies within the German Reich, the more an Alsatian particularism emerged to preserve the republican-universalist spirit. Neil Gregor, Nils Roemer, and Mark Roseman 12 On one level, then, Smith and Kurlander remind us of the sheer ethnic, confessional, and linguistic diversity of nineteenth- and early twentiethcentury Germany and in particular of the ethnic complexities in the border regions.

But at the same time they offer with striking clarity an inversion of the once familiar picture of cosmopolitan liberals providing a veneer of openness and perspective to the narrow provincialism of ordinary folk in the provinces. Chu offers us the unfamiliar story of regionalism and division among the Germans of Poland after As he reminds us, the German minorities to be found in the newly reformed Polish state after the First World War had a threefold provenance.

In the west were the formerly Prussian border regions, whose German speakers had until been part of Prussia, later the German empire, and had been accustomed to being the dominant players in the region. This grouping could not adjust to its new-found subordination and in that respect its situation was similar to that of a second grouping, the German speakers in the south in Silesia and Galicia, formerly part of the Austrian empire. Finally, the east and northeast of Poland were home to ethnic Germans formerly under Russian rule, who hoped that the new Polish state would demonstrate a greater toleration of their ethnicity than had their Russian lords.

This was partly a question of demographics—as the German minority in the west declined, the number of ethnic Germans in Congress Poland grew rap- Introduction 13 idly. The result was that despite a broad acceptance of Nazism, the latent regional divisions within the German minority in Poland did not disappear until Minority leaders were able to synthesize prevailing ideological considerations with these concrete interests, often in ways quite frustrating to their Reich caregivers. Indeed, Nazi support for the ethnic Germans in eastern Poland served to deepen rather than bridge regional divisions.

The Guelphic conservatives in Hanover have been largely ignored by historians of German conservatism, in favor of Prussian elites and Catholic conservatives of the southwest. This persistence belied a recurrent pattern whereby the party gained major impetus from the moments of national reorganization , , and but then declined during the stable years of the Kaiserreich, Weimar, and the Federal Republic.

After , the movement saw itself as struggling against the overweening Prussian monarchy. In , its anti-Prussianism was more anti-Bolshevik than anti-monarchist. While almost all of our contributors are interested in discourse, Gideon Reuveni and Katharine Kennedy are explicitly concerned with the politics of texts. Both look at establishment efforts in the Kaiserreich and the Weimar Neil Gregor, Nils Roemer, and Mark Roseman 14 Republic to control what the public read and at the images of minorities that were presented to them.

Reuveni and Kennedy emerge with answers that reveal unexpected ambiguities and openness in contemporary discourse. Rather, a diverse set of texts existed for the different denominational schools , each of which in themselves had a tendency to ignore diversity. Beyond that, there was a generic tendency to ignore, rather than demonize, difference.

Thus each promoted an imaginary homogenous, harmonious Germany, but the precise content varied from book to book according to the population for whom it was primarily intended. The main religious communities were able to shape the texts for their particular schools, and tended to avoid the contentious issues of difference. The states also varied somewhat in their choice of texts. As Kennedy notes, the writers of Nazi textbooks had been educated in the Kaiserreich and Weimar, so that the post schoolbook culture cannot simply be detached from the preceding era.

Nevertheless, Kennedy urges caution in creating a teleology of German intolerance. One conclusion Reuveni draws from this is that much work on antisemitism has focused rather narrowly on the literature of the antisemites themselves, a perspective that has encouraged circular conclusions about the Kaiserreich. The silence on Jews he uncovered is remarkable, particularly given the apparent overlaps in anti-modernist sentiment between the antisemitic movement, the campaign against pulp writings, and the movement against alcoholism. In the consumer discourse, of which the campaign against trash or smut was an example, the vulnerable groups in society were seen as the masses, the uneducated, women, and other suggestible individuals.

This discourse can be powerful and reinforcing, but it is contextually located and not as generic as a mindset or mentality if such a thing as a mindset indeed really exists, independent of given contexts. Historians have long been conscious both of the mutual constitutiveness of gender and ethnicity, and of the ways in which debates about sex regularly resonate with deeper anxieties about the nation, its purity, and its violability. It is now a commonplace that in every patriarchal society, racism involves thinking about the sexuality of the women of the racial other.

In the case of Jewish men, research has shown how attribution of gender worked in highly complex and paradoxical ways. On the one hand, as Erik Erikson observed long ago, there existed the apelike and predatory sexuality stereotyped by Adolf Hitler. As Herzog has argued more extensively elsewhere, the era of sexual repression against which the radicals of reacted was not, as they thought, the era of fascism itself, but the period of the s in which Christian, conservative sexual norms were reasserted against the behavioral patterns encouraged by the Third Reich.

What distinguishes this essay from the others in the volume is the strange interregnum in German history it describes. Many of the assumptions made elsewhere about relationships between centers and peripheries do not Introduction 17 apply here; indeed, those relationships were radically reversed. Not only the survivors in the camps were displaced, but also the power structures in which they negotiated and acted. And as Grossmann so vividly shows, these shifts in power reached into the most intimate of spheres. The interactions between DPs and Germans were of course dominated by past experiences, often impelled by nothing more than short-term opportunism, and laden with spoken and unspoken resentments.

