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"Jüdisches Kulturerbe" versus "Jewish heritage" | Jüdisches Leben in Deutschland – Vergangenheit und Gegenwart |

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"Jüdisches Kulturerbe" versus "Jewish heritage" The socio-political significance of jüdisches Kulturerbe and the discontents of Jewish (cultural) heritage in Germany

Dani Kranz Sarah M. Ross

/ 18 Minuten zu lesen

Conflicting ideas exist about what constitutes Jewish cultural heritage. While the German term Erbe translates as "heritage" in English, the underlying meanings of jüdisches Kulturerbe (Jewish cultural heritage) in the German language, and of the same phrase in the English language diverge. In Germany jüdisches Kulturerbe is usually identified with the relics of pre-Shoah German Jewish lifeworlds: as a dead matter, generally managed by members of the German, non-Jewish, majority. Against this, the Jewish understanding of "Jewish heritage" is encapsulated in the Anglo-American term "heritage". In this Jewish perspective, Jewish heritage is made up of the totality of all forms and expressions of Jewish life, tangible and intangible, past and present. To underline these different understandings of Erbe and heritage, the article uses the German term jüdisches Kulturerbe when referring to the German, non-Jewish dominated interpretation.

Immaterielles und materielles Kulturerbe in Praxis: Kinder von israelischen Migranten beim Ritual für Rosh HaShana (jüdisches neues Jahr), bei dem sowohl das gesprochene, israelische Hebräisch tradiert wird, als auch die gesungenen, oral tradierten Bestandteile der Liturgie. (© Katja Harbi)


Jewish cultural heritage includes its expressions in the form of music, architecture, literature, film, ritual, and everyday culture. However, social and cultural-political interest in jüdisches Kulturerbe, particularly as it presents materially or physically, only began to grow in Europe in the 1980s. This is related to a generally growing awareness of cultural, societal, and religious diversity and difference. Against this background, European societies of the present day are increasingly facing challenges linked to questions of identity and transitional justice, resulting in political projects, like the idea of a united Europe, which go beyond the concept of the nation state. At the same time, nationalist movements have grown in visibility. These movements, generally, are anti-European, antisemitic, and racist. In Germany, jüdisches Kulturerbe has been discovered as a resource, and as a means of political intervention with the goal ofstrengthening tolerance and intercultural competences. This prompts two key questions: First, from a wider point of view, what broad frameworks for tackling social challenges come into play through this understanding of jüdisches Kulturerbe? Second, what effect does this construction of jüdisches Kulturerbe, as opposed to Jewish heritage, have on Jewish communities in Germany today?

Jüdisches Kulturerbe and Jewish heritage in Germany

Immediately after the Shoah, the remaining, tangible cultural heritage of German Jewry became what can be described as "contested heritage". After 1945, international Jewish organisations, principally the Jewish Cultural Reconstruction (active in Germany 1948-1952), converted what remained of German-Jewish cultural assests – library holdings, ritual and art objects, and other abandoned, unclaimed cultural property – into collective Jewish property, and distributed it to Jewish communities abroad. The reasoning was that that there would not be any (new) Jewish life in Germany again. As the historian Dan Diner has commented, what was to become jüdisches Kulturerbe was assumed to become a relic, "a sacred sign of Jewish collective belonging after the catastrophe." However, the collection of what was left of these cultural assets – that is, what was physically left of pre-Shoah German Jewish heritage, and their removal from their native, German, territory – led to disagreements between international Jewish organisations and the spokespeople of the re-established Jewish communities in Germany. The latter found themselves experiencing something of a double dispossession.

The German-Jewish sociologist Alphons Silbermann pointed out the serious implications of this double loss; post-war Jewish communities in Germany could not fall back on some historical and local Jewish habitus, unlike the Jews of America or Switzerland, for example. Jews who had surivived in Germany and remained, or who had returned to the country after 1945, found themselves as part of a "[random] crowd of people of the same faith" who had been "thrown together at random, without any direction, and [psychologically] unhinged from [their previous] diverse, but discrete [Jewish] groups." The make up of the early post-Shoah population ranged from former members of the assimilated German-Jewish educated bourgeoisie, many of whom had survived by way of intermarriage to non-Jews, to Yiddish-speaking Jews from rural regions of Eastern Europe, whose communities had been completely destroyed. Differences in class, education, religious observance and practice, of language, and family structures were glaringly obvious – but above all these, these groups of Jews differed vastly in their experiences during the Holocaust.

