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Nexus 2

Nexus 2: Essays in German Jewish Studies

William Collins Donahue
Martha B. Helfer
Volume: 2
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Nexus 2
    Book Description:

    Nexus is the official publication of the biennial German Jewish Studies Workshop at Duke University, the first ongoing forum in North America for German Jewish studies. It publishes innovative research in German Jewish Studies and serves as a venue for introducing new directions in the field, analyzing the development and definition of the field itself, and considering the place of German Jewish Studies within the disciplines of both German Studiesand Jewish Studies. Additionally, it examines issues of pedagogy and programming at the undergraduate, graduate, and community levels. The second volume of Nexus presents a special forum section on the controversial German Jewish religious historian Hans Joachim Schoeps (1909-1980), including contributions by Julius H. Schoeps, Noah Strote, Eric Meyers, and Laurie Patton, as well as cutting-edge essays that highlight important new developmentsin the field of German Jewish Studies. William C. Donahue is Professor in German, in Jewish Studies, and in the Program in Literature at Duke University, where he is also Chair of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literature and a member of the Jewish Studies Executive Committee. Martha B. Helfer is Professor and Chair of the Department of German, Russian, and Eastern European Languages and Literatures and an affiliate member of the Department of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University.

    eISBN: 978-1-57113-881-1
    Subjects: Sociology, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
    W. C. D. and M. B. H.
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)
    William Collins Donahue and Martha B. Helfer

    Nexus, the official publication of the biennial German Jewish Studies Workshop at Duke University, aims to showcase innovative scholarship in German Jewish Studies in North America and to foster the growth of new directions in the field. With this second volume we are especially excited to inaugurate the “NexusForum” section, designed to introduce unusual and controversial topics and to stimulate discussion in the research community. To this end, each volume will treat a single topic in depth, using a “statement and response” format. Our firstNexusForum examines the complex case of Hans-Joachim Schoeps, German Jew and Nazi sympathizer,...

  5. Nexus Forum

    • Introduction to the Nexus Forum A Most Unwanted Man: Hans-Joachim Schoeps
      (pp. 5-8)
      William Collins Donahue

      Twenty years ago this cluster of articles, focusing on a German Jew who was, for a while at least, an unapologetic Nazi sympathizer, might have been impossible—at least in a venue such as this. But with the passage of time it has become possible, as Laura S. Lieber suggests in her diplomatic response, to view Schoeps as an important, if marginalized figure, never quite fully accepted within nor now excluded from Jewish tradition. Lieber genially proposes the figure ofAher—who is both the quintessential apostate as well as the object of enduring fascination for Jews and non-Jews alike...

    • Jew, Prussian, German: The Adventuresome Story of Hans-Joachim Schoeps
      (pp. 9-20)
      Julius H. Schoeps

      This is the story of my father: both a remarkable human being and a symbolic figure for German-Jewish existence in the twentieth century. It took place during momentous years, the Nazi takeover of government in Germany, World War II, the Holocaust, and the resurgence of postwar Germany. Born in 1909, Hans-Joachim Schoeps came to maturity at the fateful time the Nazi Party got ready to assume power in Germany in the context of a largely dysfunctional Weimar Republic. On January 30, 1933, when Hitler became chancellor, Schoeps celebrated his twenty-fourth birthday, having the previous year received his PhD under Joachim...

    • Hans-Joachim Schoeps: Contrarian Scholar
      (pp. 21-28)
      Hans J. Hillerbrand

      My encounter with Hans-Joachim Schoeps occurred in my first semester at the University of Erlangen. I had enrolled in the School of Law with the intention of joining the newly re-established German diplomatic service upon graduation. I anticipated that within a few years I would represent the Federal Republic of Germany as ambassador in Moscow, London, or Washington. In short, I was full of myself and thought big. I had registered for a full load of courses but by serendipity I happened to see the announcement of a course in the Arts and Sciences. It was offered by Professor Hans-Joachim...

    • The Meyerowitz Family from Königsberg: Contemporaries of Hans-Joachim Schoeps
      (pp. 29-32)
      Eric M. Meyers

      Hans-Joachim Schoeps and my father, Karl Otto David Meyerowitz, were each born in East Prussia in 1909, my father in Königsberg, home of the Jewish Reform Movement inspired by Julius’s ancestor Moses Mendelsohn. The intellectual and religious currents unleashed in the Jewish Enlightenment or Haskalah in the eighteenth century were still being played out in the lifetimes of both our fathers, in my family’s case with a little different script but with the same defining characteristics. It may be instructive, then, to briefly sketch the story of another prominent German Jewish family from this milieu. It may provide a richer...

    • From the Margins: A Response to Schoeps on Schoeps
      (pp. 33-36)
      Laura Lieber

      The word “Aḥer”—Hebrew for, literally, “the other, the outsider”—is the name customarily given to the great apostate sage of the second century CE, Elisha ben Abuyah. Jewish tradition stripped him of his given name but did not erase him from the text. Rabbi Meir, among the greatest rabbinic scholars of his generation, had been a pupil of Elisha ben Abuyah before, and even after, his famous heresy. The precise cause and nature of Aḥer’s apostasy varies depending on tradition, but it is often linked, on the one hand, to his family’s elite status in Roman Palestine and his...

    • A Conservative Christian Welcome: A Response to Julius Schoeps
      (pp. 37-40)
      Noah B. Strote

      Julius H. Schoeps introduces his father, Hans-Joachim Schoeps (1909–80), as a “symbolic figure for German-Jewish existence in the twentieth century.” Typically understood, a symbolic figure is a person whose life represents more than just a fascinating collection of twists and turns. A symbolic figure transcends his narrow biography and becomes a placeholder for an idea, teaching us something about the evolution of the time and place in which he lived. To follow Schoeps’s life, then, should be to trace an aspect of the twentieth century. While the claim seems warranted in this case, it begs the question: what was...

