Jan 23 - Minorities
• German-Jewish question most important to understanding today's
• -Influences Germany on many levels: Where it stands in the EU, i.e:
cares to be benevolent along with France. Values the EU closely, can be
explained by their actions in WW2
• Germany's financial support of Israel can be explained by its former
-Jews have lived in Germany for thousands of years, arguably longer than
-4th century (321), Roman Emperor Constantine's rule had the first reported
instances of Jews in Germany, in the Rhine area. They came as settlers,
worked as artisans/traders. They were a very educated community with well-
-1st German Emperor: Charlemagne (claimed by France as well)
-Jews were given imperial privileges. Participated in public life. Their
-In the medieval era, problems began to occur for the Jews: widespread
prosecution. Jews were blamed for the black plague and were burned for it.
Scapegoating. Forced conversions.
-They were required to wear distinct clothing to distinguish them from the
rest of the population.
-Starting in the 1st/2nd crusades, the distinction between
Christianity/Judaism became greater.
This was not a strictly German phenomenon; it was happening throughout
Western Europe. These were European trends and not enough to explain the
holocaust. During the Spanish Inquisition, as in Nazi Germany, conversion to
other religions did not help stop the pogroms.
Even orders from the Pope did not stop the mob killings.
"Court Jews" - Jews who rose to important positions in the government,
working on financial matters and received government protection. This did
not mean they were accepted; they were still treated as a foreign element.
The Enlightenment (18th century)
-Reason/Rationality. Egalitarianism (equality in the law). To determine
equality you must first determine what is a person. Universalism
Jews were now longer considered different peoples, but the same as
everyone else (in the eyes of the law). Their special protection was removed. -During the enlightenment, Jewish-German thinkers emerged: Moses
Mendelssohn. Father of the Jewish Enlightenment - "Be a Jew in your house
and a man outside of it"
-Mendelssohn was a close friend of Lessing (Nathan the Wise author)
-The idea of a split between private/public.
• In the public realm, discussion takes place "where men meet as rational
beings" to discuss political/philosophical ideas.
• Private realm: family
French Revolution (1789)
-Gave legal rights to Jews as per universalism
Question of whether or not man has one or many origins.
-Emerged as travel increased and people encountered many foreign cultures. The
Bible says Adam/Eve. Kant believed in one initial couple and it branched out
through climatic influences (climate).