Tuesday, November 13, 2007


The pinnacle of antisemitism, in our minds, are the Nazis in the third Reich. Historically, it is interesting to see what preceded them. History 167B, the history podcast about the second Reich, produced a lecture on the subject of antisemitism in the second Reich on October 29. Since then, more lectures followed expanding on the subject, but they have not been published with audio. Hopefully it will still come, but until then, we will do with the one lecture that did come out.

Professor Anderson, as usual gives a great lecture. She manages to combine vivid examples, such as the court case she opens with and sharp analysis. The court case is about a Berlin policeman calling a Jewish cab driver a 'jewboy' and getting a harsh sentence for public insult. The picture arises is that the second Reich was the realm of great Jewish advance, prosperity, immigration and assimilation, whereas antisemitic feelings among the larger populace was hardly noticeable.

At some point it becomes translated into some activism, but apart from a toothless political party, nothing came from it. Jews prospered in their urban niches, also elsewhere in Central Europe and hardly was there any violence or legal/political disadvantaging. Compare this to France with its Dreyfuss affair. Until 1914, the German lands were the place to be, for Jews. Why did it change so drastically after 1919?