Like the authors of earlier essays, both identify the complexity of the relations between center and margins—but this time in the self-conscious space of the post-Holocaust era. Much scholarly research has dwelled on the coerced sex experienced by German women at the hands of Soviet soldiers in and around Berlin, but as Fehrenbach reminds us, the occupation era led to a much wider variety of sexual interactions, most of which were consensual, between Germans and others.

Since antisemitism was, at least in public discourse, largely taboo, postwar discussion of race was increasingly framed in terms of the distinctions between blackness and whiteness. The term Mischling, for example, survived into the postwar period—but now used exclusively to describe children of white German women and foreign men of color. A federal German census of children fathered by occupation troops sought to classify paternity in terms of nationality American, British, French, etc.

To have separately listed Jewish fathers in such a context, even assuming such information had Neil Gregor, Nils Roemer, and Mark Roseman 18 been available, would have been unthinkable. As Fehrenbach shows, debates during the late s and s on the adoption and integration of the children these relationships produced provide an excellent opportunity to map changing West German attitudes to race and difference in the s and s.

Until now, historians have been agreed that successive German governments blithely pursued shortterm labor-market objectives without recognizing or confronting the implications for long-term immigration. Up to , it is argued, huge numbers of guest workers were imported under the naive assumption that they were there only for the short haul. Then, reeling from the oil crisis, the government introduced a unilateral stop, seemingly unaware of the obvious consequence, namely, that labor migrants already in Germany, recognizing that they would not be readmitted on a subsequent occasion, were now unlikely to leave.

On the one hand government was indeed well aware of the potential longterm implications of labor migration, and had long been concerned enough to seek alternatives. The widespread concern, fanned by the Bildzeitung, that foreign workers might bring terror onto German soil drew on traditional linkages between the alien and the frightening. More than a year before the ban, consensus had thus been reached in government circles that a change in policy was required. There was deep ambivalence among contemporaries as to what kind of society Germany should be. Many in government circles shared the view that Germany could not absorb too many migrants from other cultures.

Yet at the same time, in the —73 period, Interior Minister Genscher made a number of gestures in the direction of acknowledging that West Germany had become a land of immigration and the SPD too presented itself as the advocate of a Introduction 19 more social and liberal approach, in tune with the character of the Federal Republic. Legal measures to restrict the rights of migrants sat uneasily with this image. The FRG also did not want to alienate those foreign partners for whom the temporary export of labor was an important economic fact, but who—as Yugoslavia—would be offended by moves to settle their citizens permanently in Germany.

This was one, though far from the only, factor promoting a progressive liberalization of public attitudes on race and ethnicity, in which inherited assumptions from Nazi and pre-Nazi Germany gradually faded from public discourse. West Germany nevertheless struggled with the idea of a diverse and multiethnic society. Older racial assumptions enjoyed a continued half-life. At government level, such assumptions now appeared less as overtly defended claims of racial difference than packaged as fears about adverse popular reactions. In his concluding paper, Geoff Eley reviews some of the key questions raised by this volume and offers an agenda for future research.

In examining the relationship of margin and center, Eley illustrates again how versatile and complex the metaphor of the margin can be. Finally, Eley uses the notion of centeredness though here the apposition is perhaps less with marginality than with fragmentation in a third way, namely as a yardstick by which to measure the historiography of modern German history.

For Eley, National Socialism remains the central organizing question of modern German history. It may seem odd, then, that only one contributor to the present volume, Dagmar Herzog, deals exclusively with the Nazi era. But the decision to pursue these issues outside the period of the Third Reich itself is a sign of the somewhat paradoxical way in which Nazism and the Holocaust have shaped current historiographical debates and the questions posed by this volume.

On the one hand, the moral framework underlying almost all of the contributions does indeed derive ultimately from the challenge that Nazism and the Holocaust have bequeathed to contemporary scholars. In that sense, all avenues of enquiry lead directly or indirectly from Auschwitz. On the other hand, if this volume is shaped by one overarching hypothesis, it is that while National Socialism continues to set the ultimate reference point for interest in the margins, the questions to which our post-Holocaust sensibility gives rise are beginning to take us down roads which do not, necessarily, lead us back to Auschwitz.

Notes 1. For introductions to the literature on women, see Richard J. Beck, ; John C. Fout, ed. On Protestant nationalism and the marginalization of Catholics, see Horst Zillessen, ed. Mohn, ; and Arlie J. Steiner, On exclusion and citizenship, see Andreas K. On violence toward the other, see Richard J. The breadth of the Nazi assault on difference emerges anew from Robert Gellately and Nathan Stoltzfus, eds. Again Jewish history has been in the vanguard here.

A key recent essay is Steven E. London: Verso, Maiken Umbach, ed. Hans-Ulrich Wehler, Deutsche Gesellschaftsgeschichte, vol. Beck, Wehler, Deutsche Gesellschaftsgeschichte, vol. Detlev J. Beck, ; Thomas Nipperdey, Deutsche Geschichte, — , vol. Beck, ; and Thomas Nipperdey, Deutsche Geschichte, —, vol.

