The Philanthropic Parvenue and the Uplifted Ostjude: German-Jewish Women and Ost und West
In the last chapter, we showed how the stereotype of the Jewish parvenu became the centerpiece of Ost und West’s campaign to promote ethnic Jewish identity among a group of German Jews with a specific social and political profile: male intellectuals. For this group, the Jewish arriviste had become the ultimate affront to Judaism, regardless of whether that Judaism was Eastern, Western, or some combination of the two. The Jewish parvenu character, as depicted in Ost und West’s cautionary tales, provided the Jewish cultural elite with a negative role model.
But Jewish male intellectuals in Germany were not the only ones outraged by parvenu Jews. Jewish women also reacted negatively to caricatures of themselves. In fact, the 1913 creation of a Jewish female parvenu (or parvenue) by Binjamin Segel is only one indication of how important women were to become as readers of Ost und West. Many factors point to a significant female readership at the peak of the journal’s success between 1906 and 1914. Thus, even though most of the parvenus stereotyped in Ost und West were men and most of their creators were men, the audience meant to consume these images may have been at least 25 percent female. And while most Eastern Jewish students in Germany and most native German-Jewish literati were men, a significant portion of the magazine’s audience were women. Female readers were even addressed directly at times.1 The authors of “show-off” novellas (Protznovellen), then, may have been Jewish males, but their implied readers were just as often Jewish women.2
Few of the women reading Ost und West were from Eastern Europe, however. The only significant group of Eastern Jewish women living in the West were Russian women students, and they numbered only in the dozens.3 Ost und West was directed at the Jewish woman who was German or Austrian and lived in an urban setting such as Berlin or Vienna. Though she may have been intellectually inclined, she was less likely to be a university student, writer, or artist than to be confined to an upper-middle-class household. Like her sisters of previous generations, the Jewish bourgeoise was quite contemporary in her tastes, as the advertising in Ost und West confirms. But unlike her early-nineteenth-century predecessors, who converted out of Judaism, the women who read Ost und West were generally opposed to assimilation.4 In fact, women of all ranks within German-Jewish society were less likely to leave the fold than were men during the Wilhelminian era.5 There was, as a result, less of a need for Jewish parvenue characters. Besides, when Ost und West used negative stereotyping of male parvenus, it already had a receptive audience in middle-class Jewish women.
A comparison with intellectual male readers reveals how it was possible for Ost und West to promote the Ostjuden to a middle-class audience of Western Jewish women. While the journal had a distinctive Eastern Jewish bias that seemed unlikely to appeal to the Western Judaism of German-Jewish women, Winz and his associates were steadfast in their effort to build a Jewish female audience. First, they assumed that the average Wilhelminian Jewish woman, like her male intellectual counterparts, would detest the Jewish nouveau riche character. To this end, Ost und West played on both the enlightened and religious aspects of German-Jewish female identity. Second, the journal’s editors experimented with positive stereotypes meant to attract German-Jewish women, who were less likely than Jewish male intellectuals to have engaged in debate about Jewish ethnicity and who may even have been sensitive to Ost und West’s negative stereotyping and masculine rhetoric. For a period in the magazine’s history, then, it was thought that romanticized images of male Eastern Jews would make ethnic Judaism acceptable to philanthropically inclined Jewish women in the West. This group was more susceptible to such an approach since it was bound to the domestic sphere and was thus not as familiar with real Ostjuden as the male intellectual clientele of Ost und West.
Yet Ost und West could not produce convincing positive stereotypes of Ostjuden, as seen above in chapter 3. In their dubious attempts to help Western Jewish women identify with such Jews, the journal’s writers came up with Eastern Jewish characters that were as unthreatening as possible. Dependent and childlike, these characters were palimpsests derived from older negative stereotypes of Eastern Jews. This “philanthropic” approach to the Ostjuden, often referred to as Ghettojuden,6 was rife for misinterpretation and threatened to subvert Ost und West’s mission. Soon it was discarded in favor of more reliable practices: negative stereotyping and satire. In reorienting their approach to Jewish female readers, Ost und West’s editors decided to publish stereotypes of the Western Jewish parvenue. Women reading the magazine were urged to detest such social climbers, who, it was suggested, could never become caring mothers and wives.
One caveat: this chapter is not a materialist history of women and reading, something that remains to be undertaken for Wilhelminian Jewish women (and for women in other cultures). Instead, this chapter focuses on the discourse of reading and gender encountered in Ost und West. In particular, it looks at how the magazine encouraged a sympathetic, identificatory response from German-Jewish female consumers, though any number of them may have remained cool to the idea of an ethnic, pan-Jewish identity.
In redefining the identity of German-Jewish women through stereotypes, the editors of Ost und West also showed a deep understanding of the historical place of women in Judaism. While limited by tradition to the home, where it was their duty to preserve Judaism against challenges from without, Jewish women were permitted extensive contact with the profane world, even the non-Jewish culture surrounding them. This involved no contradiction under Jewish law (halakha); women were not required to observe the commandments and prohibitions that obtained for men. In theory they enjoyed more freedom to interact with their Gentile neighbors and their cultures. Men were ideally to spend their days studying Talmud in small groups, while women were supposed to manage the household, if not the family business.7
In the eighteenth century, Jewish women in Germany came into ever greater contact with non-Jewish culture. German-Jewish women borrowed from enlightened, non-Jewish institutions such as the bourgeois family and its culture of domesticity. Borrowing was not the same as imitating, however.8 For example, German-Jewish women were the moral educators in their homes. But unlike their middle-class Christian sisters, they instilled in their families both religious and enlightened values that were uniquely Jewish. Ost und West recognized this crucial role played by German-Jewish women, often debunking arguments that the Talmud was antiwoman.9
Women living in Ost und West’s home base, Berlin, embodied the extremes of tradition and modernity, of Eastern and Western Judaism. For more than a century, these women—even more than their husbands—had belonged to the cultural elite of Germany. (Actually, many of their ancestors had been privileged “exception Jews,” who belonged to the economic elite of Prussia.) Names such as Rahel Varnhagen (1771–1833), Henriette Herz (1764–1847), and Dorothea Schlegel (1763–1839) are inseparable from German literary and artistic history around 1800. Yet, unlike these famous assimilating salon hostesses (Salondamen),10 their more numerous Berlin Jewish counterparts of a century later became important agents of dissimilation in their homes. Two factors made this possible. First, Wilhelminian Jewish women were less likely than men to cut ties to Judaism. Second, they were highly educated. The majority of German-Jewish women had been literate since the Middle Ages, and one third of all female Gymnasium students in Berlin after 1900 were Jewish women—even though Jews made up only 5 percent of the Berlin population.
Precisely such women spearheaded philanthropic and educational activities in the Jewish community and were a major force behind relief efforts to Eastern Jewry. One such Berlin Jewish woman was Felice Bauer, the fiancée of Franz Kafka. Even though Kafka knew of Ost und West (but may not have subscribed), Bauer appears to have been a regular reader who brought his attention to important reviews in the journal.11 While Bauer did not engage herself with Eastern Jewry as thoroughly as Kafka might have wished, she did act upon his suggestion to attend lectures at Siegfried Lehmann’s Jüdisches Volksheim.12
Like many other women, Bauer’s Jewish awareness was reinforced in the religious and social spheres. As a result, re-ethnification was not as pressing an agenda for her as it was for her fiancé and other Jewish intellectual men. Yet, at the same time, their traditional and modern loyalties made German-Jewish women receptive to Ost und West’s ethnic Judaism. This fact, along with the general participation of women in Eastern and Western Jewish culture since the Haskalah, has been the subject of little scholarship. Conventionally, it has been assumed that women were passive recipients rather than active producers of Jewish culture.13 But, in fact, much of ethnic Jewish culture in Germany was shaped by women. While their contributions to Jewish nationalism may have been less conspicuous than those of men, they were no less significant. Women played an important role in sustaining all types of Jewish culture—Eastern, Western, and ethnic. Often stereotyped as the “inferior” readers of devotional works translated from Hebrew, Eastern Jewish women were the first readers of modern Yiddish literature.14 Often stereotyped as seductive salon hostesses, Western Jewish women in the age of Enlightenment were champions of German arts and letters.
Studying Ost und West helps us grasp how central middle-class women were in the dissemination of ethnic Jewish identity. Nineteenth-century Jewish women acted in myriad ways as cultural intermediaries, especially as agents of class formation and representation.15 Within the domestic sphere, Jewish women, like their non-Jewish sisters, became avid consumers of culture. In contrast to men, who worked outside the home, middle-class women and children had more time available to read books and journals. As household technology improved and the middle class prospered in Germany, Jewish women were reading more than ever. Seeing women as active journal readers is thus a counterweight to standard historiography that sees Jewish women as passive recipients.
