A History of Jews in Germany since 1945

A History of Jews in Germany since 1945

Politics, Culture, and Society
Edited by Michael Brenner
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 01/25/2018
Format: Hardback 60 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-02567-8
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Originally published in German in 2012, this comprehensive history of Jewish life in postwar Germany provides a systematic account of Jews and Judaism from the Holocaust to the early 21st century by leading experts of modern German-Jewish history. Beginning in the immediate postwar period with a large concentration of Eastern European Holocaust survivors stranded in Germany, the book follows Jews during the relative quiet period of the fifties and early sixties during which the foundations of new Jewish life were laid.

Brenner’s volume goes on to address the rise of anti-Israel sentiments after the Six-Day War as well as the beginnings of a critical confrontation with Germany’s Nazi past in the late sixties and early seventies, noting the relatively small numbers of Jews living in Germany up to the 1990s. The contributors argue that these Jews were a powerful symbolic presence in German society and sent a meaningful signal to the rest of the world that Jewish life was possible again in Germany after the Holocaust.

This landmark history presents a comprehensive account of reconstruction of a multifaceted Jewish life in a country that carries the legacy of being at the epicenter of the Holocaust.

Author Bio

Michael Brenner is Professor of Jewish History and Culture at the University of Munich and Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies at American University in Washington, DC. He is a member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and International President of the Leo Baeck Institute. Brenner’s publications include A Short History of the Jews, Prophets of the Past: Interpreters of Jewish History, Zionism: A Short History, and he is a contributing author to the four-volume German-Jewish History in Modern Times.


“The recent radical changes in German politics make Michael Brenner’s handbook on the history of post-war Jewry in German the essential text for scholars and students. Written by the preeminent specialists from the USA, Israel, and Germany it presents in clear and accessible language the complex and contradictory trajectory of Jewish life reestablishing itself in the German states and then in a united Germany. The reappearance of radical right-wing xenophobia makes this history of Jews in Germany an even more important addition to our book shelves and classroom reading lists.”
 — Sander L. Gilman, author of, Cosmopolitanisms and the Jews

“In Michael Brenner’s exceptional overview of Jewish history in Germany, some of the most renowned experts in the field tell the compelling tale of what happened after the Holocaust – from the first days of the post-war era, when some Jews remained, apprehensively, on Germany’s "blood stained soil," until today, when they are there to stay.  Chapters describe the plight of the survivors and Displaced Persons, the consolidation of a small Jewish community, and the immigration-driven growth of a new, larger, and increasingly diverse one. Never overlooking the abyss of the Holocaust, the authors sensitively analyze how Jews reacted to, acted in, and interacted with an ever-evolving Germany.”
 — Marion Kaplan, editor of 'Jewish Daily Life in Germany, 1618-1945'

“Written by internationally renowned scholars, this book is poised to become a standard work in the field. . . . Altogether, this is an eminently readable work of history that addresses an important gap in the scholarship and will appeal to specialists and interested lay readers alike.”
 — Reading Religion

“Brenner…and other renowned scholars created a comprehensive, meticulously researched, and beautifully translated history…Essential.”

“A lot of archival work was necessary (for the first chapter). Thus, there is a huge amount of information already on the first 140 pages of this excellent work. This first part clarifies the difficult situation of Liberal, Orthodox, and Zionist Jews, who were looking for a new home.”
 — Süddeutsche Zeitung

“This volume, which illuminates a multi-faceted panorama of Jewish life after 1945, will remain the authoritative reading on the subject for the time to come.”
 — Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“This very readable book edited by Michael Brenner deals with the continuities and changes in the history of Jews in Germany after 1945 and for the first time constitutes a systematic history of the Jewish community in postwar Germany until the present time. Together with eight modern historians, Brenner presents a thoroughly researched chronicle and always differentiated interpretations of the events.”
 — Neue Zürcher Zeitung

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Table of Contents

Michael Brenner

Banished: Jews in Germany after the Holocaust
Dan Diner

Part One: Way Station 1945–1949
Atina Grossmann and Tamar Lewinsky
1. Displaced Persons
2. An Autonomous Society
3. German Jews
4. Dissolution and Establishment

Part Two: 1950–1967
Michael Brenner and Norbert Frei
5. Institutional New Beginning
6. Religion and Culture
7. German Jews or Jews in Germany?
8. After the Deed
9. Germans and Jews during the Decade of the "Enlightenment"

Part Three: 1968–1989 Alignments
Constantin Goschler and Anthony Kauders
10. The Jewish Community
11. The Jews in German Society

Part Four: 1990–2012
New Directions
12. The Russian-Jewish Immigration
Yfaat Weiss and Lena Gorelik
13. A New German Jewry?
Michael Brenner

Chairpersons and Presidents of the Central Council of Jews in Germany


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