Catalogue – book list alphabetically | A

James J. Sheehan, German History, David Rock and Stefan Wolff, eds. Michal Bodemann, ed. Hanna Schissler Princeton, N. Olaf Blaschke, ed. See, for example, Reinhard Alter and Peter Monteath, eds. On the Historikerstreit, see Charles S. Sander L. See the references above in notes 6 and 7 as well as the survey of recent work in Matthew Jefferies, Imperial Culture in Germany, — Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Volker R.

Thomas M. George L. For recent work on Jewish sexuality, see Sander L. Fertig, ; Sander L. See also the essay by Atina Grossman in this volume. Once the initial wave of unifying enthusiasm has faded, debates about the relationship between national unity and diversity intensify. The son of a merchant and a rabbinical scholar, he served as a professor in Bern from to and taught at the Prussian War Academy from to , after which he held an honorary professorship of philosophy at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin.

In both and , Lazarus served as president of the liberal Jewish synods of Leipzig and Augsburg. In short, whatever Lazarus said, it mattered among Jews and other Germans. Out of these materials Lazarus now developed an understanding of nationhood that I would like to characterize as radically voluntaristic, pluralistic, and processual. The tension between national unity and particular identities could not be reconciled, but only balanced and preserved by rearticulating it on a higher plane.

Did the celebrated scholar suffer a momentary lapse of reason when he argued that German Jews constituted a tribe? What I will argue is that, in fact, Lazarus invoked the term because it was a central concept in German debates about national unity and diversity between the mid-nineteenth century and the late s. Third, I would like to draw attention to the way we conceptualize the relationship between the particular and the universal, between different groups and a space in which they negotiate their terms of coexistence.

This question will open up a discussion that not only is of interest for German Jewish history but may help us rethink our understanding of the age of nation-states, especially the way we conceptualize the tension between particularism, nationalism, and universalism. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, it had become a divisive factor.

Unity of theological doctrine and religious discipline was lost once and for all, opening the way to incertitude, retreat, and possibly disengagement.

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By , three competing visions of Judaism existed: Reform, Orthodox, and Conservative. The Reform movement proposed a new understanding of Judaism as it historicized and thereby relativized both the Halacha and the oral and liturgical traditions. By the late nineteenth century, although Reform, Orthodoxy, and Conservatism had developed a peaceful coexistence of sorts, a unifying religious vision of what it meant to be Jewish had ceased to exist. In fact, several Jewish intellectuals argued that any attempt to ground a common Jewish identity on religion could lead to the disintegration of the Jewish community.

The distance between them is so wide. The Christian who believes in miracles is much closer on this point to the Jew who believes in miracles than the liberal is to the orthodox Jew. True, some who publicly eschewed religious rituals continued to practice their devotions privately, especially in the context of family life. The Jewish Stamm is therefore truly chosen for its mission. In the K. In the immediate postwar era, Benno Jacob — noted that the majority of German Jews rejected the modern idea of a territorial Jewish nation.

All these associations freely borrowed from a conception of Jews as a community of common descent rather than faith. Its members attempted to develop an understanding of German Jewry that would allow it to gain members from all parts of the Jewish community. It is probably impossible to assess how typical his stance was among the run-of-the-mill members of the movement. Yet the very fact that members of the Zionist leadership who subscribed to a nationalistic conception of Jewishness felt obliged to prove Oppenheimer wrong perhaps indicates that he expressed a common sentiment.

The more that German Jews considered themselves as a tribal community rather than simply a religious community, the more questionable became a certain conception of the relationship between the universal and the particular that had been at the heart of debates about Jewish emancipation between the late eighteenth century and the late s. Critics of Jewish emancipation asserted that Jews could not become part of the German nation because of their foreign nationality.

As long as Jews considered themselves to be a religious rather than a national community they should be allowed to assert their peculiarity just like members of Christian communities. In a religiously neutral state, Jews should therefore enjoy the same right to be different as members of Christian denominations. After the s, the emancipation-era arguments about religious diversity and the neutrality of the state had to be recast in more universal terms to include a right to be culturally and ethnically different, too.

In this context, the concept of Stamm was particularly attractive to Jews because it was also well established in general political discourse, expressing a legitimate form of cultural and ethnic difference. Clearly, the author implicitly argued that true national unity was only possible after a dissolution of tribal identities through mixing.

The vast majority of deputies supported a middle course between a centralized nation-state and a loose confederation of independent states. When, in , the Prussian secretary of the interior asked provincial governors whether they supported a single legislation for Prussian Jews, the Breslau provincial governor endorsed almost full equality before the law. Such a pluralistic understanding of national unity stood in contrast to an older tradition, in which diversity had been conceptualized as the coexistence of dynastic principalities.

In his address, Lazarus contrasted his radically voluntaristic, pluralistic, and processual understanding of the nation to an essentialist and objective concept of the nation. Nations are never given, but forever in the making. In response, arguments from the emancipation era about religious diversity and the neutrality of the state were recast in more universal terms to include a right to be culturally and ethnically different, too.