Outside the home, women of the Jewish middle classes also played a major role in building an urban-oriented Wilhelminian Jewish culture.16 They subscribed, for example, to the new circulating libraries for Jews.17 Beyond the realm of books and periodicals, more and more urban bourgeois women were also participating in extrafamilial activities by the 1890s, attending meetings, small salons, and lecture series for women. Having the requisite leisure time and money, German-Jewish women also went to theaters, cafés, and concerts, where they at times outnumbered Gentile women.18 The Ost und West Verlag produced occasional evening performances of music and recitation, the so-called young Jewish Liederabende, in an attempt to attract the female audience. The 1912 Liederabende in Berlin, Leipzig, Breslau, Munich, Nuremberg, Hamburg, and Hanover were by all accounts an exemplary success.19 Reviewed in both the Jewish and the non-Jewish press, such concerts were again sponsored by Winz in 1919, filling one Berlin venue with seating for 2,000.20
To attract an audience of Western Jewish women to ethnic Jewishness, Ost und West instituted up-to-date marketing practices. As a self-proclaimed innovator in the field of print advertising, Winz sought to make his magazine desirable to audiences who may not have felt a direct need for it. Ost und West was presented as the perfect consumer item for the German-Jewish family. Its acknowledged goal was to reach as many Jewish households as possible.21 The magazine’s first editorial thus ended with the hope that Ost und West might “secure a place in every Jewish home.”22
This obvious appeal to women showed that Winz was looking to expand the readership of Ost und West. In Germany alone, there was a market of 200,000 potential Jewish women readers, approximately 50,000 of whom resided in Berlin. (The potential market in the Habsburg empire was even larger.) In the prewar years, Ost und West could afford to charge what the market would bear for advertising space. In fact, its advertising fees were the highest for all Jewish periodicals in Germany.23 Advertisements could be found at the front and back of each issue; on occasion, they took up a sixth of the space. This led Winz to claim—or, better, to exaggerate—that Ost und West carried “more advertisements” in its twenty-three-year history “than any other general-interest periodical in Germany.”24 The key to its success, then, was advertisers, not subscribers.
That Ost und West was in part geared toward women is in no small measure because of its female director of advertising, Elsa Jacoby. Jacoby, who later married Winz, was not only his personal secretary but also his deputy after 1914. Women were targeted by promotions ranging from books and journals to household and luxury items. (One department store, Berlin’s Kaufhaus des Westens, advertised both women’s garments and its lending library in Ost und West.)25 Just because images of women permeated such advertisements does not mean, of course, that most readers were women. Nevertheless, the magazine’s elegant appearance was pivotal in attracting both advertisers and female consumers. The Winzes, who published the Gemeindeblatt der jüdischen Gemeinde zu Berlin after 1927, repeatedly chided the earlier editors of that magazine for their lack of aesthetic refinement.26
The purchase of a stylish journal also conferred status, and Ost und West cultivated its image as a family journal (Familienblatt) of a higher niveau, seeking to become an upper middle class Jewish version of Die Gartenlaube.27 Unlike its popular contemporary, however, Ost und West did not suggest that the upper strata of its audience divorce themselves from the “masses”—in this case, the Eastern Jews and the Jewish lower classes in Germany. Nor was Ost und West beyond the reach of working-class Jews: a subscription to the magazine was possible at the price of seven marks per year (less than a week’s wages for a common laborer).28 The low price of Ost und West, subsidized in effect by advertising revenues, was a key factor in the magazine’s success among middle-class Jews. This was especially true for women, who actually may have subscribed on behalf of their families.
While it did not pose as a practical adviser as many German popular magazines did, Ost und West complemented etiquette books and other such “professional” texts on advancing in Jewish circles.29 Contact with the journal decisively enhanced a woman’s ability to converse at social gatherings on Jewish issues as well as art and music. This function was crucial since many German upper-middle-class women were brought up to entertain others by discussing literature and art.30 Women’s interest in literature and art, however, did not preclude their being interested in the politics and theology published in Ost und West. The journal also helped women educate their children, for Jewish ethnicity was a topic rarely addressed in the theologically oriented religion class (Religionsunterricht) offered at school.
Ost und West, like other middle-brow cultural products, ultimately owed much of its success to women. German-Jewish women took advantage of their leisure time to promote Judaism and Jewish ethnicity to their children (and, in some cases, to their husbands).31 Jewish women at the turn of the century were thus quite different from other middle-class women in Germany. While Goethe, Schiller, and Wagner stand out in the few surviving testimonies about the reading, listening, and viewing habits of German-Jewish women, these women were more and more drawn to the emerging variety of ethnic Jewish culture in places such as Ost und West. Indeed, some had never strayed from more traditional Western (or Eastern) forms of Judaism.32
German-Jewish women in the Kaiserreich were very influential in the areas of philanthropy and social welfare. Although urged to limit themselves to household affairs, they found new public outlets for fulfillment at the outset of the twentieth century in humanitarian and relief work. These primary expressions of Jewish female identity were not without precedent, however. Jewish women had practiced tsedakah (Hebrew for “justice,” usually translated as “charity”) for centuries. Traditional religious identity had led Jewish women to acts of benevolence (mitzvot) inside and outside the home.
With the spread of enlightened Judaism in the nineteenth century, education and paid employment became attractive options for Jewish women in the German lands. But religion, in addition to class pretension, was so strong a motivating factor in their public activities that the idea of the career woman was not fully accepted in the Jewish community until after World War I.33 The identity of German-Jewish women at the end of the nineteenth century, then, was marked by a split between Eastern religiosity and Western secularism.34 Throughout Central Europe at this time, new spheres of activity opened up for Jewish women having altruistic and social aspirations. The same women often participated in several different Jewish organizations—from traditional to modern, from religious charities to professional social work.35 In Berlin, for example, a 1909 survey found that, whereas approximately 10,000 Jews belonged to one Jewish charitable organization, more than 7,000 belonged to two, and 1,100 belonged to three.36 Also, the names of women involved in Jewish communal affairs often appeared in the membership lists of secular organizations, such as Ethical Culture.37 With 5,000 clubs to choose from in Germany in 1906, Jewish women affiliated rapidly.38
Ost und West was one of several institutions that interested German-Jewish women, not least because of its rare combination of religious and enlightened Judaism. In addition to its other features that attracted women readers, the journal served as an update on Jewish philanthropy in Germany. The rise of Ost und West after its first years went hand in hand with the rise in Jewish women’s associations. By the turn of the century, every sizable town in Germany had such an association, a development that led to the establishment of the Jewish Women’s League (Jüdischer Frauenbund) in 1904.39 In addition, women who were Jewish or of Jewish origin also played a leading role in the fin-de-siècle women’s movement.40
Winz and his associates recognized that philanthropy was central to German-Jewish female identity in this epoch, and they sought to direct this philanthropy toward ethnic Judaism. (In fact, one of the first works of art reproduced in Ost und West showed women yearning for Zion; see fig. 7.) This agenda decisively influenced Ost und West after 1908, when the German law banning women’s political activities (the Vereinsgesetz) was abolished.41 Female Jewish ethnicity became a viable possibility in the Kaiserreich, as German-Jewish women’s voluntarism moved away from old-fashioned religious tsedakah to a more secular approach to social welfare. Helping the needy, sick, and hungry was the goal of the “social motherhood” ideology of the German women’s movement, where some Jews played leading roles.42 But the philanthropy of these women never lost its distinctive Jewish character. For the new “social housekeeping” approach to philanthropy called for individualized relief and the careful monitoring of clients’ needs. And many of these clients were Ostjuden.
Eastern Jewish beggars, transients, and travelers often received charity from Jewish women in Germany. Those Jewish women who identified with Eastern Jews were, by Ost und West’s standards, making the right gesture. Their motives, even if self-serving, could be redirected into an Eastern Jewish nationalism. Yet they still shared the bourgeois civility of their non-Jewish sisters in Germany. At times, it appeared that their charitable activities were meant to protect or even promote their middle-class (or, in some cases, upper-class) status. This criticism of German-Jewish women is most relevant to their attitudes toward Eastern and other needy Jews. At worst, these women were disapproving of working-class Jews and Ostjuden; at best, their behavior was patronizing or paternalistic.43 Precisely because it is difficult to draw the line between condescension and benevolence, this study will use the neutral term philanthropic to describe German-Jewish women’s charity toward Jews perceived as their social inferiors.
Before analyzing how Ost und West’s writings about Ostjuden encouraged this form of altruism, we must first describe the social and cultural context of women’s philanthropy toward Eastern Jewry. While the organizations German-Jewish women founded were among the most advanced in the field of social welfare, they also could be dauntingly professional in addressing the so-called plight of the Ostjude. Ost und West felt it necessary to attack this new philanthropy and its ideological derivatives. In A. Benesra’s (Binjamin Segel’s) “Philosophie der Zerstreuung” (January 1905), what appeared to be a modified plan for self-help was actually a veiled critique of Jewish welfare practices aimed at the Alliance Israélite Universelle and the Jewish Colonial Association.44 (This critique, however, also may have been motivated by sexism, for the Alliance was popular with Jewish women, having been one of the first large Jewish organizations to admit women as members. Jewish women were repeatedly addressed in Alliance-sanctioned statements in Ost und West.)45 These institutions, along with the Zionist movement, were regarded as having assumed the character of large fund-raising enterprises.46 Political Zionism seemed to be expanding the Diaspora by accelerating the pace of Jewish migration. Instead of urging Jews to emigrate whenever possible, Segel advocated on-site efforts to change the political, economic, and social conditions where Jews already lived. He thus maintained that Jewish altruism was synonymous with self-help. By implementing new theories of social welfare and replacing the old donor-oriented practices, a more equitable relationship might develop between Eastern Jews and Western Jews, one that emphasized the more neutral role of helper over that of custodian. The two were to be brought together under the banner of Jewish ethnicity.
Figure 7. Eduard Bendemann, “An den Wassern Babels” [By the Waters of Babylon]. Ost und West (January 1901): 15–16. (Courtesy of the Harry Ransom Research Center, University of Texas.)