Needless to say, the Jewish post-war communities struggled with social, economic, and cultural hardship. Worse still, they were faced with the consequences of the cherem, the social and communal exclusion of Jews who chose to remain in Germany – the "land of the murderers" – rather than emigrate to the newly founded State of Israel, a boycott imposed by the international Jewish collective. As a result, they developed the self-definition as "present absentees", a notion expressed pointedly by the oft-repeated statement of living out of "packed suitcases". According to Silbermann, to work through this self-definition and to build a new life in Germany post-Shoah, the post-war communities first had to resolve their internal conflicts and intra-community cultural differences – never mind the resentments and prejudices that these differences nurtured. Silbermann saw the key to the future viability of the Jewish community in on-going negotiation of cultural practices and identities, and acceptance of the notion of Jewish heritage as being a constant, inner-Jewish negotiation rather than cast in stone. If this negotiation did not happen, he predicted, Jewish communities would "in the best case, in a not too distant future, lapse into a state of permanent vegetation." Silbermann was right in this prediction. Until well into the 1980s, large parts of the Jewish community in Germany remained in exactly that state, as the Canada based, German-Jewish sociologist Y. Michal Bodemann has documented in his research. Driven by the feeling of not having arrived and not identifying, much of Germany’s post-Shoah Jewry lived in a "sojourner mentality" – a mentality which they passed on to their children.

Diverging concepts of Kulturerbe and Jewish (cultural) heritage

The Shoah created a Jewish vacuum in Germany that the re-established Jewish communities were unable to fill. On the one hand, they comprised less than 30.000 members at their peak, and the membership was ageing fast: deaths outnumbered birth, young Jews emigrated. On the other hand, the diverse membership of the communities was hidden somewhat by the small numbers, and it never became any less diverse. This oddity owes to the fact that the Jewish population in West Germany only ever grew by way of immigration, never by natural growth. While these Jews recognised each other as Jews, their Jewishnesses differed significantly. In "normal" circumstances, this diversity might have been unremarkable. But becasue many of these Jews were the only survivors of their previous communities and/or their families, that they couldn’t transmit and continue their heritage was yet another loss, a lived and continuing loss. As a consequence, the different Jewish heritages of Germany after the Shoah were and are largely the heritages of Jewish (im)migrants. Only a tiny amount of the organised communities were made up of Jews of German descent – that is, Jews with family biographies from pre-1945 Germany. In other words, deutsch-jüdisches Kulturerbe was indeed a dead matter in Germany itself, an Erbe with very few local heirs. Pre-Nazi German Jewish heritage lived on in the USA, in South America, in the UK, and in Israel; but it withered away in its native country, with new post-Shoah communities on the whoe dominated by Eastern European Jewish migrants to Germany. The awareness context and the sociological analyses of Alphons Silbermann was probably shaped by his own experiences of the pre- and post-Shoah communities. As a native German Jew, he belonged to a minority of a minority. He argued for the need to reconcile, for communities to connect the German Jewish minority and the Eastern European Jewish majority heritages. He himself was a Cologne born, raised, and returned Jew, and is buried in the cemetery of the Cologne Jewish community. Silbermann is a rarity amongst post-Shoah German Jewry: he was born and buried in the same city.

Thanks to the lack of Jewish heirs and the small overall number of Jews, committed non-Jewish individuals and groups have since the late 1960s dedicated themselves to discovering and preserving what is left of Germany’s once flourishing Jewish culture. This commitment cannot be interpreted as separate from attempts to create a distance between themselves and the Germany’s National Socialist past. The anchor is the sense of a new, modern European image, creating a basis for new Jewish life. In this difficult context, and with hardly any living Jews and even fewer German Jews in Germany itself, the German non-Jewish understanding of jüdisches Kulturerbe took shape.