In this context, the concept of Stamm was particularly attractive to German Jews because it was well established in general German political discourse, expressing a legitimate form of cultural and ethnic difference. What I would like to draw attention to is the way we conceptualize the relationship between the particular and the universal, between different groups and a space in which they negotiate their terms of coexistence. These became ever-changing arenas in which competing claims of communities were articulated and possibly, but not necessarily, accommodated.

This is not to claim that power did not matter in these sometimes dialogical, sometimes profoundly antagonistic negotiations. Within higher echelons of the government, the military, and the universities, Protestants enjoyed a virtual monopoly on positions of power. An irreconcilable tension lay at the heart of the nineteenth-century nation. On the other hand, such representations of the universal were constituted in a perpetual series of controversies and debates in which citizens asserted their visions of individual and communal self hood.

Nationalist dreams of a nation, one and indivisible, Germans of the Jewish Stamm 41 should not distract us from the fact there were competing, possibly antagonistic visions of that very national unity. Most recent studies have therefore focused on the intersection of nationalism with other visions of community, such as religion and regionalism: Heinz-Gerhard Haupt and Dieter Langewiesche, eds. Unsurpassed to this day: Der Berliner Antisemitismusstreit, ed.

Walter Boehlich Frankfurt am Main: Insel, Karsten Krieger Munich: Saur, Anton Bettelheim, vol. Ein Vortrag von Prof. Lazarus, mit einem Vorwort von Isid. Levy Berlin: Philo Verlag, , Beck, , 71— 90, especially 77— Jahrhundert, ed. Germans of the Jewish Stamm 43 See especially Marion A. Acculturation and Modern German Jewry, ed. Probably Jellinek was familiar with the important place of the term in contemporaneous political discourse within the Habsburg Empire and German-speaking Central Europe.

Steinthal: Sprachwissenschaftler und Philosoph im Steinthal: Linguist and Philosopher in the 19th Century, ed. Samter, Was thun? Ein Epilog zu den Judentaufen im Jahrhundert, Hg. Georg Herlitz, vol. Generally, see George L. Michael Brenner and Derek J. Bluntschli and K.

Brater, vol. Carl von Rotteck and Carl Welcker, vol. Beck, , , , , and My own reading differs from that of Green and Langewiesche in two ways. A Bavarian, e. Thus, he would cease to be a Bavarian citizen, but could continue to consider himself a member of the Bavarian Stamm. Second, Green and Langewiesche seem to suggest that the idea of tribal diversity was important between the s and the late s and became irrelevant after the foundation of the German Empire in , whereas I emphasize that the concept of Stamm remained central to German nationalism—although this phenomenon is often discussed under the rubric of Heimat-ideology see, e.

Franz Wigard, vol. See also Dan S. Roger Chickering Westport: Greenwood, , — Buss Freiburg , in Stenographischer Bericht, vol. Till van Rahden 46 Manfred Jehle Munich: Saur, , Hans Wilderotter Berlin: Argon, , August , 14th ed. Berlin: Stilke, , xii; see also 2. Recent scholarship on nineteenth-century nationalism is increasingly questioning the dichotomy between a Western model of a voluntaristic and civic nationalism and an Eastern European model of an essentialist and ethnic nationalism; see, e. The true nature and the actual essence of nationhood can only be conceived from the intellect [Geist].

See David N. David N. Myers and William V. Rowe Scranton, Pa. Homi K. See also R. Campbell written in The essay is S. Acta et decreta sacrorum conciliorum recentiorum, quae ab episcopis Germaniae, Hungariae et Hollandiae ab a. Bhabha, Location of Culture, 1—2. You have done me the honour of inviting me to give your Academy an account of the life I formerly led as an ape. I regret that I cannot comply with your request to the extent you desire.

I could never have achieved what I have done had I been stubbornly set on clinging to my origins, to the remembrance of my youth. In fact, to give up being stubborn was the supreme commandment I laid upon myself; free ape as I was, I submitted myself to that yoke. In revenge, however, my memory of the past has closed the door against me more and more. To put it plainly, much as I like expressing myself in images, to put it 49 Yfaat Weiss 50 plainly: your life as apes, gentlemen, insofar as something of that kind lies behind you, cannot be farther removed from you than mine is from me.

Yet everyone on earth feels a tickling at the heels; the small chimpanzee and the great Achilles alike. Following some of Homi K. Clearly, the results are not perfect replications. Instead, they will inevitably be distorted and sometimes rather threatening. Red Peter—the man-ape—is the object of research.

As men of science they were observers, but at the same time as Jews they constituted a permanent subject of discussions about environment and heredity, ethnic origin and culture, assimilation and essence. Ah, one learns when one has to; one learns when one needs a way out; one learns at all costs. With an effort, which up till now has never been repeated, I managed to reach the cultural level of an average European.

In itself that might be nothing to speak of, but it is something insofar as it has helped me out of my cage and opened a special way out for me, the way of humanity. In time, this occurred in rela- Yfaat Weiss 52 tively well-established disciplines such as anthropology, as well as in new ones like sociology.

In the long term they would provide the lexicon of terms, and would to a large extent dictate the discourse used, in the exclusion of the Jews from the surrounding society. But in the short term, and, somewhat ironically, many years before the lexicon of exclusion and destruction came into being, this development created a system of concepts which imposed itself on the discourse of Jewish identity in Central Europe.