But East-West Jewish relations were, in truth, not as patronizing as Segel described them. Even though many Jewish Gemeinden were condescending in their philanthropy, others (with Berlin at the forefront) spent a great deal of money to sensitize their members to the needs of impoverished Jews from the East (see introduction above). Ost und West’s altruism was for the most part ideologically neutral. To avoid offending other groups, it was not unusual for Winz and his colleagues to support both autonomous endeavors by Eastern Jews and Western-based relief efforts.47
The philanthropy of German-Jewish women at the turn of the century was also in a double bind. At certain times, these women betrayed a “certain distance and feeling of superiority” over Eastern Jews; at other times, their encounters with Eastern Jews were untroubled.48 In short, there is little evidence that German-Jewish women despised their Eastern coreligionists.49 Instead, they viewed it as their duty to help immigrant Jews adjust to German society.50 Not bent on making foreign Jews assimilate, they felt could inculcate them with Western middle-class values without maligning their Eastern Jewish religiosity, style of dress, or manner of speech. When in doubt, then, German Jewry interceded on behalf of Jews from the East, sensing that attacks on foreign Jews called into question their own security as citizens of the Kaiserreich.51 Jewish women also volunteered to aid refugees through sponsoring adult education, girls’ clubs, reading rooms, kindergartens, and vocational schools.
An example of this combined mission to educate and to uplift the Jewish lower classes through liberal philanthropy was the Toynbee Halls in London and Vienna. Reported on in Ost und West (April 1901) by its founder, Leon Kellner, the Viennese Toynbee Hall fostered Jewish-only education in a context hospitable to both wealthy and indigent Jews. This mission was accomplished by sponsoring free courses, tea evenings, and especially lectures and music. The hall, like similar institutions, was careful to include working-class Jews in these activities. Kellner boasted that Western Jews eventually stopped smirking when the Eastern Jews spoke up in Yiddish or Yiddish-accented German. By at least one account, contacts between women from East and West were cordial.52 Apparently, the Toynbee Hall in Vienna was a minor success, drawing large audiences and competing successfully with other sensationalist amusements in Vienna, such as the “self-hating Jewish comedy” of the theater and “popular, non-Wagnerian music” of other venues.53
One other Viennese “amusement” discussed by Kellner was prostitution. Like Kellner, Jewish women perceived it as their duty to save Eastern Jewish women from the scourge of prostitution and the white slave trade. In this arena, Jewish philanthropy came to the fore again, hoping to uplift the “tainted” Jews of the East. Bertha Pappenheim (1859–1936), leader of the Jüdischer Frauenbund, wrote in Ost und West that Eastern Jewish prostitution was a shameful and “embarrassing” problem.54 One of the more policy-oriented attempts to rectify the “debasement” of Eastern Jewish women was Fabius Schach’s 1903 proposal in Ost und West. Schach, one of the journal’s main contributors and himself an Ostjude from Riga (Latvia), favored employing the endangered women in domestic service. This was one of a number of proposals to train Russian and Galician Jewish girls to be maids.55 Schach’s plan had the advantage of seeing the moral (sittlich) issue as a “bleeding social question.” At the same time, he claimed that his plan would rectify the lack of “good help” available.
The need of German-Jewish women to uplift the Ostjuden (and Ostjüdinnen) was incorporated in a new strategy that aimed to equate their philanthropic outlook with the “Eastern Jewish question.” Schach and the other leading writers of Ost und West hoped to persuade middle-class women to identify positively with downtrodden Eastern Jews—and especially with young male artists. This strategy was among the journal’s earliest efforts to promote Jewish ethnic identity to its female readers using a positive approach that eschewed negative stereotyping. Before describing this approach, we must briefly outline how it developed.
Few negative stereotypes of Western or Eastern Jewish women appear in the early years of Ost und West. While negative images of the Jewish male predominate in European history, more specific explanations are likely for the dearth of female caricatures in Ost und West. For one, Winz and his associates needed the Jewish female audience. Precisely because this audience was well organized and decidedly middle-class, the men behind Ost und West would have to reduce any overt misogyny. If they could not flatter Jewish female readers, then they could at least avoid offending them by adding to the negative images of the Jewish woman then appearing in humor magazines such as Simplicissimus. In addition, Winz and the contributors to the journal were undoubtedly aware of the relatively low rate of female apostasy in the Kaiserreich. Why criticize Jewish women, when they were one of the forces stemming the tide of assimilation?
Against this backdrop, Ost und West made an effort to promote a positive Jewish ethnic identity for women in its early years. In featuring strong role models, Ost und West’s earliest essays and stories targeted women reared on Western Jewish religiosity and philanthropy. In fact, apostasy and intermarriage among women were the matized in the very first issue of the journal. One short article, “Beethoven’s erste Liebe” (January 1901), reveals that Beethoven’s first love was a German-Jewish woman who broke off the romance with the composer on her own initiative. What is interpreted as brave resistance to intermarriage set the tone for other discussions of female apostasy in Ost und West.56 Since the journal constantly singled out Vienna’s epidemic of baptisms (Taufseuche),57 Winz published a satire featuring a positive belle juive.58 Possibly written by Segel (under the pseudonym of “Ysaye”), “Die Jüdin. Eine Wiener Skizze” (April 1904)59 directly confronts the issues of conversion and intermarriage. The central figure of this sketch is Renée Rothstein, a Jewish singer making her social debut at a Viennese ball.60 An excellent artist, a true beauty, and of untarnished reputation,61 Rothstein embodies the innocent, beautiful Jewess of lore. But as she enters the ball, she is snubbed by the other guests as well as the host. Since the host is also her escort, a minor scandal erupts. Rothstein responds with strength, decrying antisemitism and thus proving to Ost und West’s (female) readers that apostasy of all kinds can be resisted.
Not all images in Ost und West of Jewish women challenged by apostasy were this sympathetic. The earliest and most negative image of the female apostate to appear was an undated painting by Nicolai Pimonenko (1862–1912) titled “Baptized Jewess in Her [Home] Village” (July 1901) (see fig. 8). In a dramatic scene set in Russia, Jews surround a young woman who has converted. This image was sold in reproduction by Winz’s Phönix Verlag and was repeatedly advertised in Ost und West.62
Figure 8. Nicolai Pimonenko, “Getaufte Jüdin im Heimatsdorf.” Ost und West (July 1901): 489–90.
The negative impact of conversion was also commonly hinted at in prose fiction about Jewish women. In stories such as Salter’s “Die Tempelfahrt” (discussed above in chapter 3), the wives and daughters of parvenus were singled out for special treatment. Yet they were also relieved of responsibility: the male parvenu was invariably the butt of satire. Similarly, “Sünde: Aus dem Leben eines kleinen Mädchens” by Josefa Metz (May 1904) depicts Jewish women as more susceptible to minor lapses in observance than to the full-blown parvenuism of Jewish men. Eva Neuberg, the little girl of the satire’s subtitle, behaves like a miniature version of her Tiergartenjudentum parents. This vain preadolescent is tortured by pangs of conscience while attending a Yom Kippur service at synagogue. The narrator takes the reader into Eva’s stream of consciousness as she comes to terms with the sin of having recently eaten ham for the first time. The trivialization of this and other peccadilloes drives her superficial Judaism home to the reader. In the climactic scene, Eva falls asleep during the sermon and dreams of God sitting in judgment over her family. The God of her imagination resembles her assimilationist grandfather, who always kept a bust of Goethe on his desk. To her ultimate relief, Eva dreams that she is written into the Book of Life—not the Book of Death—on this Day of Atonement.
Even though Eva was just a little girl, she represented something new in Ost und West: a negative stereotype of a female apostate. While Jewish women reading “Sünde” might laugh at Eva’s sins, they were encouraged to ask themselves how well they were educating their own children in things Jewish. What appeared innocuous was to become part of a new agenda intended to raise the ethnic consciousness of Jewish women reading Ost und West. The new program, delineated by Fabius Schach, intended to do away altogether with stereotypes that played on women’s religious identity. In fact, Schach’s “Zur Psychologie des Renegatentums” (July 1903) directly addresses German-Jewish women. In an effort to make them into good Jewish nationalists, he proposes replacing their fears of assimilation with idealized images of Eastern Jewry. At the outset, Schach issues an apologia for apostates, parvenus, and other Jewish renegades. Yet, halfway through his proscriptive essay, Schach turns anti-assimilationist and anti-apostate, calling directly on Jewish women readers to rescue Judaism by giving it an East European orientation.63
Schach takes a circuitous route to that conclusion. He begins by making reading his link between Western and Eastern Jewry. In the first paragraphs of “Zur Psychologie des Renegatentums,” he offers a rare glimpse into how Ost und West’s main writers looked at reading, in particular the reading of Jewish texts. Having studied at the Volozhin yeshiva, the largest and best known in Eastern Europe, Schach makes a melodrama out of his own experiences of reading as a teenager: “At night I sit in my little room by candlelight and furtively read German books, trembling in awe, like a delicate virgin who is reading her chosen one’s declarations of love” (452–53; emphasis added).64 Here Schach compares an Eastern Jewish teenage boy to a Jewish woman, a connection that would become a preoccupation in Ost und West as the journal used positive stereotypes of Ostjuden to appeal to Jewish female readers.