By constructing their own understanding of German Jewish cultural heritage as jüdisches Kulturerbe, Germany’s non-Jewish majority society hoped to create a political instrument for fighting antisemitism and promoting tolerance, cultural diversity, and interreligious dialogue – through symbolic elevation of the Jewish past existence. Following this logic, Jewish sites in the shape of tangible Kulturerbe such as synagogues or cemeteries, abandoned due to the Shoah, acquired specific cultural-political values and meanings – significance thanks to the seal of approval that is jüdisches Kulturerbe. This, at the same time, created opportunities for economically viable cultural tourism.

The German term jüdisches Kulturerbe is, basically, a frame of reference used by experts in the fields of monument preservation, museums, tourism, or politic, and refers to tangible objects of a destroyed Jewish past. Intangible forms of Jewish heritage, such as music, rituals, knowledge and everyday practices – typically passed from one generation to the next – are excluded as a matter of course. Strikingly, relevant insights from the field of Critical Heritage Studies do not register in the German-language conversation about jüdisches Kulturerbe. Critical Heritage Studies argues in favour of the "integrative turn": that tangible and intangible forms of cultural heritage are intertwined, and cannot be understood separately.

The divergent ideas of Jewish cultural heritage – i.e., the internal or emic view of the Jewish collective on their cultural heritage, and the outside or etic view of the surrounding non-Jewish society on 'their' deutsch-jüdisches Kulturerbe – clash in the lived experiences all those heirs who feel entitled to both Kulturerbe and heritage: the Jewish communities themselves on both the national international level; and non-Jewish German society, with its cultural heritage experts, historical associations, and actors in the field of memorial and remembrance culture. In Germany, the etic view on jüdische Kulturerbe is dominant. That is why the discourse about jüdisches Kulturerbe often feels disconnected from lived Jewish heritage and living Jews on the ground. This affects the preservation of Jewish cultural heritage – and of the Jewish communities themselves, who, on the whole, feel quite distant from the pre-Shoah deutsch-jüdisches Kulturerbe.

Cultural Heritage Preservation or Cultural Appropriation?

Difference in the understanding of Jewish heritage vs. jüdisches Kulturerbe can be seen in the research and teaching of Judaic Studies, Jewish Studies, and Jewish Theology in German universities. The tangible forms of jüdisches Kulturerbe are set centre-stage – ritual objects, cemeteries, scripts, or architectural monuments. These and other objects are restored, digitised, museumised and exhibited, with support from state funding. The pre-Shoah intellectual Kulturerbe, with its many writings, is a part of this package. Heinrich Heine and Moses Mendelsohn remain some of the best known German Jewish intellectuals thanks to this, as well as German-speaking Jews such as Franz Kafka, Paul Celan, or Albert Einstein – who may very well take issue with their posthumous Germanisation, and who would possibly find themselves in the company of Hannah Arendt, who in the years since her death has become larger than life in Germany.

This patrimonialisation (that is, the process by which a society ascribes cultural heritage status to tangible or intangible objects) in the name of social sciences and humanties has serious implications. It has been led to the archaeologisation of jüdisches Kulturerbe, and to its out-sized objectification. In combination, these form the basis for the (re)construction of past Jewish life-worlds from a primarily non-Jewish perspective. This image of jüdisches Kulturerbe that emerges disregards the living Jewish heritage – i.e. expressions of Jewish life, being, and action in their totality – and to a large degree based on knowledge about former Jewish elites. The reason is as simple as it is banal. There is more data on elites than on the lower classes; elites left behind significant amounts of material wealth. Put bluntly: more kiddush cups survived than coffee mugs, because ritual objects are of a higher quality and value, and were protected better from the wear and tear of everyday objects. How important these high quality objects were indeed to their owners can only be assessed if written sources survived. If there are none, both subjective value and meaning are open to interpretation.

Despite the possibility of mismatch between material and personal value, objects of ritual are accorded higher value from the outside than everyday objects – narrowing further the perspective on jüdisches Kulturerbe. In Germany itself, local Jewish scholars observe sceptically that mostly non-Jewish initiatives dedicate themselves to the protection of the dead. This structure, and the dominance of non-Jewish safeguards, undermines the academic discussion of the living Jewish heritage. The curious paradox that emerged is that jüdisches Kulturerbe came to be understood as a national German heritage post-Shoah, thanks to this appropriation of jüdisches Kulturerbe within the scientific realm. Problematically, the numerically small and intellectually insignificant Jewish minority during the decades after the Shoah could hardly oppose this appropriation; as it stands, the community still lacks the personal, professional, and intellectual terms necessary to counterbalance the post-war structures of jüdisches Kulturerbe.