Even where this was not the case, there was always a reference to Germany and to the German academic world as the source of knowledge and wisdom. Firstly, I will explore the involvement of Jewish academics in developing racist research hypotheses. A second set of questions revolve round the relationship between nationalism and science. Finally, the use of genealogy and blood as markers in the process of dem- Identity and Essentialism 53 onstrating the Jewish national subject, and the discussions about a mandatory nexus between genetic relationship, geographic origin, and culture, served to create a nexus between the generational continuum and the territory of origin.

Two concepts were decisive here: genealogy and blood. Together they tried to constitute the Jewish national subject. The embeddedness of genealogy, geographic origin, and culture made clear that generational continuity and territory of origin were inextricably linked. However, these could still be debated without reference to Jews or antisemitism. Indeed, this science of race in general tended to reject anti-Semitism.

An examination of anthropological discourse, and in particular of developing sociological discourse, offers a good starting point. The keynote address was given by Dr. At the time Oppenheimer was a Privatdozent in Berlin. This was a middle-ranking academic grade held by numerous Jews, who, despite their ability, were denied admission to the groves of German academe.

However, these kinds of debates went beyond the boundaries of Germany and its national professional associations. Opinions identical to those which Oppenheimer adopted in opposition to Ploetz were published by a senior colleague—a Jew—two years later: the American anthropologist Franz Boas. Born in Minden, Germany, in , Boas emigrated to New York from Germany in the s, in an indirect reaction to the obstacles facing Jewish intellectuals in German academe.

Now, some thirty years after he had left the country, Boas joined in the German discussion from his New York home. Speaking from a senior academic position and as an established scholar, the American anthropologist decided to set the record straight. In , when his book The Mind of Primitive Man appeared in German, Boas chose in the translated version not to publish the original concluding chapter, which discussed the United States. And, indeed, from the perspective of a country of immigration it was possible to argue things that were just not visible in a nation-state.

It is no accident that Boas focused on the German immigrant in America. In America, he claimed, by the second generation it was impossible to differentiate between native-born Americans and European immigrants. His research shifted a considerable proportion of the weight ascribed to ethnic qualities and features from heredity to environment. Boas initially by no means rejected the racist paradigm, but the failure of racial anthropological models to explain his results in the end led him to generate different hypotheses.

Despite his basic liberal humanitarian outlook, he was a white-skinned European writing for other white-skinned Europeans at the turn of the century, and he was a physical anthropologist to boot. It intimated that, even though African Americans in the aggregate were not in his view inferior to the aggregate of whites, only a relatively very small number of the former had the potential to contribute to changing the world. For example, W. Du Bois viewed it as strengthening his own work, using it to provide a grounding for his belief that black inferiority lay in class structure, i.

Other debates at the same time suggest that this was a general rather than an isolated understanding. Jewish integration in the German cultural sphere was not discussed directly in these contexts, but there was no disputing the fact that the biologistic paradigm of culture undermined the very notion of acculturation. Not until , according to Mosse, were the signs and symbols of inferiority previously attributed to blacks transferred to the Jews. Scholars of Jewish history should integrate this chapter of the history of science into the study of antisemitism.

Minorities possess a special ability to sense lurking dissonances in public debates to the extent that such dissonances affect their own existences.

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Precisely because this mainstream debate about heredity and environment only implicitly addressed Jewish existence in the society in which it was taking place, the way Jewish scholars positioned themselves in it can help us detect its inherent element of exclusion.

IV However, the Jews were simultaneously both subject and object of these views. In Germany, and more precisely in the framework of the German cultural sphere, it was above all the Zionists who made great use of essentialist views in order to bolster their argument. A striking example of the latter are the lectures that Martin Buber gave in —11 to members of the Zionist Bar Kochba association in Prague, and which constitute a basic text in the crystallization of spiritual Zionism.

The world of constant elements and the world of substance are, for him, rent apart. He does not see his substance unfold Identity and Essentialism 59 before him in his environment; it has been banished into deep loneliness, and is embodied for him in only one aspect: his origin. We need to be conscious of the fact that we are a cultural admixture, in a more poignant sense than any other people. We do not, however, want to be the slaves of this admixture, but its masters.

Choice means deciding what should have supremacy, what should be the dominant in us and what the dominated. From onward, Landauer expressed rather mystic and spiritual views. The culmination of this period in his life is expressed in his book Skepsis und Mystik, published in It was Landauer, for example, who presented lineage— descent down through the generations—as something that imprints a manifest stamp on the individual. We are the moments of the ever-living community of our ancestors.

Unlike Landauer, Buber fell into the trap that is always present for minorities that are suffering from discrimination. Jews were not exceptional in this context, as an examination of the parallel debate in the United States—through which I will discuss cultural essentialism as a position of minorities—will show.

Indeed, Du Bois was accused of inconsistency because of the way in which he swung from structural explanations to romantic essentialist views. What contradiction could there be to that authoritative dictum? Africa is of course my fatherland. It is this unity that draws me to Africa. But at a far earlier time, in , he lent his voice to those African American activists demanding that the colonies that Germany had lost in the World War be placed at the disposal of educated African Americans.