To strengthen this connection of Eastern Jewish male to Western Jewish female, Schach’s autobiographical narrative of westernization becomes more and more sentimental:
And it comes over me like a heavenly torrent, as if a new, airy, free soul were entering me. And every German poem is a revelation, every new thought a fount of pure knowledge. And a wild, consuming yearning seizes me: Away from this stifling atmosphere, this world of rigid formulae and dead letters! Into the world of beauty and freedom! The first blossoms of love can never flower more delicately, more divinely than this fervor for culture [Bildungsinbrunst]. (453)65
Reading is more than enlightening here; it becomes transgressive, unorthodox, even erotic. Ost und West, along with Schach, clearly hoped that German-Jewish women would be similarly affected by reading—with one crucial distinction: Winz and his associates wanted women to experience enthusiasm when reading about Eastern Jewish topics by Eastern Jewish authors. Schach offers Jewish women guidelines for reading the Eastern Jewish culture found in Ost und West in the following passage, where, in contrast to his earlier worship for Western culture, he begins to take critical stock of his youthful love:
But then I look back on everything that has been dear to me until now, and I fear I have destroyed something. Two worlds struggle in my young breast; I separate myself from much of the old with tears in my eyes, and vow that I will become a messenger of light, a bearer of culture, devoting my life to the enlightenment of my people. It happened to every one of us this way, just as it had happened to our ancestors in western Europe a hundred years earlier. (453)
In this passage, Schach shows empathy for male and female Jews who acculturated in the Mendelssohnian era. He even appears—contrary to Ost und West’s stereotyping of Jewish parvenus—to comprehend why some Jews never returned to their traditional roots and never understood the culture of the old (Eastern) world.66
But Schach does not believe that tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner. He thus writes off his euphoria over German literature as a youthful transgression. What is more, he serves up a new periodization of Jewish history, indeed, of the history of Jewish assimilation. Drawing a strict line after 1871, Schach condemns all forms of Jewish apostasy in the Second Reich and reinterprets the epoch of Mendelssohn, the maskilim, and Gabriel Riesser as the golden age of German Jewry. He is shocked that more Jews than ever before are being baptized in the Kaiserreich. For him, conversion is tantamount to violating the laws of 1869 and 1871 that granted Jews full rights before the law (at least on paper). Schach now switches the thrust of his previous stereotyping and attacks German-Jewish apostates as cold-hearted opportunists completely lacking in character. In effect, he blames the victims, arguing that the behavior of apostate Jews fuels antisemitism. Jewish converts to Christianity—even if they are presumably citizens of the German empire—are ultimately seen through the eyes of racialist science: they are “sick” and “degenerate.”
Having revised the history of Jewish renegades in such terms, Schach finally strikes a compromise. His ideal Jew, the type catered to by Ost und West, is a “Jewish modern” (jüdischer Moderner).67 Engaging reader interest by using the first-person plural, Schach lays out his agenda for an ethnic Judaism: “We need to educate our Jewish youth better, in a manner more geared toward the soul (Seele). We need good Jewish stories and good Jewish poems that we can give to young people; we need a revival of Jewish literature (Poesie), an awakening of the Jewish soul, in a word: a kind of Jewish renaissance” (460). Characteristically, Schach places culture at the center of his program against apostasy, thus departing little from earlier pronouncements in Ost und West such as the unsuccessful literary contest.68 In addition, he contends that what is good for Jewish youth is good for Jewish adults. Besides Jewish literature, all age groups need Jewish art, popular Jewish scholarship, Jewish publishing houses, inexpensive publications, enlightening lectures, and poetry readings. But how is Schach’s ethnic agenda to be realized? “Those are all things that we need very much, but what we need even more is the Jewish house, i.e., the Jewish home adorned in beauty and harmony, where Jewish life can feel at home and can evolve freely. And we need Jewish mothers, even more than Jewish fathers, i.e., women whose Judaism is a part of their emotional life (Gemütsleben). For only such women are competent and qualified to raise (erziehen) our young people to the highest levels” (462). Knowing that Jewish women have the power to keep their men and children within the fold, Schach imagines them creating homes filled with Jewish tradition and Western aesthetics. While not further defining the proper Jewish family environment, Schach clearly sees Jewish mothers as all-important figures. The “us” describing Schach and his audience embraces both the Eastern yeshive bokher and his Western middle-class patronesses.
In this peculiar synthesis of young Eastern men and philanthropic Western women, Schach subtly plays off acculturation and its opposite: re-ethnification. In the process, he presents his female readers with positive stereotypes of Ostjuden that are reinforced by illustrations accompanying the text. “Im Tempel zu Tripolis” (453–54) derives, interestingly enough, from the Orientalist oeuvre of Ismael Gentz (1862–1914), a non-Jewish artist who lived in the Middle East. In the painting, a small and effeminate East European (or Oriental Jewish) male is studying a sacred text in faint candlelight (fig. 9). The maternal and mostly married (see the head-covered female figure in the magazine’s cover art) readers of Ost und West were encouraged to sympathize with the stunted man-child of the painting, one of numerous images in the journal of Jewish men studying Talmud.69
A second visual image reiterates the theme that Jewish mothers must guard against assimilation. “Weib mit Ziegen” (457–58) by the Western Jewish artist Max Liebermann underlines the message of the second half of Schach’s essay. This reproduction depicts a woman leading two goats, but whereas one goat obediently accompanies the woman, the other goat, trying to walk in the opposite direction, must be restrained by a leash (fig. 10). The placement of the painting in this context suggests that children and other dependents are supposed to obey their parents. The trope of the philanthropic Western woman is illustrated in the image of an older women taking care of two smaller creatures.
This sort of interplay between text and image was common in Ost und West. It served to conjoin Western and Eastern Jewry by associating Western Jewish mothers with Eastern Jewish boys. In fact, this trope reappeared with increasing frequency in the discourse of West-to-East Jewish philanthropy. For in addition to Schach’s autobiographical narrative, which presents an Eastern Jewish teenager as the object of identification, Ost und West published other philanthropic narratives of Eastern Jewish artists whom Jewish patronesses had taken under their wing.
Representative of this genre is “Heinrich Redlich. Erinnerungen” (January 1906) by Lina Morgenstern (1830–1910). Morgenstern’s memoir describes how she liberated Heinrich Redlich (1840–1889), a young Polish-Jewish artist, from his East European “ghetto.” The memoir is typical of other rags-to-riches stories in Ost und West, stories in which Jewish artists emerge from lowly origins in the East to become (minor) stars in the West. When recounted by Western Jewish narrators, these accounts made their protagonists more legitimate.
Figure 9. Ismael Gentz, “Im Tempel zu Tripolis.” Ost und West (July 1903): 453–54. (Courtesy of the Harry Ransom Research Center, University of Texas.)
Whereas Redlich was not well known, even by Ost und West’s standards, Morgenstern was the leading German-Jewish woman of her generation. Featured in one article and an obituary in Ost und West, Morgenstern was actually discussed more than any other woman in the journal. Born in Breslau, an East-West border city (and Freytag’s setting for Soll und Haben), she was renowned for her philanthropy at an early age. A popular writer, translated into many languages, she was also the founder of the Berlin food pantry and the Berlin Housewives’ Association (Hausfrauenverein), a leading advocate of Friedrich Fröbe’s Kindergarten pedagogy, and a distinguished national servant in the Franco-Prussian war.
Figure 10. Max Liebermann, “Weib mit Ziegen.” Ost und West (1903): 457–58. (Courtesy of the Harry Ransom Research Center, University of Texas.)
Redlich was the featured artist of the January 1906 issue of Ost und West. This was no small feat. Since subscriptions to Ost und West were customarily renewed in December, the January issues of Ost und West were always especially important. Yet Morgenstern’s comments on Redlich are preceded by one other narrative: a biographical introduction to Morgenstern’s accomplishments by the scholar Adolf Kohut (1848–1917), titled “Lina Morgenstern.” Kohut depicts Morgenstern as the grande dame of German women. But in resolving a perceived tension between Morgenstern’s activism and her “virtue,” Kohut clearly prefers the latter. For him, Morgenstern’s womanhood is bound up with her role as caregiver and as nurturer. In addition, her honor consists in her firm “Israelite” belief in progress and humanitarianism. A housewife with a family, Morgenstern is never a “feminist” in the negative sense; she is always restrained and respectable. She becomes a paragon of Western Jewish motherhood, an inoffensive activist whose love for husband and children comes first (38).
In these and other narratives from Ost und West’s middle period, German-Jewish women’s philanthropy toward Eastern Jewish men was venerated. Specifically, Ost und West’s idolizing of the Eastern Jewish artist and Kohut’s favorable view of Western female activism came together in Morgensterns account of the young Redlich. In this memoir, Redlich is introduced as a veritable Polish-Jewish Horatio Alger, who, by moving to Berlin, has retraced the footsteps of numerous Eastern Jews eager for enlightenment. But even here, enlightenment has its limits: Redlich is stigmatized by his Yiddish accent despite his modest success as an artist in Breslau and elsewhere. Morgenstern confronts the reader with Redlich’s tragic death resulting from a severe mental illness that she describes in the final third of the biography. While her view of Redlich as mentally ill almost certainly draws on negative stereotypes of Eastern Jews, it also provides a befitting closure to her hagiographical narrative.
Morgenstern’s memoir was not the first account of a German-Jewish woman identifying with an Eastern Jewish artist. In the 1903 volume of Ost und West, writer and critic Rosalie Perles illustrates a similar partnership. Perles, the wife of rabbinical scholar Joseph Perles and mother of rabbinical scholar Felix Perles, was a lay leader of the Königsberg Jewish community which was being constantly replenished by Jewish immigrants from the east and south. Her philanthropic outlook is most apparent in an essay entitled “Henryk Glicenstein” (March 1903).70 For Perles, four traits sum up the sculptor Glicenstein: he is from Russian Poland, he is Jewish, he is indigent, and he is an artistic genius. Once again, a Jewish female sponsor deems a young, poor Eastern Jewish artist worthy of success. Perles goes so far as to claim that Glicenstein is better disposed toward females because his father, a melamed (or elementary school teaching assistant), likely beat him. For her, this is why most of Glicenstein’s patrons are Jewish women. Despite the goodwill of these guardian angels, Glicenstein’s “Eastern Jewishness” has handicapped him in his efforts to ingratiate himself. His external appearance and self-presentation resemble that of a “Polish yeshiva bokher” (180) (see fig. 11). And in Munich, where he resided before moving to Italy, Glicenstein is apparently impeded by his deficient manner of speech.71 By parenthetically adding that “speaking is Glicenstein’s weakest side” (182), Perles indicates that the source of corruption here is Yiddish, making Glicenstein one of many Eastern Jews burdened with an inherent difficulty in handling the German language (and, by implication, Western discourse).72
At the close of Perles’s lengthy biography, we find the same ambivalence that Morgenstern earlier expressed about Redlich. Even though Glicenstein was still living when Perles penned her article, his life is stamped as tragic; his demise, like that of other Eastern Jewish artists depicted in Ost und West, appears imminent. In addition, much is made of the gap between his outstanding reputation and his financial poverty. The continual return of old clichés about Ostjuden in this and other narratives as tragic charity cases reveals how distant patroness and client actually were. Not surprisingly, Perles’s empathy for Glicenstein’s “predicament” renders him a messiah figure and a Jewish nationalist. Glicenstein’s art is said to have a positive “jüdische Note” despite the fact that most of it was portraiture. Like other reviewers of Eastern Jewish artists in Ost und West, Perles believed that her artist’s future works would be saturated with Jewish content (192).
