After the Rescue: Jewish Identity and Community in by A. Buckser

By A. Buckser

In October of 1943, the Danish resistance rescued just about all of the Jews in Copenhagen from roundups through the occupying Nazis. within the years considering that, Jews became deeply engaged in a Danish tradition that offers only a few boundaries of antisemitism or prejudice. This publication explores the questions that such inclusion increases for the Danish Jews, and what their solutions can let us know in regards to the that means of faith, ethnicity and group in sleek society. Social scientists have lengthy argued that modernity poses demanding situations for normal ethnic groups, through breaking down the networks of locality, kinship, faith and profession that experience held such groups jointly. For the Danish Jews, inclusion into the bigger society has ended in expanding fragmentation, because the neighborhood has cut up right into a bewildering array of spiritual, social, and political factions. but it is still certainly one of Scandinavia's most crucial spiritual organisations, and Jewishness continues to be primary to self-understanding for millions of its participants. How this has occurred - how the Jewish international has maintained its importance whereas wasting any feel of coherence or team spirit - indicates a brand new figuring out of the that means of ethnic group in modern society.

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Others, however, engaged the question directly—most notably Meir Goldschmidt, whose novels A Jew (1968) and The Raven (1867) explored the dilemmas of Jewish identity in Danish society. The nineteenth century did not merely bring Danish culture into the Jewish community, it also brought Jews—as influential, three-dimensional figures—into the heart of Danish culture. Jews did diverge from the larger Danish population in one area: their economic standing, which increased over the nineteenth century at a pace far beyond that of Denmark as a whole.

Likewise, Jewish men were liable to imprisonment and subsequent banishment if they impregnated a Christian woman. A Jew swearing an oath in a court case had to do so in the synagogue, dressed in ceremonial robes with a rabbi and other functionaries present; the oath itself involved a lengthy set of pronouncements designed to counter the Jew’s presumed disposition to lie (Balslev 1932: 18–20; Blum 1972: 23). Anti-Semitism in Denmark was significantly milder than elsewhere in Europe, and Jews were seldom visited with physical assaults.

This page intentionally left blank ² 1 The Community in Time ulf Wallich was a child of the sixties, and he gave the rabbi fits. Like a number of young, progressive Jews in the eighties, he thought that the Jewish community was behind the times. Its leaders seemed to think they were in a seventeenth-century shtetl, not modern urban Copenhagen, and they didn’t want to adapt to the changing world around them. He and his friends made a lot of trouble for the heads of the community, even taking them to court on accusations of skimming funds.

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