In the spirit of Zionism, he espoused a state for black repatriates from the West. To help bear the burden of Africa does not mean any lessening of effort in our own problem at home. Return was intended to establish a bridge over the complex and fraught experience by creating harmony, or more precisely by bringing about equilibrium between their inner essence and outer reality. On this point, too, there is no need whatsoever to go looking for Jewish exceptionalism.

As in feminism, Appiah argues, a dialectic is revealed here between the thesis, embodied in the attempt to curtail the importance of differences—in this context, racial differences—and even to deny their existence, and the antithesis, embodied in the recognition of the existence of differences. It is a vast family of human beings, generally of common blood and language, always of common history, traditions and Identity and Essentialism 63 impulses, who are both voluntarily and involuntarily striving together for the accomplishment of certain more or less vividly conceived ideals of life.

For people who are part of the ruling group, any assertion of essence is in any case the product of the system in control and a factor in its replication. Neither Du Bois nor the Boyarins manage to rise beyond biological concepts in their theoretical endeavors; on the contrary, they internalize and strengthen them.

On this vast continent were born and lived a large portion of my direct ancestors going back a thousand years or more. The mark of their heritage is upon me in color and hair. These are obvious things, but of little meaning in themselves; only important as they stand for real and more subtle differences from other men.

Whether they do or not, I do not know nor does science know today. Apish or simian essence, the essentialist reader will be able to argue, cannot be eliminated or dismissed: it surfaces in the small hours of the morning when the ape goes back to all fours and to his simian instincts. Kaf ka does not dismiss the essence, but when he broadens it to apply to the whole of mankind he neutralizes the particularist barb.

What remains is an empty shell, a mere husk. Mitchell B. He is reading in the guise of a race scientist. Dent and Sons, , Robert Proctor insists that the development of eugenics as a discipline in the United States and Europe predated the establishment of the social sciences: Robert N. JoAnne Brown and David K. Verhandlungen des ersten deutschen Soziologentages vom Oktober in Frankfurt a. Mohr, Nelson and J. Alfred Ploetz, and W. Robert N. Proctor, Value-Free Science?

Michael W. Carsten Klingemann Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, , — Verhandlungen des zweiten deutschen Soziologentages vom Mohr, , Yfaat Weiss 66 Julia E. George W. Stocking Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, , — Quoted in Vernon J. Williams, Jr. Franklin, N. Grant, H. Kletnick, and G. Mosse, Toward the Final Solution, 81— Nahum N.

Glatzer New York: Schocken, , 11— Wir sind die Augenblicke der ewig lebendigen Ahnengemeinde. Identity and Essentialism 67 Eugene Lunn, Prophet of Community. Thomas C. Du Bois on Politics, Race, and Culture, — Robert A. Du Bois Reader, ed. John M. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, , 23— Yfaat Weiss 68 Ralf R.

It is instead conceivable that what remains is what lies between. In this sense, the assumptions of the conservative German historian Walter Hubatsch ran parallel to those of the legions of Polish historians who debated his conclusions about the numbers of 69 Helmut Walser Smith 70 German and Polish citizens, their respective allegiances, and the qualities of their objective and subjective consciousness. With the ethnic and religious visage of the people changing like the crystals of a kaleidoscope, life on the northeastern margins of Prussia was mixed.


Yet an immense amount of scholarship focuses on groups as if they existed in isolation. One tradition considers the history of German Protestants, who are often taken, pars pro toto, to represent Prussians as such. Within this historiography, Polish-speaking subjects are also considered, but separately. While immensely important, such studies inevitably see the hinge of history as turning in Berlin, and the local as mainly reacting to decisions taken at the center. If the latter, the question of the status of this appellation remains, whether Masures constituted a nationality of their own or merely a regional identity.

A small world of scholarship sees the Masures as belonging to a nation that has largely become extinct. The Cassubians were themselves divided into two groups, those who lived within the borders of the state of Pomerania and were Protestant, and those who lived in West Prussia west of Danzig and north of Konitz and were Catholic. In the far reaches of East Prussia, there was still another nation—the Prussian Lithuanians.

Unlike Prussia at the Margins 71 their co-nationals across the Russian border, the Prussian Lithuanians were Protestant and, like the Masurians, evinced intense loyalty to the Hohenzollerns. If we step down from ethnic groups who attempted to create a nation, we also soon encounter religious groups with complicated ethnic and national understandings. In the Ermland, many Polish-speaking Catholics readily gave their allegiances to Prussia instead of to the Polish national movement.

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  • And until deep into the history of the Kaiserreich, in both the Ermland and the mixed areas of West Prussia, many German-speaking Catholics cast their support for Polish candidates and shared sacral space with coreligionists across the ethnic line. These groups, I want to argue, developed a kind of cosmopolitanism. It was not the cosmopolitanism of Kant, a disembodied love of humanity based on the maxims of universal reason, but rather a more modest, limited, rooted cosmopolitanism. Particularistic and plural, this cosmopolitanism, if we may call it that, was less an arch to humanity than a series of necessary bridges to the other.