In its 1989 "Recommendation on the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Folklore", UNESCO advocates the principle that the entirety of the creations of a cultural community based on their traditions must be protected by and for the group whose identity it expresses. Thus, cultural heritage must be preserved for future generations in the spirit of the group – that is to say, in the spirit of the original stakeholder. In the case of the cultural heritage of Jews in Germany, however, the succession is different than in the regular course of generations. The Shoah irreversibly destroyed both Jewish life-worlds and the internal Jewish infrastructure. As a result of the murder of the Jewish population, potential heirs were either never born or migrated abroad. Those who remained in Germany after 1945 were unable, or unwilling, to pass on their Jewish heritage. The few traditions that remained are the exception; the Jewish practices of the everyday, rather than the sum total of heritage, such as the scripts and their commentaries, or Jewish philosophy. Furthermore, even the little left in terms of tangible cultural heritage was at risk for a long time after the Shoah, as the small Jewish community also lacked financial resources. They could not protect the Jewish cultural heritage in the localities where they had come to sojourn, or where some of them had settled. The "Raschi-Lehrhaus" in Worms, which in the Middle Ages housed one of the most important yeshivot in the German-speaking world, bears witness to this. The post-Shoah Jewish community could not raise the funds to protect it; it was demolished in 1971. Somewhat ironically, the leftovers of the former Jewish glory of Worms, but also Speyer and Mainz were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2021. What one can understand from this is that jüdisches Kulturerbe had become important for the non-Jewish majority; a valuable political resource, given that applications to the UNESCO must be made by the nation state which "homes" the cultural heritage. From a broader point of view, this constitutes a general problem wth respect to the protection of cultural heritage of any minority, because – in the course of heritagisation – the nation state becomes the mandated protector of a minority’s cultural heritage. This transformation in stakeholdership, in this case the Germanisation of Jewish heritage as jüdisches Kulturerbe, is a rather new development.

The development of a dichotomous understanding of jüdisches Kulturerbe as opposed to Jewish cultural heritage is ultimately a long-term consequence of the Shoah. The deutsch-jüdisches Kulturerbe of the past, in many cases a jüdisches Kulturerbe without Jewish heirs, was discovered by Germany’s non-Jewish society as a resource for the (re)construction of a state that no longer exists. In contrast, the Jewish heritage of Jews living in Germany seemed and seems much less interesting, and much less desirable. The present Jewish population shows a whole range of Jewish (everyday) practices, depending on their level of observance and their country of origin; contradictions and differences in opinion underline the living, as opposed to the previous and withering Jewish community.

Present-day German Jewry are evidence that the negotiations that Silbermann deemed crucial decades ago are finally taking place. Debates about being Jewish in Germany, in which "doing Jewish" is just as much part of the normal state of affairs as the dissonant, trauma-laden legacy of genocide, flight, expulsion, and migration, are as much part of the cultural heritage of Jews in Germany, as are their cultural and religious practices or the scant remnants of a past Jewish life in the country. But the decisive factor is that Jews claim their Jewish heritage for themselves and insist on a boundary between themselves and the non-Jewish majority society. While non-Jewish custodians of the jüdisches Kulturerbe of the past can acquire academic knowledge about it, access to the living Jewish heritage can only be through the ingroup, the genuine heirs, and their emic perspective. To understand Jewish heritage inside out, experts need to immerse themselves into the "field", in order to create an empathetic but reflexive quasi-emic perspective in the fashion of ethnographers.

The struggle about the socio-political significance: Intersecting Kulturerbe and cultural heritage?

The intergenerational relationship between survivors of the Shoah and their children was poisoned by the older generation’s traumatic memories of the catastrophic events and the experiences of persecution and extermination, impossible to integrate into everyday life after the Shoah. Negotiating this trauma was trumped by the need for economic survival, and thus pragmatic professional choices on the part of the survivors and their children. This fed into an anti-intellectual climate in the post-war organised Jewish community. The number of publicly visible Jewish intellectuals of the First and Second Generation is, accordingly, small. This condition impacted on how lived Jewish heritage was passed on to the following generations, and to what extent it was passed on at all. Trauma and culture formed the double helix of the new DNA of Jewish identity in Germany for survivors, their children, and grandchildren – who constituted the absolute majority of all Jews in Germany post-1945 and until the post-Soviet immigration of the 1990s and 2000s. Needless to say, this inner-Jewish dynamic had a very serious and long-term effect on attempts to preserve Jewish heritage.

