Why do Orthodox Jews express ambivalence?

On the problem of the term "Germanophilia"

The ensemble of cultural-historical, social and literary phenomena, which is summarized and discussed in the following under the term "Germanophilia", is first of all an analytical construction: Where the "love of Germanness"1 begins and when it turns into "Germanomania", who is seized by it, who is ignored by it, is always the subject and method of recognition and denial, self and external attribution, inclusion and exclusion during the 19th century. The history of Germanophilia shows where the boundaries between what is "own" and what is "foreign" are assessed in German society, how the outlines of a specifically German identity and culture are determined, and what place German Jewry in this constellation takes - that is, tries to take and is compelled to take.2 The attempt to construct a new Jewish identity is not based solely on the internalized interests of the non-Jewish ("German") majority society, but is also borne by its own identity interests in internal Jewish disputes.

The term "German", which guides the Germanophile discourse, lays claim to the rank of an objectifiable substance, but in fact the ethnic, religious and cultural distinctions are relational constructs of a specific situation of external perception: the patterns of interpretation of cultural alterity participate in the self-understanding mechanisms of a society with the aim of limiting it to the outside world. The growing importance of external reference for social introspection in the modern age can be interpreted as a reflection of the demographic and mentality-historical upheaval in the course of globalization.3 With the entry into the age of global mobility, different world regions, nations and actors are caught in several bursts of partly erratic, partly gradual processes of colonization, which lead to the establishment of colonial scientific paradigms and ethnological observation methods in the 18th and 19th centuries.4 The knowledge of the foreign thus produced becomes the basis of discursive identity construction and migrates from the ethnographic analysis of "foreign" cultures to the category horizon of a sociology of "own" society.5 At the moment when a German identity that can be distinguished from other European countries is gaining more and more shape, the German Jews become foreigners within observed in German culture. "Those others who also claimed to be German were the Jews. For the Germans they became the others of themselves, their own others. The Russians, English or French were the foreign others, the Jews were the Germans' own others." . "6 At the same time, the key difference between the self and the foreign also structured an internal Jewish discourse: As the example of Jewish orthodoxy should show, Germanophilia was not only a reaction pattern to external demands and constraints, but could also serve to assert one's own interests, namely the construction of a new one modern-orthodox Judaism qua demarcation from inner-Jewish "others".

The overview outlined here of Germanophilia in 19th-century German Jewry is based on the assumption that the Germanophile discourse emerged from the modern concept of culture as the guiding paradigm of socio-cultural self-description and observation. Accordingly, Germanophilia implied knowledge of other customs and behaviors outside of one's own culture, which was produced through the operation of comparing human forms of life.7 With the cultural coding of the Germanness The vision of a neutral social space, which everyone should be allowed to enter, was united, as education and the social structures it embodied promised to override the demand for original and religious affiliation.8 On the one hand, the participation in a common "cultural space" around 1800 led to the synchronization of historical consciousness: the German Enlightenment and the Jewish Haskalah both recognize that they belong to the same history and seek to determine "which common process they are subject to".9 What was previously observed between Jews and Germans as a religiously coded difference, on the other hand, reappeared as a cultural difference in the hierarchical division of this very social area of ​​education. Heinrich Heines (1797-1856) [] famous word from the "baptismal bill" as the "Entre Billet to European Culture"10 makes two things clear in this regard: Firstly, Jews had to pay a high price for access to "European culture" by (formally) renouncing Jewish tradition and assimilating to the majority society. Second, as ticket holders, they were relegated to spectator rank; the stage was reserved for "German" actors. However, it would be premature to read the history of Germanophilia exclusively as a history of social mobility "upwards" or into the middle of non-Jewish society. The principle of identity construction, which is closely connected with Germanophilia, is also to be conceived from the Jewish side in particular: as an attempt by Jewish orthodoxy to claim a priority position within Judaism.

The present work must necessarily fall back on a concept of Germanophilia, which at the same time polemical and diagnostic is. A representation that ignored the controversial dimension of Germanophile semantics and practices in order to fix the field of study in a static tableau would be historically sterile. At the same time, it is necessary to expand the subject area of ​​Germanophilia to include those phenomena which contemporaries did not necessarily regard as "Germanophile", but which appear and can only be read retrospectively under this sign. Thus, on the level of analytical access, the same ambivalence between self-description and description by others is repeated, which already essentially determines the contemporary Germanophile discourse: On the one hand, Germanophilia can be regarded as the signature of a desire for assimilation, as a commitment to bourgeois German society and culture, as a striving to belong. But wouldn't that mean to want to deny an assimilated Jew of the 19th century, in whom one believes to recognize Germanophile traits, an identity afterwards, which he could possibly have claimed for himself? Would the "Germanophile German" be just a tautology in the end? In the course of such concerns, Germanophilia, on the other hand, can develop the exclusive power of a criterion of difference: Anyone who is or is identified as Germanophile can find the object they desire and the place they want to get to. by definition never reach. Accordingly, the Germanophile Jew remained a stranger among the Germans a "cultural hybrid":