Ost und West’s strategy was to bring the German-Jewish female audience to Eastern Jewish culture by idolizing the artistic, “authentic” Ostjude. This linkage often was underscored by juxtaposing narratives of the Eastern Jewish artist with texts that idealized Jewish women. Perles’s narrative of Glicenstein, for example, was foregrounded by Binjamin Segel’s expurgated selection of proverbs, “Die Frau im jüdischen Sprichwort” (March 1903). By making such connections, Winz and his colleagues hoped to raise the ethnic consciousness of German-Jewish women.
Yet, while the stereotype of the Eastern Jewish artist in need of uplifting was created for the German-Jewish woman, the stereotype was weighed down by two factors: the burden of the artist’s origins and the patronizing of his spiritual benefactors. Thus, Morgenstern’s, Perles’s, and even Schach’s narratives of youthful Eastern artists were not enough to make German-Jewish women identify with Eastern Jewish men in the manner proposed by Ost und West. Old attitudes about the backwardness of Ostjuden were simply too tenacious. In addition, Jewish women felt compelled to affirm their bourgeois status and Western identity. For it was only by differentiating themselves from Eastern Jewish or working-class inferiors that the bourgeoises of Ost und West could themselves become part of the German-Jewish elite.
As we have seen, the traditional philanthropy of German-Jewish women was bound up with older negative images of the Ostjuden, a link that constantly threatened to undermine Ost und West’s promotion of ethnic Judaism to the female Jewish audience. What was needed were new criticisms of Western Jewry that went beyond the traditional impetus for charity motivating such figures as Morgenstern and Perles. While the fiction of Vicki Baum (1888–1960), the best known of Ost und West’s women writers, seemed to criticize Western Jewry by focusing on weak, dependent Jews in an Eastern ghetto milieu, her philanthropic narratives went one step further. They were ultimately shaped by enlightened Judaism, mixed together with the older trope of the Western Jewish patroness and the dependent Eastern Jewish male artist. Yet these fictions were so open to interpretation that Winz and Segel would feel compelled to counteract their ambiguity, especially their unpleasant images of Ostjuden.73
Figure 11. Henryk Glicenstein. Ost und West (March 1903): 177–78. (Courtesy of the Harry Ransom Research Center, University of Texas.)
Baum, best known today for her Grand Hotel (Menschen im Hotel, 1929), was already a talent in the making when Winz decided to publish her “Im alten Haus” (January 1910). Although she was a mere twenty-two years old at the time, her skillful command of popular narrative and her understanding of social systems of distinction point to her later success in the Weimar Republic as a creator and editor of middle-brow fiction for the blockbuster Ullstein Verlag, where she was offered a lucrative exclusive contract to become a staff writer and edit a glossy women’s magazine.74 Baum’s “Rafael Gutmann” (January and February 1911) showed glimpses of her style of the 1920s in which she developed a narrative economy marked by suspense, tension, foreshadowing, and the interplay of desire and fear.75
Winz, ever astute, correctly anticipated that Baum would be a hit. Prior to Baum, women writers rarely appeared in Ost und West, not even under male pseudonyms. Many female-sounding names disguised the identities of male authors. In the early years, the non-Jewish poet Dolorosa was the exception, along with several painters. Rachel Mundlak (1887–?), a Polish Jew and the in-house artist after Lilien moved on, was the most visible artist in the magazine, of equal profile with Pilichowsky and Hirshenberg. Other female artists featured were Marie Dillon (1858–?), in May 1904; Helene von Mises, in December 1905; Marie Cohen, in March 1905; Helene Darmesteter, in February 1907; Käthe Münzer, in January 1908; Sophie Blum-Lazarus, in June 1908; Julie Wolfthorn, in December 1911; and Margot Lipmann, in November 1912.
Until Baum’s “Im alten Haus,” then, there had been very little activity by women in Ost und West—all the more reason why regular readers would have taken note of her stories.76 To point out the journal’s new commitment to contributions by women, Baum’s second work in Ost und West, “Rafael Gutmann,” was preceded by a feature on the “interesting” textile designs of a Berlin Jewish woman (fig. 12), “Eine interessante Handarbeit” (January 1911).77 This gesture also may have been a nod in the direction of the Jewish women’s movement, which had evolved rapidly after the 1908 legalization of women’s associations in Germany.
A fine preview of Baum’s later works, “Im alten Haus” equivocates on Jewish issues as well as women’s issues. As a critique of a prototypical Jewish ghetto and its inhabitants, its point of view is neither discernibly Western nor Eastern Jewish; in addition, it reveals nothing to identify its locale as Baum’s native Vienna. The main character is a decrepit, elderly Jewish woman who owns a ritual bath (mikve).78 As a metaphor for the assimilation process, she eventually goes blind after allowing herself to be operated on by a doctor. When her children decide to sell the house and leave the Jewish quarter, she drowns herself in the basement mikve. On the one hand, the spectacle of sick Jews living and working underground anticipated Nazi calumnies directed against Jews; on the other hand, the story’s critique of the ghetto, though harsh, was directed at all European Jewish locales in the Diaspora (galut in Hebrew or goles in Yiddish).
Figure 12. Hedwig Wollsteiner, “Eine interessante Handarbeit”. Ost und West (January 1911): 35–36.
Yet from the Eastern Jewish nationalist standpoint of Ost und West, the Diaspora of Western—not of Eastern—Europe was in need of renewal. To underscore its anti-Western, non-Zionist bias, Ost und West framed “Im alten Haus” with several photographs of proud-looking Oriental Jews (fig. 13).79 In addition, the editors juxtaposed the story with an obituary of Lina Morgenstern (fig. 14).80 While praising Morgenstern’s work on behalf of all Jews, the author concurs with Kohut’s earlier account (discussed above) by ascribing to her the following roles: mother and wife first, philanthropist second, activist third. This negative understanding of Western Jewish women’s roles tacitly belittled Baum’s protagonist in “Im alten Haus,” not to speak of Baum’s own accomplishments as a Western Jewish female writer.
Baum’s second story in Ost und West, “Rafael Gutmann,” avoids women characters for the most part. Yet it has an Eastern Jewish male protagonist, Rafael Gutmann, who is depicted as effeminate or even homosexual (“queer”).81 This type of characterization, as was so often the case in Ost und West, enabled female readers to identify with an Eastern Jewish artist. As a typical narrative of philanthropy, the story excoriates the Jewish ghetto, parodying the Yiddish language as Mauscheln. Rafael is a traditional (or “Orthodox”) Eastern Jew who longs to be westernized.82 Although the son of a secondhand clothes dealer, he discovers his love of song, becoming a choir boy and soloist at an elegant Liberal Jewish synagogue. He also sings magnificently and speaks flawless German, in stark contrast to his Yiddish-speaking family. Yet his father, Lazar, bent on making a retailer out of him, compels him to leave music and Liberal Judaism behind.
Weak-willed, Rafael accedes to his father’s wishes in the second half of the novella.83 He becomes a caftan-wearing clerk in a dingy store in the Jewish quarter. To make matters worse, his blind ex-mentor, Menkis, betrays him by marrying the non-Jewish soprano Corinna. Yet Rafael is fatally infatuated with Corinna, even composing a folk song for her. (This so-called Russian folk song functions as a cipher for many Yiddish folk songs collected by Winz and published in Ost und West. In order to lend these “low” cultural products a degree of legitimacy, one segment of the story is juxtaposed with a Lied based on Heine’s poem “Das gold’ne Kalb”; see fig. 15.) Ultimately, the young man’s desire to make it in the West remains unfulfilled. Typecast as a degenerate, he can resist neither the familiar ghetto milieu nor the allure of Wagner’s music; indeed, he knows Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Tristan und Isolde by heart. After escaping the ghetto to attend the opera one final time, Rafael commits suicide, literally divided between the two worlds of East and West, tradition and modernity.
Baum’s own childhood was not unlike Rafael’s. A musical prodigy, she studied harp at the Vienna Konservatorium and appeared with various orchestras in her teens and twenties. Her family life was also troubled, despite comfortable middle-class surroundings: she depicts herself in her memoirs as having been traumatized not only by her father—who at times called her “son”—but also by her mentally disturbed mother whom she was compelled to nurse for several years.
Figure 13. Photos of Oriental Jews.
Ost und West (January 1910): 25, 39.
Figure 14. Photo of Lina Morgenstern.
Ost und West (January 1906): 37–38.
Music was not the only means Baum used to escape her repressive family environment. As a teenager, she entered and won a literary contest after having been forbidden to read by her father. At eighteen, she left home to marry Max Prels, a writer. Baum continued to write during their marriage, well enough that Prels sold several of her stories under his name to the German magazine Velhagen und Klasings Monatshefte.84 By 1912, a year after publication of “Rafael Gutmann” in Ost und West, Baum divorced Prels and left Vienna to take a position with the Darmstadt city orchestra; she married its conductor, Richard Lert (a non-Jew), in 1916.
