“Dear Child of Israel” or “a Cheap Partner”: The Relation of the Israeli Consulate in Munich to the German Jewry 1948-1953, Abstract by Irit Chen
As a paradox, the end of the Second World War and the Holocaust made Germany a gathering place for the persecuted European Jewry. In 1945 around 50,000 displaced Jews lived in DP camps. At the same time, around 19,000 German Jews were rescued thanks to assimilation, mixed marriages and hiding. From 1945 to 1948 the Jewish life in Germany was reestablished. Zionist society and activities were taken in to the DP camps while the local Jewry rebuilt the communities.
In the view of Israel, the establishment of the state of Israel in May 1948 made the end of Jewish life in Germany not only possible but necessary. Jewish life couldn’t be accepted in the land of the predator. In Israeli eyes, existence of Jews in Germany was seen as a mark of disgrace, they were described as “garbage” and therefore were boycotted. The boycott was part of a wider Israeli attitude regarding Germany from the end of the 40’s and beginning of the 50’s – a political and cultural boycott on the successor of the Third Reich. Therefore the presence of an Israeli consulate in Munich was exceptional.
Since Israeli consulates around the world have a role of maintaining contact with the local Jewish community, my research aim is to discuss the relation of the consulate to the boycotted German Jewry. The research question is whether the consulate reflected the Israeli boycott on the German Jewish community. I will answer this question by examining sub-questions. First, how the consulate negotiated the boycott. Second, if and under which circumstances the consulate broke the boycott. I will respond to these questions by examining the Consulate contacts with the community, its part in the establishment of Der Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland in 1950 and its relation with salient political figures.
My name is Irit Chen and I come from Israel. I hold a bachelor in Psychology and Political Science (summa cum laude), from Haifa University. Currently I study for master’s degree at the Haifa Center for German and European Studies in Haifa University (HCGES) and write my thesis about the Israeli Consulate in Munich in 1948-1953. My main fields of interest are Israel-Germany relations and the re-establishment of the German Jewry after the Second World War.
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