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Ore and let davven.™

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Jews in rural Germany again

In the English Yated - and here online - is a piece by the editor, R' Mordecai Plaut yetz"u, touching a topic I wrote about last Ador here.

Only a few additions to this interesting article:

The melammed described was very typical: He taught the yelodem, was the regular baaltefille, baalkrie, baaltekeye, shechted tarnegôlem, sometimes even beheimes, and malled the boys. Often he was the de-facto raaf and paskened more common shaales, even without a formal mereine brif. Only if it got more koshe, he'd pass on the shaale to a raaf in the next godeler mokem of the medine. Such a klikôdesh was called a shatzmAtz, a double acronym of shliech-tzibber and môre-tzedek. (Confused by words you don't understand? This might help.)

The author writes "the salary cannot have been overly generous, because the Lehrer also had a textile store." Though this might very well have been the case, it might also be a feature of pre-chareidi Judaism.

The community is described as religious. I would rather express this as shômer mitzves or even simply traditional. This might look like nitpicking, but to me, religious davke doesn't fit to this kind of society in that period. Doesn't change the facts, though.

The name of the city of Witzenhausen does not mean "place of wit", but is connected to an Old High German name Wizo. The other explanation doesn't match documented older linguistic forms. Nevertheless, it was indeed a centre of Jewish learning, and the place of the rabbinate for quite a large region. (Aggev orche: ancestors of mine lived in Abterode for some time, and used to visit and learn with the Witzenhausen rabbi some 300 or 350 years ago.)

Hebrew in grammar schools wasn't and isn't taught "for those who were studying for a religious (Christian) career", or at least not any more so than Latin and Greek. The study of all three languages in European schools originally had Christian motives, but already long ago this was shifted to a more general "humanistic" field. (Still it's an issue if one is allowed to attend such classes, and it might depend on details of the concrete class.)

Concerning the annihilation and survival of German Jews, the rule of thumb I heard was: a third escaped, a third survived in hiding, a third was murdered. I must confess I have difficulties to believe a third was hidden and not denounced or found. I gather this includes "half-Jews", who were treated differently in the beginning and might have had more opportunities of disguise.



Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

You might want to define some of the terms in the "glossary" post on Mis-Dakdek.

Friday, October 06, 2006 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Phillip Minden said...

Good idea! So, if somebody hasn't a clue what I was talking about, kindly drop by again after yontev [here: the upcoming holiday]. I'll try to find the time and link the terms to translations or explanations.

Friday, October 06, 2006 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Phillip Minden said...

TBOTH was so kind as to compile a glossary! You may find it here. (Really this time.)

Monday, October 09, 2006 9:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I gather this includes "half-Jews", who were treated differently in the beginning and might have had more opportunities of disguise.

Statistics reveal that there were tens of thousands of "Mischlinge" in Germany. It does appear that many did survive (particularly those married to "Aryans" or useful to Germany in some way). As a result of the number of Junker military officers who married girls from assimilationist Jewish families in the late-19th/early-20th Centuries, there were a large number of half- or quarter- Jewish soldiers in the German Army, up until the time of the hurban (most were discharged around 1941).

A fascinating (if somewhat shocking book on this topic is this:
Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racial Laws and Men of Jewish Descent in the German Military. Bryan Mark Rigg, University of Kansas Press, 2002.

Monday, October 09, 2006 10:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In any event, the statistics I’m aware of put the statistics of roughly 50% of the pre-Nazi German population surviving, and the rest murdered, with the vast majority of those who survived escaping. I don’t think it’s plausible that a third of the German Jewish community (i.e. around 200,000 people) successfully hid.

Monday, October 09, 2006 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Woodrow/Conservadox said...

I vaguely remember Lucy Davidowicz's Book (War Against the Jews) saying that 2/3 of Jews had bailed out of Germany before the war, not 1/3. On the other hand, some of those 2/3 had rather poor luck in their choice of new residences, and as a result met unfortunate ends (in many cases, more quickly than if they had stayed in Germany).

I agree that far fewer than 1/3 hid (unless you count mischlings as having "hidden"). My dad hid in Berlin, and I don't think he thought too many other people were as successful as he.

Thursday, September 06, 2007 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger Phillip Minden said...

Many made it to France or Holland, which were then occupied by the Nazis.

A bit off-topic:

Seen from today, if somebody went to France and was murdered later on, he looks like he never escaped, and somebody who went to England in '38 looks like he didn't have anything to do with persecution and Holocaust, as if he'd emigrated to the US in 1910.

Now what if France would have "arranged" with Germany differently and so saved their Jews, and Britain would have been occupied? Both not at all improbable.

(And definitely off-topic: Your nom and your father's hiding place made me instantly think of "Berliner Weiße grün", a light ale served with a decent dash of sweet woodruff syrup.)

Friday, September 07, 2007 3:37:00 AM  

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