Where do Jewish women readers fit into this picture? For his part, the musically gifted ghetto boy Rafael was destined to appeal to bourgeois Jewish women. Materially and spiritually impoverished, weak and unmanly, he practically cries out for rescue from the ghetto. Through Western culture, Rafael hopes to break out of his stifling milieu, not unlike Redlich and Glicenstein and other Eastern Jewish artists—and not unlike Baum and the female readers who may have identified with them.
Figure 15. Musical notes to Heine’s “Das gold’ne Kalb.”
Ost und West (January 1911): 49–50.
At first glance, it is surprising that Winz and his colleagues would publish any images of Eastern Jews that were even slightly negative. But as we know, Ost und West did not always object to negative representations of Jewish ghettos or their inhabitants. Rather, the critique of the traditional Jewish milieu became a way to promote ethnic ideals of the new Jew, a Jew liberated from centuries of mental and physical stagnation. In fact, Baum’s ambivalent portrayal of Yiddish-speaking Ostjuden85 reflected competing receptions of the ghetto story (Ghettogeschichte). One school expressed longing for the old world; the other regarded it with disdain.86 At the turn of the century, the critique of the European Diaspora was a flourishing industry among Jewish intellectuals, whether Eastern or Western, socialist or Zionist.87 According to Scholem, Eastern Jewish discourse about the Jews, particularly in elitist Hebrew-language forums, could be even harsher than German-Jewish stereotyping of Jews.88 Micha Joseph Berdichevsky (1865–1921), representing the Nietzschean fringe, found no redeeming value in the Diaspora era. Aḥad Ha90
Ost und West’s ambivalence toward the Diaspora was influenced by Aḥad Ha91 Within the broad framework of Diaspora criticism, it was permissible to portray the figure of Rafael as a powerless but talented victim in need of Western philanthropy and Bildung.
The editors of Ost und West allowed these associations to resonate in their choice of illustrations to accompany “Rafael Gutmann.” The interplay of text and image was meant to encourage German-Jewish women (and men) to act philanthropically toward East European Jews. See, for instance, the commemorative medal designed by Hugo Kaufmann and titled “Den Helfern in der Not” (February 1911) (fig. 16). This medal, juxtaposed with Rafael’s final attempt at leaving the ghetto, thematizes the uplifting of the enslaved to freedom. One page later, we find a reproduction of Kaufmann’s “Freiheit” (fig. 17), a section of the “Unity Monument” (Einheitsdenkmal) in Frankfurt am Main. This sculpture of a seminude Herculean male epitomizes Western respectability—a stark contrast to Rafael’s weak and dependent nature. To drive the point home, a long article on Kaufmann directly precedes the final installment of Baum’s story. In this piece, Kaufmann serves as an icon of a Western Jewish artist who is successful and established. The reference to his spacious atelier in the Western suburbs of Berlin returns us full circle to the Western Jewish audience of Ost und West.
Figure 16. Hugo Kaufmann, “Den Helfern in der Not.” Ost und West (February 1911): 133.
Savvy promotion, as public relations people know, does not always function as intended. By bringing more German-language fiction about Jews to a largely German-Jewish audience, the editors of Ost und West may have been hoping to compensate for the failed literary contest of eight years earlier. In the end, however, their tolerance toward Jewish ghetto fictions was stretched to its limits by Baum’s “Rafael Gutmann.” When written from an Eastern Jewish perspective, a ghetto story typically excoriated the Diaspora ghetto. After all, this milieu was perceived as the breeding ground of Western parvenus. But when written from a Western Jewish perspective, as in the case of “Rafael Gutmann,” the stereotypes were potentially more detrimental to Jews. On the sensory level, for example, Baum associates the smell of onions and chicken fat with “ghetto Jews” (Ghettojuden).92 In addition, synagogue scenes in “Rafael Gutmann” are exotic and depict the worshipers as near-hysterics.93 And for any reader, the most conspicuous feature of the story is that many Jewish characters do not speak standard German.94 The stereotyping of Mauscheln (Yiddish-accented German) had a long history. Both Western- and Eastern-based writers employed the myth of the “corrupt and corrupting” language of the Jews when looking at the ghetto, but it was not difficult to discern an anti-Eastern bias in “Rafael Gutmann.”95 For Baum’s story appeared in the original German; there was no indication that it (like others in Ost und West) had been translated from Yiddish or Hebrew.
One did not have to examine the title carefully, however, to see that Baum’s analysis of the Jewish Diaspora was likely more influenced by enlightened Western (Jewish) thought than by Eastern Jewish traditionalism. Taken to its logical extreme, her thinking equated Rafael’s Judaism with femininity, madness, and a counterfeit creativity. Such an equation had become a centerpiece of turn-of-the-century science, in particular in the theories of Baum’s Viennese contemporary, Otto Weininger (1880–1903). Derided today as a paragon of “Jewish self-hatred,” Weininger’s views on race and gender mirrored those of his time and place; hence the popular appeal of his revised dissertation, Geschlecht und Charakter (1904, Sex and Character),96 which was praised by Freud, Karl Kraus (1874–1936), and others.97 It is not surprising that Vicki Baum, like many other Central European Jews, came under the spell of this young philosopher. In fact, Baum was an adolescent and a student in Vienna when the influence of Weininger was at its summit (between 1903 and 1910), and she refers to him in her autobiography.98
Figure 17. Hugo Kaufmann, “Freiheit.”
Ost und West (February 1911): 137–38.
Weininger’s contribution to the debate on racial degeneracy rests upon a strict dichotomy between the categories of “Jew” and “Aryan.” This corresponds in turn to a dichotomy between “masculine” and “feminine.” By extending the category of the feminine to the Jews (a move that gave Arthur Schopenhauer’s misogyny a “scientific” grounding), Weininger attempted to link them with psychopathology. The protagonist of “Rafael Gutmann” can be read as an exemplar of such “Jewish” symptoms. In his impotent attempts to assimilate to “Aryan” culture, Rafael resembles Weininger himself: a baptized Jew, repressed homosexual, and young suicide. In fact, the circumstances of Weininger’s self-destruction at age twenty-three may have influenced Baum’s novella. Weininger’s suicide became a cause célèbre and helped publicize his ideas. That he killed himself in the house where Beethoven died suggests a desire to identify with a Christian, “masculine” genius. Similar patterns can be found in “Rafael Gutmann.” Not only is Rafael stereotyped as an inferior, feminized Jew, but his suicide is also linked to Beethoven. This episode thus merits closer examination.
In part one of “Rafael Gutmann,” Rafael’s only escape from the darkness of the squalid Jewish quarter (Judengasse) has been music; he is infatuated with the opera and with the singer Corinna. The second installment of the novella relates Rafael’s atrophy in the ghetto environment. Prevailed upon by his father to abandon his musical aspirations, he gives up his starring role in the choir, and his confidence diminishes. Meanwhile, the ghetto continually “works on” Rafael, destroying his “fine, dreamy nature.” Externally and internally, he is transformed back into a “typical” ghetto Jew, and this retrograde Jewishness is described in terms suggesting impotence: Rafael is variously depicted as “unaware,” “without will,” “full of horror,” and “helpless.”
By the second half of “Rafael Gutmann,” a full year has passed without song and without visits to the opera. Deprived of Corinna, and therefore of music, Rafael is rendered a neurotic dreamer and hysteric. As if secretly aware of Rafael’s defiant unconscious, his father and his employer keep him under steady watch. Yet one February night while sleeping in the stifling kitchen of his parents’ flat, Rafael dreams of melodies and awakens in tears. This is a prelude to his final attempt at breaking out. As the store where he works is closing for the Sabbath, Rafael randomly glimpses a newspaper. There he sees a (dated) advertisement for Beethoven’s Fidelio, and, shedding his restraint, he decides to attend the opera one last time. This new resolve reiterates a dynamic that defines the novella as a whole: a movement between desire and repression—and, correspondingly, between assimilation and dissimilation.99 In perfect analogy, the play of desired and repressed dominates Beethoven’s Fidelio. The opera’s plot reflects Rafael’s wish to be rescued from ghetto imprisonment. The rescue of Don Fernando Florestan by his wife, Leonora—in the disguise of a male prison guard—points to Rafael’s passive hope that the Christian Corinna will rescue him from the scourge of the ghetto. Fidelio, as a politicized feminine body, calls male operatic roles into question; in the context of Rafael Gutmann, the opera’s cross-dressing motif evokes Weininger’s feminizing of the (male) Jew.
In deciding to attend the opera, Rafael’s pathology reaches its summit. Proceeding with his plan to attend Fidelio, Rafael takes his week’s wages and heads into town. But having just descended happily into the colorful, inviting city, his desire is met with resistance when he bumps into Moritz Belft, the son of his employer. The caricature of an Eastern Jew, Belft wonders out loud where Rafael might be going on the Sabbath. Rafael, undaunted by Belft’s “tricky questions,” emerges into the illuminated, sensual metropolis, and, arriving at the opera, he is taken in by the seductive smells of silk, perfume, and women’s hair.100 His red ticket underlines the dream atmosphere, suddenly punctuated by the appearance of Corinna, “lean[ing] against the wall, slender, pale, and blond” (140–41). Presumably leaning away from Menkis, who is seated, she has extended her hand down to him. This ultimate patronizing pose is reinforced by her gently affected smile. Her entire habitus suggests the condescension of the bourgeois philanthropist for the ghetto Jew.101 The suspense is heightened when the lights go down before Corinna can return Rafael’s glance. To his surprise, the opera is Tristan rather than Fidelio. As a devoted Wagnerian—like many other European Jews, especially women102—he soon grows receptive to Tristan and its theme of forbidden, decadent love. With head in hands, he trembles and sobs. At this point, Corinna lays her “free” hand on his head, a gesture elucidated by the accompanying illustration of Hugo Kaufmann’s “Einheit” (fig. 18). Kaufmann’s sculpture of an Athena-like female not only suggests the fatal unity of Tristan and Isolde; it also reinforces the symbolism of Corinna as assimilation, as the Enlightenment way out of the ghetto. In extending the succor of philanthropy, she functions in this text as a cipher for the middle-class Jewish female reader.