    Where we formerly assessed the social groups that contributed to the formation of nationalism, we ask, instead, who bridged emerging divisions. Sites of ethnic exclusivity—nationalist associations and governmental pressure groups—might then be seen in relation to sites of ethnic mixing: the marketplace, the tavern often run by trilingual Jewish innkeepers , and, if less often, the wedding altar. In short, to balance a historiography that scrutinized the seam for where and how the threads have come undone, we would look more closely at those that still hold.

    This way of seeing things is deeply indebted to the recent work of a re- Helmut Walser Smith 72 markable group of scholars associated with the German Historical Institute in Warsaw. With respect to the Cassubians, the story is more complicated because religion and ethnicity fell together. Nevertheless, each ethnic group developed national or even regional movements very late; each was highly agrarian, economically backward, and disproportionately illiterate.

    Religious belief erected barriers between people; it is the main reason why Protestant Lithuanians did not side with their Catholic co-nationals, or Masures with Poles, or Cassubians with Germans. Yet religion also provided the bricks and mortar for surprising bridges, which we can approach when we consider piety more closely.

    Like the Lithuanians, the Masures demonstrated impressive outward piety. To combat the former problem, Protestant organizations arranged meetings on the same days as Catholic holidays; to put a stop to the latter, they pleaded. Protestant Masures in the s and s made the journey to Heiligenlinde, to Wuttrienen, and, especially unsettling, to Dietrichswalde.

    In , the Virgin Mary allegedly appeared in an acorn shell outside the local church, which had been the site of a pilgrimage associated with the crowning of the Virgin of Czestochowa in the eighteenth century. In , the Virgin supposedly spoke to two young girls, ages twelve and thirteen, and the local priest vouched for their credibility.

    Yet for decades after, tens of thousands of the faithful, mainly from Poland, Posen, West Prussia, and Silesia, pilgrimaged there. The bridge of Masurian Protestantism to Polish Catholicism suggests one kind of connection unthinkable in the later years of nationalized publics. Equally remarkable was the permeability of the borders, with Masures traveling into Congress Poland in the Russian Empire to visit annual fairs and weekly markets, and to trade horses and cattle, especially with the far more numerous Jews across the line. Finally, Masurians crossed for religious reasons, just as Protestant Poles crossed into Masuria.

    Close to the border itself, in areas where pastoral care was thin, Protestant churches, like the one in Narzym in the deaconry of Soldau, held pews open for parishioners who hiked in from the other direction, from Mlawka across the border, a distance of roughly six miles. As with the Masurians, so also with the Lithuanians, the haunting specter was that of ecstatic piety and confessional sectarianism. Pietist in orientation, close to everyday life, insistent that the word of God be spoken in the local dialect, the charismatic preachers of the community movement propagated an enthusiastic, all-embracing Christianity that spilled out from the church and into the home.

    Prayer leaders Stundenhalter held special sessions in the homes of the pious, a devotional form not easily controlled by the church. They had good reason to worry. These pietist movements proved especially attractive to poor, undereducated Lithuanians from the countryside. The movements also crossed into Masuria, suggesting the power of religious forms to overcome boundaries of language and nationality.

    Among the Masurian miners in the Ruhr, especially in and around Gelsenkirchen, these movements were more powerful still; through ritual and devotional form they bound Masurians to their East Prussian Heimat. This insistence placed the revival movements on a collision course with the Prussian ordinance of July 24, , which required the immediate introduction of German as the language of instruction in all elementary school classes except for religious instruction at the lowest level.

    As many commentators have remarked, this language decree involved a fundamental transition from a comparatively tolerant language policy toward more aggressive Germanization. This change was most evident in the case of Polish resistance, which henceforth centered on the nationalist activity of the Catholic clergy. Likewise in the countryside and in enclosed language areas of Prussian Lithuania and Masuria, potentially sectarian revival movements insisted on the importance of communicating the word of God in the mother tongue.

    The Protestant Church understood this well enough. Starting in the s, the church adopted a more aggressive stance: German whenever possible, Lithuanian when absolutely necessary. Christian Braun, the East Prussia superintendent from to , embodied this transformation. Unlike his predecessors, he felt only the faintest sympathy for Lithuanian piety. They go to church diligently; they kneel to pray; they like to sing often and loud; they regularly approach the table of the Lord two to four times; but with few commendable exceptions that is all.

    After they have happily heard unbearably long sermons, preferably for the whole day, wailed and moaned as they repented, it is often the case that they intoxicate themselves [and] everywhere lie, steal, carry on, and the young engage in promiscuous behavior. A model of German Protestant piety this was not, and Braun, whose disdain for the community movement was especially pronounced, urged Germanization. In some cases the protests led to threats to leave the state church.


    But if the Gromadki movement resisted the Germanizing impulse of East Prussian Protestantism, it was not a profession of allegiance to Poland. This is the space that was, eventually, lost, though the loss did not become irreversible until after World War I, when plebiscites forced Prussian Lithuanians and Masures to decide between national cultures. As is well known, they opted for Prussia and Germany. But a space had existed, for a very long time, in which religion and language were sites of complex allegiances. Understanding thus became a matter of contact and of negotiation between languages.

