Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture Online

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The designation of Jews as Luftmenschen (Yidd. luftmentsh; “air-people”) was coined at the end of the 19th century, especially by Sholem Aleichem, as an ironic metaphor in Yiddish literature. There, it stands for exuberant hopes in faith and the future, in which the empirical world and the real present play a merely subordinate role. Around 1900 the term increasingly became a sociologically-charged code for Jewish c…

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Berg, Nicolas, “Luftmenschen”, in: Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture Online, Original German Language Edition: Enzyklopädie Jüdischer Geschichte und Kultur. Im Auftrag der Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig herausgegeben von Dan Diner. © J.B. Metzler, Stuttgart/Springer-Verlag GmbH Deutschland 2011–2017. Consulted online on 30 May 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2468-8894_ejhc_COM_0459>
First published online: 2017
First print edition: 20210312

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