Juden und Armut in Mittel- und Osteuropa
By order of the Simon Dubnow Institute […]. Edited by
Stefi Jersch-Wenzel together with François Guesnet, Gertrud Pickhan, Andreas Reinke and Desanka Schwara
476 pp., Perfect Paperback
Köln u. a.: Böhlau Verlag, 2000
Price: 50,00 € (D)
The book is available at the Dubnow Institute. Please send your order to:
The history of the Jews in Central Europe has tended to be conceived and written as a »success story,« at its core social advancement and cultural assimilation in a changing Jewish society. In the process, the fact of poverty is often overlooked: it was an ever-present and even dominant basic experience of Jewish existence for many in Eastern Europe. That is the initial focus and point of departure of the essays in this volume: what were the causes underlying Jewish poverty, how was it manifested, how did people attempt to deal with it? Jewish institutions of self-aid and relief have been a component in the social life and cohesion of Jewries in Germany and East-Central Europe since the Middle Ages. Traditional associations such as the brotherhoods regarded it as a religious duty to help their less fortunate fellow co-religionists. Along with the sick, the aged, widows, beggars and orphans, since the 19th century, migrants from Eastern Europe made up a growing segment of those in need. Modern Jewish charity sought to address their distress, remaining active on the scene even under the most trying of conditions during the period of National Socialism.