Getting (Re-)Started. Jewish Livelihoods in West Germany after 1945
13 October 2020 - 6 PM
Anna Holian (Arizona State University, Tempe)
At the end of the war, most Jews in Germany were in no condition to provide for themselves. Some, however, immediately sought to reenter the world of work. They were driven not only by desperate material circumstances but also by the desire to regain control over their lives after years of surviving on the margins of society. Over time, they would be joined by many others. Yet the paths taken by German and Eastern European Jews were quite different, reflecting their different experiences and outlooks. Most German Jews sought to find their footing in the German economy, as they hoped to rebuild their lives in Germany itself. Most Eastern European Jews rejected this route, at least initially. They instead worked in the Allied economy, a separate economic realm of jobs provided by the western Allies and their affiliates. They also worked on the black market and in a nascent Jewish ethnic economy. Those Jews who did seek a place in the German economy faced an uphill battle: although the Nazi era had come to an end, the Nazi racial community continued to structure the economic realm in significant ways.
Seminar will be held only on-line.