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Germans into Jews Remaking the Jewish Social Body in the Weimar Republic

Germans into Jews Remaking the Jewish Social Body in the Weimar Republic book cover

Winner of the 2010 Pacific Coast Branch Book Award, sponsored by the American Historical Association (AHA) Pacific Coast Branch.

Germans into Jews turns to an often overlooked and misunderstood period of German and Jewish history—the years between the world wars. It has been assumed that the Jewish community in Germany was in decline during the Weimar Republic. But, Sharon Gillerman demonstrates that Weimar Jews sought to rejuvenate and reconfigure their community as a means both of strengthening the German nation and of creating a more expansive and autonomous Jewish entity within the German state. These ambitious projects to increase fertility, expand welfare, and strengthen the family transcended the ideological and religious divisions that have traditionally characterized Jewish communal life. Integrating Jewish history, German history, gender history, and social history, this book highlights the experimental and contingent nature of efforts by Weimar Jews to reassert a new Jewish particularism while simultaneously reinforcing their commitment to Germanness.

About the author

Sharon Gillerman is Associate Professor of Jewish History at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles and adjunct Associate Professor of History at the University of Southern California.