From Exclusion to Emigration: The Decision-Making Process for Emigration within German-Jewish Families, 1933-1941 Open Access

Wizig, Pauline R. (2017)

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This thesis explains how German Jewish families made the decision to flee Nazi Germany. It examines which phenomena most impacted the emigration decision-making process. I found that older individuals and men who were usually more invested in German society and culture were less likely to consider emigration. This sense of identity explains the resistance these groups felt towards emigration. The German Jewish community that existed prior to the rise of National Socialism was comprised of individuals who practiced different levels of religious observance, worked in numerous professions and called different cities and towns home. The thing these individuals had in common was their strong connection to Germany. Most German Jews were very nationalistic and patriotic. They considered themselves German, as well as Jewish. This sense of identity was closely linked to age. Older Jews who had lived through other periods of anti-Semitism did not initially see Nazism to be unique. As Nazism progressed, Jews were confronted with the realization that the country they considered home would rather exist without them and had to consider whether the best future for themselves and their families lay outside of Germany.

Table of Contents

Introduction- Page 1
Chapter 1- The Dynamics and Composition of the German Jewish Community Before 1933
The History of Assimilation and Acculturation-Page 9
Generational Differences and Connections to German Identity-Page 16
Gender Norms in German Families-Page 19
Chapter 2- Emigration Begins: Jewish Life Between 1933 and 1938
Overview of anti-Jewish Legislation and Immediate Jewish Action-Page 23
The Emigration Conundrum-Page 35
Chapter 3- The Last Straw: Kristallnacht and its impact on German Jewish Emigration
The Progression to Kristallnacht and the Expansion of Nazism Beyond Germany's Borders-Page 44
The Emigration Dilemma in 1938 and its Contributions to Kristallnacht-Page 48
The Last Years of Emigration 1939- 1941-Page 56
Conclusion-Page 59
Bibliography-Page 64

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