    Intellectuals not yet swept up in the new of the national shaped this space. In , Max Toeppen, a German historian of Prussia and a Gymnasium rector, penned a sympathetic account of the peculiarities of Masurian life. There were also less bright lights among the intellectuals, distant descendents of Herder, who bridged cultures; some translated religious writings, others wrote in local newspapers. Prussian Lithuania in the second half of the nineteenth century was a bilingual zone, to a modest extent for the Germans, in still greater measure for Lithuanians, especially those in the villages.

    Like the Lithuanians and the Masures, the Cassubians were loyal subjects of the Hohenzollern dynasty until deep into the nineteenth century and, as such, impervious to Polish national aspirations. They also constituted an extremely rural population, distinguished by their relative isolation and ill-starred for their superstitious ways. But Cassubian was also a language, very close to Polish, which had become a religious language with the potential to be a literary language as well.

    In the early s, the Russian Slavophile Alexander Hilferding portrayed this world and its disappearance. I hardly saw any children and young people. If a woman in a traditional Cassubian costume walked by, they looked at her with disdainful curiosity. When they heard the last song of the Slavic service, a large number of polished young womenfolk, girls and boys pushed into the church and hurried to occupy the pews, which were slowly being vacated by the Cassubians, the remnants of a dying lineage.

    In , small riots occurred in Schmolsin in eastern Pomerania following the abolishment of Cassubian services. In , he delivered the last Protestant service in Cassubian. In its outlines, though not its social historical details, this story is well known. In the s, Cassubia was a bilingual region in which Germans, Cassubians, Poles, and Jews could make themselves understood across linguistic borders.

    These differences were considerable. In the s in West Prussia, which was ethnically divided in roughly equal measure between Germans and Poles, more than ten times as many Germans as Poles could be counted in an income tax bracket of over marks per annum, and Poles were economically better off than Cassubians.

    For Cassubians, it struck at the heart of what mattered. For all the obstacles stacked against common ties with Germans, Cassubians had yet to fully cast their identity in one direction, not the least because of Cassubian loyalty to a Prussian state whose legacy was, if not a land of bounty, at least not one of grinding poverty. Just as the Romantics valorized the primitive forest as it disappeared, intellectuals, non-Cassubians and Cassubians alike, now attempted to distill a Cassubian identity on the basis not of religion, but of language and custom.

    Friedrich Lorentz, a linguist and ethnologist from Mecklenburg and a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, penned a number of works on Cassubian language, history, and civilization, and helped found, in , an Prussia at the Margins 79 Association for Cassubian Folklore that published its proceedings in German. He also wrote a Pomeranian and a Slovinzian dictionary as well as a history of Cassubia. Anguished reports on border crossings, religious syncretism, and ecstatic religiosity similarly suggest a dominant nationality that drew the lines of ethnic community with increasing exactitude, and worried whether its Protestant center could hold.

    Yet Slezkine also underscores the hard materiality of the peoples of the north, and one should follow him on this point as well. For there was something genuinely surprising about life on the periphery of Prussia, where cultural systems were not mutually reinforcing in the way that German historians are used to, and the Mondrian lines of milieu theory seem out of place. Of course, it cannot be gainsaid that at the turn of the century, nationalism proved the more powerful force. The Prussian East was a historical landscape caught between what must have seemed like inexorable glaciers, powerful cultural-national pressures—German, Polish, to some extent Russian— pressing down and smoothing whatever lay in their path.

    These glaciers also determined the subsequent history of the region, shaped like few other areas in Europe by cataclysmic events of the twentieth century, including two world wars and massive population redistribution. In this sense, discerning the peculiar ties of small, largely extinct peoples must surely seem as quixotic as E.

    Furthermore, Koepp kept a focus on Wittstock: "Neues aus Wittstock" to was filmed under aggravated conditions. The company did not allow the team to film inside the factory, and the women who still worked there were unwilling to be interviewed for the film. Finally, "Wittstock, Wittstock" that won the award of German film critics in presented the women who although they had lost their familiar social connections had not become totally pessimistic but assessed the new situation with a healthy dose of skepticism and criticism.

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    Koepp then tapped into a new landscape with "Kalte Heimat" "Cold Homeland" , a film that tells from the everyday life of a Russian German family that had relocated from Kazakhstan to East Prussia. In compliance with Koepp's artistic standpoint, he went without the translation of the answers that were mainly given in Russian language — a radical decision that nevertheless worked because the sensitivities of the people were strongly conveyed by the images. In "Uckermark" , he again investigated the change of conditions after the German reunification in a Brandenburg area. In his following films, Koepp further dealt with remote but historical important sections of the country and the repercussions social and political changes had and have on its inhabitants: "Pommerland" , for instance, presented the picturesque Polish region Pomerania as an area that most of the young people have left and that has an unemployment rate of up to 75 percent.

    Following the theatrical release "Berlin-Stettin" , he directed the segment "Im Wind" for the TV documentary "20 x Brandenburg" and portrayed the eponymous Baltic region in "Livland" , TV. In , the now years-old Koepp received the lifetime achievement award at the International Film Festival Amiens. Breadcrumb Home People Volker Koepp.

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