Page 24 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
itics of race had reached its limit.20 We must take into account
the German Jews’ perspective on life during the first years of
Hitler’s rule, which differs so completely from the retrospective
of historical observation. I f we fail to do so, discussions of the
cultural question and many other areas remain more or less
incomprehensible.
JEWISH RESPONSE
Before judging the behavior of Jews during the Th ird Reich,
we must take into account not only National Socialist policy,
but also the broader historical context. Without passing a moral
judgment, I would like to venture the assertion that there were
no really innovative developments in the Jewish publishing in­
dustry, owing to the changed political climate (the one exception
was the unsuccessful attempt by Erich Reiss to make a Jewish
publishing house out of his German one). By and large pub­
lishers just continued directions that had been undertaken be­
fore 1933 and sometimes even as far back as the nineteenth
century.21 O f course, certain modifications of an organizational
and literary-conceptual nature are discernible, especially at
Schocken Verlag, which reacted to the challenge of 1933 with
a substantial broadening and popularization of its production.
Crucial to the success of these activities was the publisher’s ability
to combine current intellectual tools with its cultural Zionist con­
ception that had been developed in the ideological battles of
the 1920s. Other publishers, especially the old traditional ones,
had a much harder time. Their editorial plan, which grew out
of the period of assimilation, was indebted to denominational
Judaism. Its type of argumentation proved to be as ineffective
in the new Nazi state as the arguments developed in the Jewish
Abwehrkampf (defensive battle),22 when the opponent they had
20 Cf. Uwe Dietrich Adam,
Judenpolitik im Dritten Reich
(Diisseldorf, 1972), p.
130f.
21 The established publishers were M. Lehrberger & Co. in Rodelheim bei
Frankfurt (founded in 1832; Wolf Heidenheim was its predecessor), I.
Kauffmann in Frankfurt (1832), M.W. Kaufmann in Leipzig (1828), M.
Poppelauer (1860) and C. Boas Nachf. (1863) in Berlin, and Jacob B.
Brandeis in Breslau (1899).
22 On the Jewish Abwehrkampf see Arnold Pauker, ‘Der j iid isch e
Abwehrkampf, ’ in
Entscheidungsjahr 1932. Zur Judenfrage in der Endphase
der Weimarer Republik.
Anthology edited by Werner E. Mosse in collaboration