Demoralized after Tristan, Rafael reverts back to his effete, excitable Jewishness. In addition, he becomes aware of the rift between himself and his less than satisfactory benefactors. Menkis admonishes him in patronizing fashion: “Come again, Rafael…. Only, you can’t be so weak—a little backbone, and keep your head up!” (141). Here, Rafael’s inner lack of resolve is explicitly linked to his inferior Jewish body, suggesting that his future attempts to assimilate himself are condemned to failure. Listening to Rafael’s steps as he takes his leave, Menkis is apprehensive that he will not find the right path (Weg) for himself. Corinna—at a greater “racial” distance, as it were—articulates Menkis’s pessimism more fully: “Maybe—there is no right path for his kind [Art].” Both are convinced that this prisoner of the ghetto is doomed and that he does not have the power or will to save himself. Though still not conscious of his own decision to die (he returns briefly to gaze at his parents’ window), Rafael accepts it as a fait accompli. He is content to be leaving the corrupt and corrupting ghetto; when he kills himself, he will be killing off one more incarnation of its “Platonic form” (a favorite term of Weininger’s). In his last moments, Rafael is not sad. Engulfed in reverie, he feels a “strange, happy intoxication.” He acknowledges, as Menkis suspected earlier, that he is “without direction” (ohne Weg). (The repeated references to Rafael’s having lost his Weg may allude to Arthur Schnitzler’s comprehensive Zeitroman, Der Weg ins Freie (1908), which treats similar themes of Jewishness and aestheticism.) Oblivious to the snow and the biting cold, he reprises “Fatal Yearning” (“Todessehnsucht”), the introduction to Tristan, while waiting on the tracks for the approaching train.
Figure 18. Hugo Kaufmann, “Einheit.”
Ost und West (February 1911): 141–42.
How are we to interpret the allusions to Wagner in “Rafael Gutmann”? In Jewish nationalist (and Zionist) literature, the encounter with Wagner and his music is overshadowed by the maestro’s antisemitic pamphlet “Das Judenthum in der Musik” (1850).103 One of Ost und West’s serial novellas, Heinrich York-Steiner’s “Koriander, der Chasan” (October 1904, November 1904, December 1904), is typical of such a reading of Wagner. In this proto–Jazz Singer narrative, the protagonist’s Hungarian shtetl roots enable him to overcome negative Wagnerian influences and the allure of a Gentile diva (fig. 19) and become a successful (but proudly Jewish) opera star. Yet, in “Rafael Gutmann,” the role played by Wagner is different. Because Rafael is inherently unworthy of the great Beethoven’s legacy, he shares a kinship with the modern decadent Wagner and, by extension, Weininger. What is more, in Weininger’s eyes, even the great antisemite Wagner was polluted because of a reputed accretion of “Jewishness” in his art.104 In his regression to ghetto Jewishness, Rafael thus shares Wagner’s proclivity for death and the Dionysian.105
It matters little for our interpretation of “Rafael Gutmann” that Wagner was not a genius by Weininger’s standards. More important are Weininger’s judgments of Jewish notables such as Spinoza and Heine, who, like women, possess either superficial genius or no genius at all. Weininger’s conjectures here are linked with music and language. For him, women’s language is lies, as is the Jew’s deformed language (Mauscheln), and Weininger’s insistence on this point illuminates Baum’s focus on Yiddish, song, and Wagner in “Rafael Gutmann.” In fact, Rafael becomes the classic Jew of Weininger’s schema. Much as he, in the first part of the story, shows little fear that the way he speaks or sings German is embarrassing, his career ends so rapidly as to suggest that his golden choirboy days had been a lie. A key passage from Sex and Character sheds light on Rafael’s flightiness and oversensitivity and radical shifts between assimilation and dissimilation: “This temptation [to lie] has to be stronger in a being such as w[oman], because, unlike that of man, her memory is not continuous; rather she lives only in moments, as it were, discrete, unconnected, discontinuous, swayed by transitory events instead of dominating them.”106 Rafael, too, has degenerated back into a mendacious “ghetto-ness”: he thinks like a Jew and like a woman. He lacks the capacity for dominance necessary to be a Nietzschean creator who “wills” his life.
Baum’s protagonist Rafael is thus a distillate of “feminine” and “Jewish” characteristics. In his impotent attempts to assimilate to “Aryan” culture, Rafael directly resembles Weininger. Through allusions to Weininger as well as Oscar Wilde and Jugendstil, Baum created an emasculated Jewish “queer.” For while Rafael is depicted as a fan of a cross-dressing opera (Beethoven’s Fidelio) and a decadent, self-mortifying one (Wagner’s Tristan), he is a failure at assimilation, indeed at “passing.”107 On the one hand, he is a sympathetic teenage singer struggling to escape his Eastern Jewish ghetto milieu. On the other hand, he bears the classic symptoms of degeneracy: Ostjudentum, unmanliness, hysteria, and pseudo-genius.
Figure 19. Isaak Snowman, “Sardanopolis.”
Ost und West (November 1904): 789–90.
In the end, however, “Rafael Gutmann” was too multivalent for any single interpretive framework. Ost und West’s audience of German-Jewish women (and men) was thus free to identify with and then dissociate itself from the Eastern Jewish boy-artist. In effect, Baum’s novella invited Jewish readers to graft negative self-images onto a perceived “Other”: a nonthreatening ghetto Ostjude. A feminized Western Jewish self might be projected onto the East European Jewish subgroup, exemplified by Rafael. At the same time, the publication of “Rafael Gutmann” revealed how flexible the editors of Ost und West could be in their choice of contributions, even when those contributions appeared to attack Eastern Jewry, as in the case of Baum’s antighetto fictions. These fictions ironically empowered Western Jewish women (and men) to escape their own inner ghettos by means of Jewish antisemitism.108 Such a move, however, was at cross-purposes with Ost und West’s agenda and became the occasion for redefining editorial policy.109
If Baum’s use of Weininger’s stereotypes was intended as just another critique of Diaspora Jewry in Ost und West, it soon backfired. Grounded in negative images of Ostjuden, Weininger’s Jewish antisemitism immediately elicited a response from the journal’s editors and contributors. Even if an effete, effeminate Eastern Jew like Rafael was granted some sympathy by Western Jewish women, he was likely to be rejected by Western Jewish and Eastern Jewish (nationalist) men whose “manliness” he called into question.110
A degree of anti-Eastern sentiment was permissible in Ost und West, as the publication of Baum’s stories shows. Indeed, for a time, the editors had used such sentiments—recast positively—to appeal to Western Jewish women. But while this kind of nonpartisanship was a guiding principle of Ost und West, some of the magazine’s producers felt that fictions such as “Rafael Gutmann” went too far in their anti-Eastern sentiment. While there is no record of a direct editorial response to “Rafael Gutmann,” there is evidence that Baum—or at least her approach—came under attack. Ultimately, her point of view showed how Jewish philanthropy functioned in the class posturing of Western Jewish women. In fact, was not Rafael the castoff skin of Vicki Baum, her negative image of social failure?111
Baum’s double-edged attitudes toward Eastern Jews required some damage control so that Ost und West could protect its reputation as the advocate of East European Jewry. In order to counteract the ambiguities of “Rafael Gutmann,” the journal subtly addressed the same issues in a number of contributions in 1911. Some responses even appeared in the same issues as the installments of the novella.112 For example, Segel—Winz’s main associate by 1911—offered a mainstream Jewish nationalist response to Baum in “Das Judenelend in Galizien” (February and March 1911) and “Volkswohlstand und Volksaufklärung” (July 1911), both under the pseudonym of “B. Samuel.” This series of strongly worded editorials on Galician Jewry depicts Eastern Jewish men not as emasculated boys but as independent and strong. At the same time, they show that the editors of Ost und West could not tolerate the definition of Jewishness implicit in Baum’s fiction. Even though Segel strove to be neutral in his writings, he now became vehement in attempting to defend Eastern Jewish masculinity.113 His arguments suggested that an effeminate pathological character such as Rafael was a dubious role model for Jewish males, thus revealing the boundaries of what (East) European Jews considered respectable on the eve of World War I.114
Segel, a dedicated exponent of ethnic Judaism and Eastern Jewish nationalism, had already been Ost und West’s chief editorialist for several years.115 In the 1905 opinion piece on philanthropy (discussed above), he had shown a willingness to defend unpopular positions—as he had in the Altneuland controversy of 1903—and to criticize the leading Jewish charity organizations. All of this suggested that he would dislike Baum’s brand of Jewish philanthropy. In fact, his first response to Baum followed the first installment of “Rafael Gutmann” in Ost und West. This two-part editorial, entitled “Das Judenelend in Galizien,” is an apologia for Jewish poverty and political inactivity throughout Austro-Hungary. The essay is thus an indirect response to the Weiningerian elements in Baum’s novella, for Galicia was the probable place of origin for nearly all Jews in Baum’s Viennese ghetto stories, and Segel was an acknowledged expert on Jewish life in this Austrian province. In “Das Judenelend in Galizien,” Segel provides a justification for Galician Jewry’s apparent lack of organization: it has been repeatedly victimized by non-Jewish politicians. Its weakness, then, is conditioned by history rather than “race.” What is more, the few native Jewish politicians there also have acted opportunistically.
