Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture Online

Get access Subject: Jewish Studies

Editor-in-Chief: Dan Diner

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


(2,681 words)

Author(s): Anthony Travis, Jerusalem
From 1860 well into the 1930s, Jewish chemists of predominantly German origin contributed to the establishment and development of modern chemistry in many ways. They introduced synthetic dyes and used scientific and industrial discoveries for the development of medicines and fertilizers. Particularly in Germany and Great Britain, Jewish developers and entrepreneurs recognized the potential of the industrial production of aniline dyes. In the late 19th century, even though they were deprived of c…
Date: 2017-08-17


(3,059 words)

Author(s): Michael Ehn, Vienna | Ernst Strouhal, Vienna
The board game chess which is based on the ideas of rational predictability and strategic thinking developed after a centuries-long history in the 18th century, mainly at locations of modern urban culture – in coffeehouses, associations, and Clubs – into a game habitually played by the bourgeoisie. Jews, who were strongly oriented towards the bourgeois environment, in particular in the German-speaking area in the 19th century, participated in the chess boom as players, theoreticians, and patrons…
Date: 2017-08-17

Children's Transport

(2,111 words)

Author(s): Rebekka Göpfert, Berlin
Rescue effort which enabled about ten thousand predominantly Jewish children to flee from Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia to Great Britain between December 1938 and September 1939. Within Jewish emigration during National Socialism, the Children's Transport [Kindertransport] initiated by the British Council for German Jewry was numerically the biggest concentrated rescue effort. After the war, most of those saved from persecution by the Children's Transport – even though speaking in English – continued to call themselves "Kinder.”1. InitiationThe British publi…
Date: 2017-08-17


(2,380 words)

Author(s): Jan-Christopher Horak, Los Angeles
Already with the beginnings of cinema in the late 19th century, Jews were active in all branches of the film industry, from production through distribution to screenings and the advertisement that went along with it. Through innovative talent and entrepreneurial skills, they contributed to the development of the film industry from an undercapitalized small business to an international media concern. The disproportionate presence of Jews in the European film industry, as in Hollywood, provided fu…
Date: 2017-08-17


(1,820 words)

Author(s): Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert, Palo Alto
Ritual removal of the foreskin of the phallus (Hebr. brit milah) according to the rule in biblical law and its rabbinical extension (Halakhah). Circumcision has experienced diverse interpretations and has been at the center of debates on Jewish affiliation since antiquity. It represents one of the most important elements of Jewish distinction from a historical, cultural, and religious point of view and is at the same time a symbol of gender difference.1. Earliest evidence, customs and controversiesIn biblical law, circumcision is described in two contexts: in connection…
Date: 2017-08-17


(4,160 words)

Author(s): Ralf Balke, Berlin | Yaron Jean, Haifa
The institution of citizenship provides the foundation for a relationship of protection and duty between a political community and its citizens. Historically, it goes hand in hand with the emergence of the national State based on constitutional law. In the face of the model of the ethnically-based national State, especially in the crisis-ridden post-imperial interwar period, affiliation to Judaism proved increasingly to be a criterion for exclusion. The anti-Jewish measures of the Nazis revealed the defenselessness of persons without citizenship. 1. 19th century 1.1 France and…
Date: 2017-08-17

City College

(2,331 words)

Author(s): Julian Levinson, Ann Arbor
The City College of New York was founded in 1847 as the first free institution of higher education in the United States. In the early 1880s, the college became one of the most influential public institutions, particularly for the Jews immigrating from Eastern Europe to America. Due to its high academic prestige, City College acquired the reputation of a "proletarian Harvard"; due to the radicalism of its students in the 1930s, it was also called the "little red school." In the interwar years, Ci…
Date: 2017-08-17

Civilizing Process

(2,541 words)

Author(s): Reinhard Blomert, Berlin
 In his magnum opus Über den Prozeß der Zivilisation. Soziogenetische und psychogenetische Untersuchungen (1939, “The Civilizing Process. Sociogenetic and Psychogenetic Investigations,” 1994), the German-Jewish philosopher and sociologist Norbert Elias (1897-1990) described as a civilizing process the long-term, directed, but unplanned transformations of personality and social structures in Western societies. This two-volume work appeared during his exile in England between 1936 and 1939, which is why its c…
Date: 2017-08-17

Civil Rights Movement

(3,212 words)

Author(s): Stephen H. Norwood, Norman (OK)
In the first decade of the 19th century, the Civil Rights Movement in the United States campaigned for the absolute bestowal of civil rights to the African-American population. For a long time, American Jews were disproportionately represented in this movement and felt far greater sympathy for the situation of Black people than others. The strong Jewish contribution can be attributed to moral values in Judaism and to a number of common goals and comparable experiences of Black and Jewish people …
Date: 2017-08-18

Claims Conference

(1,947 words)

Author(s): Jürgen Lillteicher, Berlin/Lübeck
The Jewish Conference on Material Claims Against Germany (short: Claims Conference) was founded in 1951 as an umbrella association of Jewish organizations in the face of upcoming negotiations with the Republic of Germany on reparations. In the negotiations with Germany which led to the Luxembourg Agreement in 1952, the Claims Conference – beside the delegation of the State of Israel – represented claims to the compensation and reimbursement of heirless property of Jews outside of Israel resultin…
Date: 2017-08-17

Class Consciousness

(2,296 words)

Author(s): Michael Löwy, Paris
Georg Lukács’s work Geschichte und Klassenbewußtsein (1923, “History and Class Consciousness,” 1971) is a key text of so-called Western Marxism. Lukács (1885–1971), considered one of the most important Marxist philosophers and literary historians of the 20th century, was often attacked as a “revisionist” by official representatives of Marxism-Leninism. Jewish-messianic sources are among the most important for his conception of the salvific role of the class-conscious proletariat.1. Introduction Geschichte und Klassenbewußtsein (1923, “History and Class Consciousne…
Date: 2017-08-17

Classical Studies

(2,313 words)

Author(s): Christhard Hoffmann, Bergen
In the early 19th century a new concept of classical studies emerged which no longer regarded itself as an ancillary science to theology but as an independent philological science. The object of research was limited to the "classical" culture of Hellas and Rome whereas the Orient and the ancient Jewish civilization were deliberately excluded from the canon. Regardless of this thematic limitation, the new methodical approach of classical studies was introduced to the Wissenschaft des Judentums. T…
Date: 2017-08-17

Club Babel

(2,828 words)

Author(s): Anat Plocker, Haifa
Jewish youth club in Warsaw that existed between 1966 and 1968. The club was named after the Soviet writer Isaak Babel and organized lectures on political and cultural topics, as well as musical events and theatre performances. In March 1968, the Club Babel was at the center of the anti-Zionist campaign initiated by the Polish governing party which led to the emigration of thousands of Jews from Poland.1. Development and backgroundClub Babel was founded in April 1966 by the Warsaw section of the Jewish Social-Cultural Association in Poland ( Towarzystwo Społeczno-kulturalne Żydów w …
Date: 2017-08-17