So, what was transmitted as Jewish heritage to the generations of Jews born after the Shoah? Jewish scholars who study Jewish life in Europe after the Shoah confirm that family traditions were passed on, and Jewish holidays with their specific rituals, songs, and food were observed. High culture, however, was beyond most of the survivors in the early post-war years. The maintenance of Jewish salons for example, characteristic of the period of Jewish emancipation at the end of the 18th century and afterwards, became a thing of the past, of the dead matter jüdisches Kulturerbe. Likewise, profound understanding of Jewish ritual and liturgical knowledge was subject to a break in the chain of transmission. In consequence, a completely new living Jewish heritage emerged from the ruins of the German Jewry of before 1933 – a radical break from, specifically, this Jewish culture of the pre-war period. What emerged was rather unattractive to the non-Jewish majority as a cultural-political resource. It still causes unease and defensive reactions on the part of outsiders today. The effects of the Shoah are too obvious and too close for comfort with the living Jews. In the rarest of cases, Jews living in Germany today have German family biographies, they have different forms of practice compared to the pre-1933 German Jews; but their relationship to the German majority society remains scarred by the past, and they themselves often do not feel German, regardless of their German citizenship. They challenge power relations by insisting on being met at eye-level and with their diverse and specific Jewish identities and, in consequence, their different Jewish heritages.

Germany’s Jewish community has ultimately remained alive due to Jewish immigration. Its present size and scale of activity would not have been possible without immigration from the former Soviet Union. In a nutshell: without immigration and Jewish immigrants who remained in the country, what would left would be the jüdisches Kulturerbe of the past, but no living Jewish heritage. This predominantly migrant Jewish heritage stands in contradiction to the idea of the supposed continuity of Jewish life – as celebrated, for example, last year in many events of the festival year "1.700 years of Jewish life in Germany" (sic).

Owing to Jewish immigration, a much larger number of Jews live in Germany today than immediately after the Shoah. It cannot be repeated often enough that there would be no Jewish heritage, communities, and no Jewish future in Germany without Jewish immigration. By way of immigration, a critical mass of Jewish stakeholders has emerged for the first time since the Shoah – Jews with a wealth of Jewish knowledge, and with keen awareness of their own and other Jewish heritages. These Jewish activists, academics and politicians insist that jüdisches Kulturerbe and Jewish heritage are often unrelated, but that jüdisches Kulturerbe dominates and guides perceptions of both dead and living Jews. It is at this point that the issue of jüdisches Kulturerbe vs. Jewish heritage comes full circle. Non-Jewish heritage experts appropriated what seemed to be a heirless jüdisches Kulturerbe after 1945, while Jews today see themselves with their Jewish heritage as part of the here and now. As Jews they are part of an increasingly diverse country that is strongly influenced by migration, whether Jewish or non-Jewish. These Jews exemplify resilience, the ability to speak up and to speak out; they are adamantly pointing out that jüdisches Kulturerbe, Jewish heritage, along with the non-Jewish, Christian and post-Christian German cultural heritage and the often anti-Muslim notion of a Jewish-Christian occident are inextricably intertwined as post-Shoah phenomena. Power structures and intergroup relations need to be analysed, discussed, and renegotiated.



  1. "Transitional justice" means a society's confrontation with previous regimes of injustice and their victims. See, for example, Anja Mihr, Gert Pickel, and Susanne Pickel (eds.), Handbuch Transitional Justice. Coming to terms with injustice - towards the rule of law and democracy, Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 2017.

  2. Elisabeth Gallas, Anna Holzer-Kawalko, Caroline Jessen, and Yfaat Weiss (eds.), Contested Heritage. Jewish Cultural Property after 1945, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2020, pp. 10–12.