Segel’s invective was so fierce in “Das Judenelend in Galizien” that an editor’s note (Anmerkung der Redaktion) was appended to the essay. Such a disclaimer, though rare in Ost und West, functioned as a preemptive warning, signaling to the audience that the journal wished not to offend but that it was going to publish the objectionable material anyway. Whether Winz or Segel actually found any of these essays objectionable is a matter for speculation.116 But it is unlikely that Segel’s “Das Judenelend in Galizien” was unacceptable. First, the pseudonym used by Segel, “B. Samuel,” was fairly identifiable by 1911 and was easily decoded as “B. Segel.” Second, Winz and Segel wanted to counter the negative stereotypes found in Baum’s fiction, a move in keeping with the new trend toward antidefamation in Ost und West.
In March 1911, Segel criticized Baum’s outlook more directly. Having just issued the final installment of “Rafael Gutmann,” Ost und West allowed Segel to have the last word in a continuation of “Das Judenelend in Galizien.” Here he insists that Jewish pride and self-sufficiency can be developed only from within Jewry. The westernizing philanthropy of Baron Hirsch’s Jewish Colonial Association offers a cosmetic and hopelessly incomplete solution, in Segel’s opinion. Then, in a July 1911 editorial entitled “Volkswohlstand und Volksaufklärung,” Segel continued on the same path followed in “Das Judenelend in Galizien.” Leaving the political realm, he takes aim at the philosophy of Enlightenment as practiced by Western philanthropists, showing that even Orthodox Galician Jews preferred to attend Christian schools over Baron Hirsch’s Reform Jewish schools which disputed their beliefs and practices. As an alternative to Hirsch’s enlightened Western Judaism, Segel promotes the Eastern-based Haskalah of Aḥad Haam and other cultural Zionists over the philanthropic, political Zionism of Baum’s stories.
Other Ost und West essays of 1911 took issue with the patronizing uplifting of Eastern Jews sanctioned by Baum. In “Genug der Versäumnisse. Ein Ruf zur Tat” (October 1911), Segel returned to the issue of centralized relief in order to attack the proponents of mass Jewish migrations from one continent to another. His editorial also established the need for an interterritorial congress on behalf of Russian and Rumanian Jewry, both largely forgotten by the international community. By calling for such a congress on immigration, Segel hoped to advance his own arguments in favor of Jewish autonomy. Winz, agreeing with Segel, launched two new monthly features in the same October 1911 issue. The new rubrics, entitled “Illustrationen zur russischen Judenpolitik in den letzten Monaten” and “Revue der Ereignisse,” were probably written by Segel and appeared continuously until 1914.
“Der stille Pogrom. Wehruf eines russischen Juden” (November 1911) represents the summit of Segel’s polemics against “philanthropic” stereotyping of the Ostjude.117 In this editorial, Segel criticizes indecision and inaction on the part of Western Jewry as tantamount to a “cultural pogrom” (Kulturpogrom). In contrast to Baum, he regards Jews in the West as feminine and weak, a position thoroughly in keeping with the masculinist, “tough Jew”118 slant of Ost und West. Segel’s main example of Western Jewish cowardice was the delayed reaction of English Jewry to the recent pogrom in South Wales. The fact that violent pogroms had ebbed in Russia by this time was perceived as a legacy of the Jewish freedom fighters who valiantly defended themselves in the Pale in 1905 and earlier. Ost und West recounted the exploits of these Jewish self-defenders in articles and graphic photos (fig. 20 and fig. 21).119
Segel’s response to Western-style philanthropy à la Baum reflects the shrewd propaganda at which Ost und West so excelled. It was also closely bound up with the issues of independence and masculinity. Segel’s tough editorials, moreover, seemed designed to upstage the imminent publication of a similar journal, Fritz Mordechai Kaufmann’s Die Freistatt, though Die Freistatt was hardly competition for Ost und West. Ost und West’s resolve to publish as it pleased was characteristic of the years between 1912 and 1914—the heyday of the magazine.120 These years also form a minor turning point in German-Jewish history as a result of the victory of cultural Zionism over political Zionism and—of more direct consequence to Ost und West—the demise of the German branch of the Alliance Israélite Universelle.121 This demise, brought on by the Zionists, compelled the Paris Central Committee to take over the Berlin office from the German branch of the Alliance (die Deutsche Conferenz-Gesellschaft der A.I.U.).
Figure 20. “Gruppe hingeschlachteter Mitglieder der jüdischen ‘Selbstwehr’ in Odessa.” Ost und West (October–November 1905): 609–10.
Owing to the recent success of the women’s movement, 1913 witnessed more contributions than ever by women in Ost und West. Winz, perhaps bowing to pressure, published the journal’s first (belated) feature on Jewish women’s philanthropy, Stephanie Forchheimer’s “Jüdische soziale Frauenarbeit in Frankfurt am Main” (January 1913). In fact, the flurry of public activity by the Jüdischer Frauenbund and other Jewish women’s organizations just prior to 1913 was likely perceived as a threat to the hegemony of Ost und West and other male-dominated Jewish institutions. In May and June 1913, Ost und West came out with an ingenious parvenue sketch by Segel (under the pseudonym “A. Warszawski”) entitled “Die Lehrerin.” Here, Segel took the old scare tactics and developed a stereotype of the Western Jewess that still might appeal to German-Jewish female readers.122 The ensuing novella is a serialized, two-part sketch that contrasts two unnamed teachers. In typical philanthropic fashion, a teacher from an upper-middle-class family has devoted her career to working-class children—a perfect role model for the Jewish female audience. The affection of her pupils (whose “Rotwälsch”123 she has managed to learn) persuades her ultimately to reject the prospect of marriage to a high-ranking diplomat so that she can pursue her metier. But just as the reader is prepared to identify with this paragon of middle-class virtue, Segel has her express gratitude that her adoring charges are not “Jewish children,” thus revealing her to be an antisemite and a likely non-Jew. The second teacher, in the second installment of “Die Lehrerin”—a Jewish woman—proves to be equally flawed. The product of a poor family, this Jewish educator is revealed to be a social climber who betrays her roots in search of status. (Her siblings have sacrificed their own educations so that she can earn a doctorate. That her brothers also give up professional careers signals her egotism; girls usually had to make sacrifices for the boys’ educations in Jewish families.)124 Since she is a paragon of Western parvenuism, she harbors negative attitudes toward Ostjuden, caring more about her publishing career than about her “snot-nosed, Yiddish-screeching” pupils. Ironically, she chooses to marry a boorish, affluent Galician-Jewish businessman at the story’s end.
Figure 21. “Von Hooligans und Militär hingeschlachtete jüdische Kinder in Russland.” Ost und West (August–September 1906): 569–70.
In “Die Lehrerin,” the cold parvenu woman becomes the antithesis of bourgeois philanthropy. Segel had succeeded in creating a new stereotype: the educated careerist Jewess. Like Baum’s Rafael, Segel’s Bildungsparvenue functioned as a foil onto whom middle-class German-Jewish women might project negative feelings about themselves (or others who had chosen a career path). At the same time, the philanthropic teacher fared no better in Segel’s estimation owing to her shallow philanthropy and antisemitism.125
This episode of Ost und West’s history ended with a surprising return to Western Jewish parvenu characters. In earlier chapter, we saw how the parvenu stereotype helped male intellectuals construct their Jewish identities and build coalitions between Eastern and Western Jewish nationalists. It was hoped that the female parvenu in “Die Lehrerin” might give philanthropic Jewish bourgeoises a common foil for their Jewish identities and enlist their support in the pan-Jewish project. Segel’s satire, precisely because of its antifeminism, tacitly acknowledged that women now occupied a central place in German-Jewish public life.
In the period before World War I, the parvenu stereotype was also closely tied to the stereotype, as opposed to the phenomenon, of Jewish self-hatred. When used in Ost und West, this stereotype encouraged readers to project the stain of self-hatred onto other Jews. The main targets of this stereotype were Western Jewish men, and attempts were made to control its spread. When it was specifically directed at women, however, as in “Die Lehrerin,” the charge of self-hatred was a reaction to the fear of female careerism and other forms of enlightened Judaism. Ost und West’s willingness to disseminate such images suggests misogyny. Segel, at numerous points in the magazine, made sexist remarks and analogies; see, for example, “Der Niedergang des österreichischen Antisemitismus” (October 1910).
At the same time, the journal’s editors did not—and could not, given their significant female readership—call for a return to traditional, pre-Enlightenment roles for women. When viewed in the context of the fin de siècle, Ost und West’s antifeminism was moderate. Above all, Winz, Segel, and their associates wanted to ensure that the journal’s texts were read according to male Eastern Jewish values, what some might call an “androcentric” perspective.126 Baum herself, in accepting Weininger’s equation of the woman and the Jew, was implicitly encouraging an androcentric reading of her works.
The editors of Ost und West had always postured themselves as tough and masculine, and the argumentative style of the journal derided opponents as weak and cowardly. But the journal’s “masculinity” and that of its German-Jewish and Eastern Jewish male audiences were called into question in 1914 as doubts spread regarding the fitness (Tauglichkeit) of Jews in the armies of Europe. The next chapter addresses these conflicts, which are present in nuce in the contradictions between Baum’s and Segel’s fiction. Hatred of one’s femininity, of one’s Jewish body, of one’s Jewish culture—these issues became central to German-Jewish soldiers in World War I, and Ost und West sought to capitalize on the fears and hopes of its male readers who were not part of the Jewish intelligentsia.