... a man living and sharing intimately in the cultural life and traditions of two distinct peoples; never quite willing to break, even if he were permitted to do so, with his past and his traditions, and not quite accepted, because of racial prejudice, in the new society in which he now sought to find a place. He was a man on the margin of two cultures and two societies, which never completely interpenetrated and fused.11

With the question of Germanophilia in 19th century German Jewry, of its historical foundation and its specific manifestations, the first question that arises is what kind of sparked the Germanophile discourse in the first place. To whom or what was the love of those German Jews who appear here as "Germanophiles" or who regard themselves as such? What is it about "Deutschtum" (or "Deutschheit") to which they paid their respects and expressed their affection?

The "excited idea of ​​Germanness"

One of the essential characteristics of Germanophilia among German Jews is their connection to a cultural coding of "German identity". This particular starting point distinguishes her significantly from her eerie twin, the "Germanomania", which rose to great popularity around 1800. The latter, the Jewish publicist Saul Ascher (1767-1822) wrote a pamphlet in 1815 with the title Germanomania. Sketch for a time painting dedicated.12 His portrait of the "excited idea of ​​Germanness" that heated the "thinking minds in Germany", especially the "transcendental idealists, the supporters of the identity system and an army of secondary and secondary thinkers",13 could hardly have been more unflattering. As a follower of enlightenment cosmopolitanism14 Ascher recognized that the striving of his (non-Jewish) contemporaries for German unity was often based on the idea of ​​something "primitive" that was self-identical over time Volks based and reached rigid exclusion criteria:

Christianity and Germanness were soon fused into one; this is an easy process for the transcendental idealist and philosopher of identity. It was so inferred from them. Germany's salvation from the yoke of foreign tyranny can only be prepared through the unity and unity of the people in the idea. The unity and unity in religion fully expresses this requirement ... It should not come as a surprise that, according to the views of these enthusiastic idealists ... they found a contradiction of this doctrine especially in the Jews, and from this it can be explained raw and chilling tone, in which at the end of the eighteenth century from Fichte ... down to his pupils and admirers, there was a storming against Judaism and Jews.15

Ascher thus emphasizes three central characteristics of Germanomania: 1. the secondary moment (it is a reaction to French nationalism), 2. the strategically exclusive thrust (against the French and Jews) and 3. the phantasmatic backbone (the speculative "idea of ​​the Deutschheit "which is embedded in the narrative of a lost unity). This observation is characteristic of the gradual transition from a German cultural and linguistic nationalism of Herder origin to a racist nationalism since the Napoleonic period.16 Using the example of the Christian-German Tischgesellschaft with its exclusion of baptized Jews, which was already agreed in the founding statutes, Ascher exemplifies how integral nationalism goes hand in hand with a contempt for Jews and everything "foreign" in general, that is, with the exclusion of that which does not meet the " Autochthonous "was enough.17 The discourse on national identity founded and orchestrated the modern desire for the liberation of European nations from foreign or particular state fragmentation:

Germany, it was said, fell prey to a people long ago that differed from all other nations in terms of character, way of thinking, language and customs. To restore and maintain this individuality, which has been shattered over time and by the course of events, is the job of every true German. The first condition for this is now to remove everything foreign, immigrants from outside Germany, from Germany's districts, and to declare Germany, as it were, a closed state.18

Analogous to this finding, the concept of nation in Johann Christoph Adelungs (1732–1806)Grammatical-critical dictionary of the High German dialect (1808) "The indigenous inhabitants of a country, as far as they have a common origin and speak a common language, by the way, they may constitute a single state or be divided into several".19 When formulating German identity, many intellectual propagandists referred to Johann Gottfried Herder (1744–1803) in terms of the history of ideology [], who, with his culturally relativistic explanation of the differences between peoples from natural and historical conditions, not only uses the term people but also claimed that language and poetry were constitutive features of "nation".20

The invocation of a genuinely German identity in the context of a national narrative was the first to invent that "primitive" German people,21 which the choir of nationally minded intellectuals claimed to represent (and to lead "back" to unity):

