The home experience of German Jews under the Nazi regime

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The concept and the experience of “home” is a key element in the “lived space” of the modern era. This article analyzes the changing perceptions of home among bourgeois German Jews living under the Nazi regime—a period when all notions of stability and consistency were shattered by external events and developments. Using rich private (diaries, correspondence and photos) and public (Jewish press) sources while drawing on theoretical frameworks employed in the social sciences (such as human geography, environmental psychology and cultural anthropology) it explores how various formations of “home,” domesticity, and Gemütlichkeit were transformed among German Jewish men and women and impacted the construction of self. Owing to their unique circumstances created by their tragic experience under the Nazi regime, German Jews can serve as an illuminating case study of a declining bourgeois social group struggling to adapt its domestic habitus to deteriorating legal, economic and social conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-212
Number of pages38
JournalPast and Present
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 May 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
* This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation, Grant No. 372/15. I would like to thank my devoted research assistant Judith Siepmann and my dear friend and colleague Jay R. Berkovitz for their kind help. I also thank my friends Doron Avraham, Miriam Berkowitz, Inbal Ofer and Orr Scharf.

RAMBI publications

  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Germany
  • Jews -- Dwellings -- Germany
  • Home -- Religious aspects -- Judaism


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