    • Facing His Nazi Past? A Response to Schoeps on Schoeps
      (pp. 41-42)
      Paul Reitter

      When Hans-Joachim Schoeps died,Der Spiegelran an obituary that described him as “the embodiment of the type of assimilated Jew who was so very German that he did not want to see the threatening menace of National Socialism.” This was a bit misleading. After all, the formulation suggests that Schoeps did his best to look away from National Socialism or that he minimized its significance, as some assimilated Jews in fact did. Schoeps, however, did just the opposite. Nor did he distance himself from Judaism. Even as he worked to “affirm Jewish existence in the modern world,” to cite...

  6. Setting the Record Straight Regarding The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: A Fool’s Errand?
    (pp. 43-62)
    Richard S. Levy

    The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a forgeryanda plagiarism. In its most popular versions, the text is always presented as of Jewish provenance, a deeply incriminating document that by one means or another fell into the hands of Gentiles. This utterly false claim of the document’s Jewish authorship is what makes theProtocolsa forgery. Its various promoters and interpreters also claim that it contains the records of twenty-four speeches delivered by the “Chief Sage of Zion” to a secret meeting of co-conspirators. Woven together, the individual protocols comprise an intricate Jewish plot to take over...

  7. A Discussion of the “German” Dimension of Reform Judaism in Select Congregations in Three American Southern States, 1860–1880
    (pp. 63-79)
    Anton Hieke

    The mid-nineteenth century was a formative period for Jewish organized religion for many communities in the United States. In accordance with Jacob Rader Marcus’s description of a “German wave” of Jewish immigration to the United States for the better part of the nineteenth century, that is, up until the mass migration of East Europeans from 1880 onward,¹ it would seem that the Reform process was inseparably connected with contemporaneous developments in Germany. According to Jonathan Sarna, at the point when the Reform movement was finally consolidated in the Pittsburgh Platform of 1885, it had “positioned itself as the religion of...

  8. Weimar on Broadway: Fritz Kortner and Dorothy Thompson’s Refugee Play Another Sun
    (pp. 81-102)
    Karina von Tippelskirch

    In 1938, Fritz Kortner and Dorothy Thompson joined forces to work on a drama initially titledSpell Your Name. After several revisions, however, the play premiered at the National Theater on Broadway on February 23, 1940 asAnother Sun. The play aimed to change the American public’s apathy towards the plight of the refugees from Nazi persecution.

    As early as 1937, the New York Times announced the forthcoming play in its “News of the Stage”:

    Fritz Kortner, the German actor, has been writing a play. “Spell Your Name,” it is, and there is a bit of autobiography in the plot:...

  9. If I forget thee, O Jerusalem: The Jewish Exilic Mind in Else Lasker-Schüler’s IchundIch
    (pp. 103-120)
    Nick Block

    Else Lasker-Schüler (1869–1945) was one of the signature products of the early twentieth-century German-Jewish cultural renaissance. Deemed by her contemporaries as “die jüdischste Dichterin” (the most Jewish poetess), Lasker-Schüler combined her involvement in the modernist Expressionist movement with a Jewish self-assertion that was unique among German authors.¹ Orientalist, Jewish themes pervaded much of her work, most notablyHebräische Balladen(Hebrew Ballads, 1917) andDas Hebräerland(The Land of Hebrews, 1937). At the end of her life, the Zionist-influenced author left behind an archive of writings that recorded how she initially imagined, later visited, and was finally exiled to the...

  10. “Seit ein Gespräch wir sind und hören können von einander”: Martin Buber’s Message to Postwar Germany
    (pp. 121-151)
    Abigail Gillman

    In March 1939, a few months after he was forced to leave Germany, the philosopher Martin Buber wrote in definitive terms of “the end of the German-Jewish symbiosis.” He described the end of a period of unprecedented cultural and intellectual cross-fertilization, evident in the work of poets, philosophers, and religious thinkers.² He also noted, echoing theologian Paul Tillich, that expelling the Jews from Germany caused an irreparable fissure withinDeutschtumitself: a separation of Germans from themselves. While expressing hope that some form of continuity with the past would eventually be possible, Buber concluded, “But the symbiosis itself is over...

  11. Hungerkünstler: George Tabori Directs Kafka in Bremen (1977)
    (pp. 153-172)
    Martin Kagel

    On May 11, 1977, an extraordinary meeting took place in the halls of the Theater Bremen. At the time, the Bremen stages were under the artistic direction of Peter Stoltzenberg, who had been working in the Hanse City since 1975. Stoltzenberg had taken over the post from Kurt Hübner, who had led the theater to international prominence during the previous decade by assembling a young cast of exceptionally talented actors, directors, and stage designers—among them Peter Stein, Bruno Ganz, Jutta Lampe, Edith Clever, Wilfried Minks, Erich Wonder, and Karl-Ernst Herrmann—who were eager to push the aesthetic envelope and...

  12. Performing the Jew in Austria after Waldheim: Robert Menasse’s Die Vertreibung aus der Hölle
    (pp. 173-190)
    Andrea Reiter

    Since the so-called Waldheim affair in 1986, a number of Jewish writers have gained prominence in the Austrian public sphere.¹ Apart from contributing in a significant way to contemporary Austrian literature, many of them have also played a central role in shaping political culture in Austria over the past quarter century.² One of the most prominent figures among them is Robert Menasse. Menasse was born in 1954 to a Jewish father who survived the Nazi period in Great Britain, and Jewish refugees play an important role in his early work.³ His 2001 novelDie Vertreibung aus der Hölle⁴ calls the...

  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 191-191)