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Rescue of the Jews and the Resistance in France

From History to Historiography

Renée Poznanski

Two obstacles blocked the incorporation of the rescue of Jews in France into the Resistance movement. The first, which can be traced back to the sources of the social imaginary, had to do with the fear of stirring the old demon of the Jewish problem by referring specifically to the fate awaiting the Jews. The second was inseparable from the meaning attached to the Resistance ever since its inception, which focused on political opposition to Vichy and on the liberation of France and never included rescuing those whose lives were in danger. This double marginalization (from the History of the French people as a whole and from that of the Resistance) survived liberation and gave way to three different historiographies: that of the French Resistance, that of the rescue of the Jews, and that of Jewish resistance. The history of the rescue of the Jews in France should be studied through an integrated perspective that leads to thinking about the Resistance as a whole, organized and unorganized, Jewish and non-Jewish.

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The Rescue, Relief, and Resistance Activities of Rabbi Zalman Schneerson

Does it Count as a Rescue When a Jew Saves a Fellow Jew?

Harriet Jackson

This article explores the relief, rescue, and resistance activities of Rabbi Zalman Schneerson and the Association des Israélites pratiquants (AIP) in Vichy France. The rabbi's prior experience in clandestine activities and spiritual resistance in the Soviet Union served as a training ground for the resistance work he eventually undertook in Vichy. Schneerson and his family were able to shelter, feed, and educate more than eighty children during the war, save at least fifty-three children from deportation, and help smuggle at least thirty-five children to Switzerland. That Schneerson and his family survived and rescued Jewish refugees in Vichy France, a regime that willingly deported nearly half of its foreign Jewish population to death camps, demonstrates that he and his wife Sara were not novices in clandestine work. Indeed, their staunch resistance to Vichy antisemitism was largely a legacy of Hasidic resistance to antisemitism under Soviet rule.

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Righteous Gentiles and Courageous Jews

Acknowledging and Honoring Rescuers of Jews

Mordecai Paldiel

Since 1962, Yad Vashem, Israel's national Holocaust memorial, has pursued a program to honor non-Jewish rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust. Basically, every non-Jewish person who saved at least one Jewish person, while placing his or her own life and freedom at risk, and exacted no payment as a precondition for such help, and the story's evidence is confirmed by beneficiary party—then such a person may qualify to the traditional Jewish title for non-Jews, of Righteous Among the Nations. To date, some 23,500 persons, from all walks of life have been awarded this prestigious title. However, while many of these honorees worked in tandem with Jewish rescuers, no similar program exists for the latter. Recent Holocaust historiography has uncovered stories of many Jewish rescuers, who either worked individually or in conjunction with Jewish clandestine organizations, to save dozens and hundreds of their coreligionists. In doing this, they multiplied the risks to themselves as Jews on the run, of being uncovered by the Nazis and suffering the fate reserved for all Jews under the Final Solution program. This article underlines the need for the creation of a program to identify and acknowledge the role of Jewish rescuers to Jews.

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Assessing the Consequences of the 1999 German Citizenship Act

Triadafilos Triadafilopoulos

This special issue of German Politics and Society offers a retrospective look at

the German Citizenship Act (Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz, StAG), which passed in

1999 and came into force in 2000.1 The law was and continues to be understood

by many academics, policymakers, and lay commentators as constituting

a “paradigm shift” in German citizenship policy and, by extension,

prevailing conceptions of German nationhood. The introduction of the law

of territory (jus soli), in particular, was greeted as a welcome acknowledgement

of Germany’s de facto status as a modern immigration country. Children

born and raised in Germany would no longer be rendered permanent

foreigners as a consequence of the dominance of the law of descent (jus sanguinis)

in the Reichs- und Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz (RuStAG), 1913. Proponents

assumed that the reduction of the residency requirement for naturalization

would also allow greater numbers of long settled immigrants to assume the

rights and privileges of German nationality. Just as importantly, Germany

would join the European mainstream as regarded citizenship policy. The

stigma associated with its traditionally ethnic conception of nationhood

would give way to a more positive, civic identity.

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Index to Volume 29 (2011)

Index to Volume 29 (2011)

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Political Radicalism in France

Perspectives on a Protean Concept

James Shields

This introductory article reflects on the new momentum that political radicalism has taken on in France. The ebb and flow of radical aspiration featured regularly in French politics under the Fourth and early Fifth Republics, before the failure of the "Socialist experiment" in the early 1980s brought about a paradigm shift. In the wake of this failure and with the "end of ideology" supposedly in sight, political leaders and parties tempered their appeals to radical solutions and conspired, not least through recurrent power-sharing, to vacate mainstream political discourse of much of its former radicalism. Since the presidential election of 2007, however, there has been a marked return to promises of radical change as the common currency of political discourse across the full left-right spectrum in France. This article introduces a special issue of French Politics, Culture & Society that brings together scholars from France, Britain, and Canada to discuss some of the meanings, expressions, and prospects of political radicalism in France today.

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Cosmopolitanism and the Study of German Politics

Claire Sutherland

This special issue sets out to examine aspects of German politics, philosophy,

and society through the multifaceted lens of cosmopolitanism. A complex

and contested concept, cosmopolitanism has particularly important

implications for the study of contemporary nation-states, as conventional

understandings of bounded territory and sovereignty are reassessed in the

context of globalization, migration and transnationalism. Accordingly, this

introduction aims to outline several key strands of cosmopolitan thought

with reference both to contemporary Germany and the wider global conjuncture,

in order to provide a conceptual framework for the articles that

follow. It begins by briefly placing cosmopolitanism in the context of the

evolving concepts of German Heimat (homeland) and nation, because contemporary

cosmopolitanism can only be fully understood in relation to

nationalism. It then looks at the relevance of methodological, political and

ethical cosmopolitanism for the study of nation-states today, before introducing

the five articles in the special issue.

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