Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture Online

Get access Subject: Jewish Studies

Editor-in-Chief: Dan Diner

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From Europe to America to the Middle East, North Africa and other non-European Jewish settlement areas the Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture covers the recent history of the Jews from 1750 until the 1950s.

More information: Brill.com

Wadi Salib

(2,466 words)

Author(s): Weiss, Yfaat
Wadi Salib (Arab.; Valley of the Cross) is originally a poor Muslim neighborhood in the Israeli port of Haifa. Over the course of the 1948 war, the Arab inhabitants either left the district or were expelled from it; afterwards it became home to Jews who had immigrated from North Africa and developed into a focus of social tensions, which came to a head in the summer of 1959 in a series of violent protests. These events raised awareness in Israeli public and political sphere of the sociall…
Date: 2023-10-31

Warburg Library

(1,509 words)

Author(s): Schoell-Glass, Charlotte
Private research institution in Hamburg, Germany, that emerged from the art historian Aby Warburg’s (1866–1929) scholarly library and was funded by the Warburg family, who were involved in banking business in Germany and the United States. The Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg (K.B.W.) had been established with a view to Warburg’s research interest – art history with a stronger focus on cultural studies and the iconology devised by him. In Warburg’s library and archive (now in …
Date: 2023-10-31


(3,795 words)

Author(s): Kassow, Samuel D.
Before the Second World War, Warsaw was home to a socio-culturally, denominationally, and politically exceedingly varied Jewish community that was at the same time the largest in Europe. Immediately after the surrender of Poland, the persecution of the Warsaw Jews at the hands of the German occupiers began. In November 1940, the latter closed off several streets in the city center to form the ghetto in which at times up to half a million people were forced to live. Ghetto life was charact…
Date: 2023-10-31


(2,568 words)

Author(s): Mahrer, Stefanie | Picard, Jacques
Especially in Switzerland, the production and sale of watches developed into characteristic professions of Jews. Since the mid-19th century, Jewish traders, craftsmen, and manufacturers established themselves there. When, in the 1870s, with the advent of inexpensive watches from the United States, the skilled manual production of Switzerland proved to be outdated, it was easier for the Jews, as immigrants, as opposed to the long-established, tradition-oriented dynasties of craftsmen, to t…
Date: 2023-10-31

Weintraubs Syncopators

(1,462 words)

Author(s): Dreyfus, Kay
Popular jazz band that came to fame in the Weimar Republic thanks to its wide-ranging repertoire. Seven band members, six of whom were of Jewish origin, emigrated from Germany in 1933. A long tour of Europe, Russia, and the Far East brought them to Australia in 1937. In spite of opposition from the Australian musicians’ union, the band was a great success there. Australia’s entering into the war put an end to the ensemble’s career as they were identified with the enemy due to their country of origin.In 1924 Berlin, Stefan Weintraub (1897–1981) founded the “Tanzkapelle Stefan W…
Date: 2023-10-31


(3,099 words)

Author(s): Hüttenmeister, Nathanja
Inaugurated in 1880 and in use to the present day, the Jewish cemetery in the Berlin district of Weißensee is one of the largest in Europe, numbering 115,000 graves. Its layout, graves, and monuments reflect the changeable history of the Jewish inhabitants of Berlin as well as their self-understanding oscillating between tradition and modernism since the days of the German Empire. Immigration of Jews from Eastern Europe above all, but also the persecution during the National Socialist yea…
Date: 2023-10-31

Weizmann Institute

(2,138 words)

Author(s): Balke, Ralf
The Weizmann Institute in Rehovot is considered the leading research center of Israel. Founded as Daniel Sieff Research Institute in 1934 at the initiative of the chemist, leading Zionist, and future president of the State of Israel Chaim Weizmann (1874–1952), it is engaged in fundamental research on numerous fields of science. Weizmann thus realized his ideas of a Zionism based on a combination of practical groundwork with research and technical progress. Furthermore, he wanted to offer …
Date: 2023-10-31


(3,170 words)

Author(s): Gallus, Alexander
In the Weimar Republic, the weekly  Die Weltbühne represented a key forum for independent journalistic and political debates. Over time, the paper - initially founded in 1905 as the theatre journal  Die Schaubühne – made a turn toward politics and contemporary criticism. The  Weltbühne was deeply influenced by its founders Siegfried Jacobsohn (1881–1926) and Kurt Tucholsky (1890–1935), who with it created a melting pot for left-wing intellectuals of primarily Jewish origin, who thereby found a political and spiritual home that was…
Date: 2023-10-31


(3,332 words)

Author(s): Liska, Vivian | Witte, Bernd
The Jewish poet Jakob van Hoddis’s (1887–1942) poem Weltende (“End of the World,” 1994) is considered the original text of literary Expressionism. First published in 1911, it was perceived as the prototype of a new poetry and in 1919 introduced the definitive anthology of Expressionist poetry Menschheitsdämmerung (“Dawn of Humanity,” 1994). Numerous Jewish poets contributed to this work, edited by Kurt Pinthus (1886–1975), in particular as well as to literary Expressionism in general. In their works they combined traces of Jewish tradi…
Date: 2023-10-31


(4,165 words)

Author(s): Diner, Dan
Weltgeschichte des jüdischen Volkes is the title of the Russian-Jewish historian Simon Dubnow’s (1860–1941) ten-volume magnum opus, published between 1925 and 1929. First published in German, the Weltgeschichte is regarded as the historiographical foundation of a “sociological” historiography of the Jews, focusing on their lebenswelten (worlds of lived experience) and institutions primarily from a Russian-imperial and Jewish diasporic perspective. The work of the autodidactic historian and popular political educator…
Date: 2023-10-31


(3,033 words)

Author(s): Griffioen, Pim
Village in the northeastern region of the Netherlands, approximately 30 kilometers from the German border. In 1939, on the orders of the Dutch authorities, a camp was established there to house Jewish refugees from Germany. During the German occupation from 1940 to 1945, Westerbork served as a transit camp from which more than 100,000 Jews were deported to German extermination camps in Poland and Germany. As such, Westerbork has become a symbol of the Holocaust in the Netherlands.1. Installation of the campAs a result of the transfer of power to Adolf Hitler and the ensu…
Date: 2023-10-31


(2,377 words)

Author(s): Endelman, Todd M.
Westminster, as the seat of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, provided the setting for a debate that began in 1828 and continued for three decades regarding the question whether Jews could hold a seat in the House of Commons. In 1858 Lionel Rothschild became the first Jewish Member of the House of Commons. It would, however, be misleading to characterize the surrounding controversies as a struggle for the emancipation of the Jews. Since their resettlement in the 17th century, the lega…
Date: 2023-10-31

West Side Story

(3,107 words)

Author(s): Beller, Steven
West Side Story is considered the pinnacle of the American musical and characterized the new dynamic in the cultural life of America that began in the 1960s. The play, set to music by Leonard Bernstein (1918–1990), about the conflict between Puerto Ricans and Anglo-Americans in New York, embodies the composer’s ideological and artistic values, which resulted from his double affiliation, both American and Jewish. With his socially-committed liberalism, his plea for ethnic and religious toler…
Date: 2023-10-31