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German City, Jewish Memory

The Story of Worms

Nils Roemer

Publication Year: 2010

German and Jewish ways of life have been interwoven in Worms, Germany, for over a thousand years. Despite radical changes brought about by expulsion of Jews, wartime devastation, social advancement, cultural and religious renewal, and the Jewish community's destruction during the Holocaust, the Jewish sites of Worms display a remarkable degree of continuity, which has contributed to the development of distinct urban Jewish cultures, memories, and identities.

Tracing the recollection and invention of local Jewish historical traditions in religious commemorations, historical writings, museums, and historical monuments, and the transformation from "sites" to "sights" in the form of tourism from the Middle Ages to the present, Roemer's rich study of Worms offers a blueprint for historians interested in developing similar studies of cities over the longue duree.

Published by: Brandeis University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

The coexistence of archival collections in Jerusalem, Worms, and New York about Worms underscores the central contentions of this book concerning the dislocated shape of local memory. In addition to the existing archives...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

In 1987, Chaim Herzog became the first Israeli president to tour the Federal Republic; he spent five days there in return for Richard von Weizsäcker’s visit to Israel in 1985. Herzog commenced his tour at the Bergen-Belsen concentration...

Part I: From Medieval Origins to the Enlightenment: Observing the Past

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pp. 9-67

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1. Sacred Realms

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pp. 11-31

Within the medieval world, Ashkenazic communities embodied authority and legislative competence and exhibited a degree of autonomy derived from imperial, ecclesial, regional, and local powers. Despite networks of contacts...

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2. Between Rituals and Texts

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pp. 32-49

During the early modern period, preservation, restoration, and innovation intermingled in the making of a local heritage in Worms centered on rabbinical luminaries, religious martyrs, narratives about the community’s mythical...

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3. Christian Interlocutors and Jewish Memory

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pp. 50-67

Historians of the early modern period have highlighted the extent to which printing presses, colonial expansion, and traveling, especially the educational Grand Tours of the continent, brought people and cultures into contact. In his classic...

Part II: Moving Local Jewish Heritage into Modernity and Its Destruction

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pp. 69-141

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4. Restoring the Lost Memory

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pp. 71-90

From the arrival of the Napoleonic armies to the foundation of the Second German Reich in 1871, Jews in Germany navigated their way into modernity on their own terms. They pursued cultural renewal and religious reform within..

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5. Jewish Traveling Cultures of Remembrance

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pp. 91-117

The unification of Germany in 1871 finally universalized Jewish emancipation and promised the possibility of unity without homogeny as it brought diverse regional and religious cultures together into one nation. The nation-state that...

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6. Worms: A Jewish Heimat on Borrowed Time

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pp. 118-141

The Weimar Republic is rightly associated with the prestigious accomplishments of German Jews in the arts and sciences at a time when the size of the Berlin community dwarfed all other German Jewish congregations. Yet...

Part III: After the Holocaust: Disturbing Remains

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7. Place and Displacement of Memory

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pp. 145-162

The immediate postwar history of occupied Germany has often been described as a “zero hour,” marked as it was by a profound lack of memory and an inability to confront the Nazi crimes. Most Germans saw themselves...

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8. Worms Out of the Ashes

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pp. 163-182

With the foundation of the Federal Republic, German society began the transition from the legacy of the National Socialist dictatorship to a stable democratic society. Konrad Adenauer led the nascent democracy until...

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9. The Presence of Absence

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pp. 183-205

The rise in tourism during the postwar period has been associated solely with the commercialized world of consumer culture. While visits to Worms apply here to an extent, viewing this particular traveling culture of remembrance...

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Conclusion

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pp. 207-212

This book aims to come to terms with the changing meaning of place, remembrance, and identity over the course of almost a thousand years. Worms was certainly always unique in many ways; the city and its Jewish community thrived...

Notes

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pp. 213-274

Bibliography

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pp. 275-306

Index

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pp. 307-316


E-ISBN-13: 9781584659471
E-ISBN-10: 1584659475
Print-ISBN-13: 9781584659211

Page Count: 328
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Tauber Institute Series for the Study of European Jewry