  3. Dan Diner, "Im Zeichen des Banns", in: Michael Brenner (ed.), Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland von 1945 bis zur Gegenwart. Politik, Kultur und Gesellschaft, München: Verlag C. H. Beck, 2012, pp. 15–66, here p. 29.

  4. Ibid., pp. 26–31.

  5. It is important to understand that Silbermann used the German term Glauben (faith), which based on the pre-Shoah self-definition of German Jews as German citizens of Jewish faith.

  6. Alphons Silbermann, "Zur sozial-kulturellen Situation der jüdischen Gemeinden in Deutschland. Bemerkungen und Fragen der geistigen Wiedergutmachung", in: Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, Vol. 12 (1960), pp. 204–223, here p. 208.

  7. Diner, "Im Zeichen des Banns" (see endnote 3), Sp. 20. See also Anthony D. Kauders, Unmögliche Heimat. Eine deutsch-jüdische Geschichte der Bundesrepublik, München: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 2007.

  8. Diner, "Im Zeichen des Banns" (see endnote 3), p. 44 et seqq.

  9. Silbermann, "Zur sozial-kulturellen Situation" (see endnote 5), p. 218.

  10. Y. Michal Bodemann, In den Wogen der Erinnerung. Jüdische Existenz in Deutschland, München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 2002.

  11. Ibid.

  12. See also Ruth Ellen Gruber, Virtually Jewish. Reinventing Jewish culture in Europe, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002; Miranda Crowdus and Sarah M. Ross, “Applied Ethnomusicology and Jewish Music Studies. Negotiating ‚Third Mission‘ Requests in Germany Today,” in: Michael Fuhr, Kerstin Klenke and Julio Mendivil (eds.), Diggin’ up Music. Musikethnologie als Baustelle, Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 2021, pp. 120–144, here p. 109; Geneviève Zubrzycki. Resurrecting the Jew: Nationalism, Philosemitism, and Poland’s Jewish Revival, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2022. Gruber‘s and Zubrzycki‘s studies underline that this is a European and not a purely national German long-term phenomenon, although it does have national specifics.

  13. For a more detailed discussion of this aspect, see Sarah M. Ross, “’Jüdisches Kulturerbe’ vis-à-vis ‘Jewish Heritage.’ Einleitende Überlegungen zur Idee einer kulturellen Nachhaltigkeit in den Jüdischen Musikstudien,“ in: Sarah M. Ross (ed.), Jüdisches Kulturerbe MUSIK – Divergenzen und Zeitlichkeit. Überlegungen zu einer kulturellen Nachhaltigkeit aus Sicht der Jüdischen Musikstudien, Bern: Peter Lang, 2021, pp. 19–39, here p. 20, 22–23.

  14. See Keith Emerick, Conserving and Managing Ancient Monuments. Heritage, Democracy, and Inclusion, Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2014, p. 5; Laurajane Smith, Uses of Heritage, London/New York: Routledge, 2006, p. 44.

  15. Robert Redfield, The Little Community and Peasant Society and Culture, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1956.

  16. Fiorella Dallari, "The Heritage from Cultural Turn to Inclusive Turn. The Cultural and Sacred Landscape of the UNESCO List: A Sustainable Track to overcome the Dichotomy between Tangible and Intangible Heritage?", in: Proceedings of TCL 2016 Conference "Tourism and Cultural Landscapes. Towards a Sustainable Approach", Budapest: Foundation for Information Society, 2016, pp. 129–141, here p. 129, 131. See also Sarah M. Ross, "Jewish Musical Heritage in Post-War Germany. Negotiating Jewish Self-Understanding through Synagogue Chant", in: Katrin Keßler, Sarah M. Ross, Barbara Staudinger and Leah Weik (eds.), Jewish Life and Culture in Germany after 1945. Sacred Spaces, Objects and Musical Traditions, Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2022. pp. 189–210, here p. 192.

  17. See Dani Kranz and Sarah M. Ross, "Jüdische Selbstermächtigung in der deutschen Wissenschaftslandschaft. Tektonische Verschiebungen in der Judaistik und den Jüdischen Studien nach 1990", in: Marina Chernivsky and Friederike Lorenz-Sinai (eds.), Weitergaben und Wirkungen der Shoah in Erziehungs- und Bildungsverhältnissen der Gegenwartsgesellschaft, Leverkusen: Barbara Budrich Verlag, 2022, pp. 79–100. See also the current research project of the two authors: "Wissensarchitekturen. Kartierung von Strukturen jüdischer Kulturerbeprozesse auf kommunaler, organisatorischer und akademischer Ebene in Europa nach 1945", Externer Link: Externer Link:

  18. UNESCO, Recommendation on the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Folklore, Paris, 15. November 1989, Externer Link: Externer Link:

  19. Dani Kranz, Shades of Jewishness. The Creation and Maintenance of a Liberal Jewish Community in Post-Shoah Germany, Diss. University of St Andrews 2009, Externer Link: Externer Link:

  20. Central Archive for Research on the History of the Jews in Germany, folder B.1/18 Nr. 59–61.

  21. Yael Navaro, "The Aftermath of Mass Violence. A Negative Methodology", in: Annual Review of Anthropology 49 (2020), pp. 161–173.

  22. Kurt Grünberg, "Contaminated Generativity. Holocaust Survivors and Their Children in Germany", in: The American Journal of Psychoanalysis 67 (2007), pp. 82–97.

  23. See Kauders, Unmögliche Heimat (cp. endnote 6); Liliane Weissberg, "Jewish Studies or Gentile Studies. A Discipline in Search for Its Subject", in: Y. Michal Bodemann (ed.), The New Germany Jewry and the European Context. The Return of the European Jewish Diaspora, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008, pp. 101–110.

  24. Dani Kranz, "Notes on Embodiment and Narratives Beyond Words", in: Bettina Hoffmann und Ursula Reuter (Hg.), Translated Memories. Transgenerational Perspectives on the Holocaust, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2020, pp. 347–369.

  25. American sociologist Lynn Rapaport noted as early as 1997 that the category "Jew" for Second Generation Jews was essentialist: one was a Jew because one was not a non-Jew. See Lynn Rapaport, Jews and Germans After the Holocaust, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

  26. Bodemann, In den Wogen der Erinnerung (cp. endnote 9).

  27. Monica Black, Witches, Wonder Doctors, and the Ghosts of the Past in Post-WWII Germany, New York: Metropolitan Books, 2020.

  28. The number of Jews in Germany has increased solely through immigration, but not through natural growth. The immigration of more than 219,604 Jewish quota refugees from the former Soviet Union has contributed greatly to the current size of the total, which is estimated to be more than 250,000 if the Israeli Law of Return is applied to circumscribe ‘Jewishness.’


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Dani Kranz ist DAAD Visiting Professorin an der Ben Gurion Universität, Israel, und arbeitet als angewandte Anthropologin und Direktorin von Two Foxes Consulting, Deutschland. Ihr Hintergrund sind Anthropologie, Sozialpsychologie, Geschichte und Judaistik, ihre Expertise liegt in der Migrations- und Ethnizitätsforschung, Rechtsanthropologie, Anthropologie des Staates, und in der intergenerationalen Tradierung und Erinnerungskultur/-politik. In ihrer angewandten Arbeit ist sie u. a. Mitglied im Beratungskreis des Bundesbeauftragten für jüdisches Leben und der Bekämpfung von Antisemitismus, im Rat für Migration, und kooperiert mit Stiftungen, Museen und NROs.

Sarah M. Ross ist Professorin für Jüdische Musikstudien und Direktorin des Europäischen Zentrums für Jüdische Musik an der Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover. Sie ist Koordinatorin des DFG-Schwerpunktprogramms "Jüdisches Kulturerbe" (SPP 2357). Ihre aktuellen Forschungsinteressen sind Musik und jüdisches Kulturerbe, kulturelle Nachhaltigkeit, jüdische Gegenwartsforschung, Wissenschaftspolitik, sowie jüdisch-liturgische Musik in Deutschland heute. Sie ist Autorin von "A Season of Singing: Creating Feminist Jewish Music in the United States" (Brandeis University Press, 2016), Autorin und Herausgeberin von "Jüdisches Kulturerbe MUSIK - Divergenzen und Zeitlichkeit" (Peter Lang 2021) und Mitherausgeberin von "Cultural Mapping and Musical Diversity" (Equinox, 2020) sowie "Judaism and Emotion: Texte, Performance, Erfahrung" (Peter Lang 2013).