The main effect that was expected from the excited idea of ​​Germanness was that the German-speaking nation, which the course of events had, as it were, dissolved, and which lived in a true division, whereby only the foreigners succeeded in finding theirs To assert influence, to be brought under one roof and to be excited to strive together for their freedom and independence.22

By describing and explaining nations or cultures from supra-historical origins, mostly in the conceptual context of vitalism and the organic,23 the way was paved for that powerful and momentous fantasy of the lost unity of Germany, which was the basis of the Germans' first attempts to create a united nation. The late appearance of Germany in the history of Europe played an essential role in this. A territorial or political coding of German identity was not possible until the second half of the 19th century, when Germany only became a nation state in 1871 under the leadership of Otto von Bismarck (1815–1898) Countries composed. Anyone who wanted to invoke a single German identity in the 18th and 19th centuries therefore had to fall back on either ethnic or cultural criteria, which in turn were nostalgically overhauled.24 "[T] he lost unity that the Germans usually longed for is a fairy tale of modernity. It has always been lost - it only exists in this loss. It is created by a lingering sense of loss generated, which, as we know, knows ways to reinvent the past. "25 With the demand for cultural, national and social reunification, there was a strong interest in reviving folk tradition and finally the project of romantic historiography. Instead of continuing to commit to the global narrative patterns of classical historiography, from now on the "inner life" of the past had to be carved out of the cultural tradition. That is why modern historiography attached great importance to historical documents in which the customs, laws and economic peculiarities of the past were depicted, and viewed the language of poetry as the unifying bond of popular culture.26 "One of the assumptions of this new historiography was that the 'spirit' of the past was with the people, not with their rulers; with ways of life, not with wars and conquests; with values ​​and beliefs, not with aristocratic fashions; with national character, not with international characters. "27 Citing the anthropologist Louis Dumont (1911–1998), who presented a comparative study on the construction of modern French and German identities,28 An exciting dynamic between competing models of collective identity in Germany of the 19th century was established: While the individualistic models are based on the Enlightenment discourse on the one hand and are based on the values ​​of education, on the other hand the holistic models are based on the idea of ​​the people as an originally homogeneous community of the Germanic peoples and in this way bring ethnic criteria into the field.29 It is precisely the lack of territorial and political reference values ​​that should contribute to the national culture of German provenance becoming a holistic phenomenon and a phantasmatic structure of originality and Folk spirit has been. The Francophobia, which already characterizes early German nationalism, turns out to be not only a "bad legacy of the occupation and 'liberation wars'", but also corresponds to a "xenophobia often sibling with nationalism" as a "reaction to modernization crises" and as a "religious substitute".30

As mentioned above, Germanophilia in German Judaism was based on a cultural coding of the Germanness. The commitment to a German Cultural nation had the advantage over the holistic conception of the Germans as a supra-territorial people not to exclude Jews from the outset, but to allow them the possibility of participation. However, the educational ethos soon fell into the wake of the emerging state bureaucracy and experienced an increasing nationalist narrowing - with the result that the liberal, cosmopolitan educational concept and its spokesmen gradually fell behind, especially the educated Jewish bourgeoisie.31 "The contradiction between the openness and tolerance of education and the restricted vision of respectability was not obvious to those living in the age of Jewish emancipation, though education itself soon became a monopoly of a caste rather than accessible to anyone willing and able to participate in the process of self-cultivation. "32

In view of an ethnochauvinism that was gaining ground, the Germanophilia carried by German Jews increasingly seemed like an anachronism after it had been deprived of the authority to interpret the "essence" of Germanness. In the second half of the 19th century, under the great influence of life science motivated descriptions of society such as Charles Darwin's (1809–1882) theory of evolution, the term "tribe" advanced to become a makeshift aid that made it possible for German Jews to cross a large number of German tribes to see themselves as belonging to the unity of the German people.33 What is decisive in this context is the paradigm shift from the assumption of a cultural affinity between Jewish and German ghost towards the assumption of a biological relationship of Jews and Germans in the spirit of a scientific worldview.

Approach 1: The Elective affinity between Judaism and Germanness

The thesis of an "elective affinity" in the German-Jewish relationship is not just a retrospective construction, exerted by researchers from various fields, with which one tried to explain the systematic murder of European Jews in the Holocaust as the result of a deadly sibling rivalry.34 Rather, one can interpret the pattern of a Similarity of nature Discovering German and Jewish culture in Heinrich Heine, for example in his edited from the estate Waterloo-Fragment, originated in the vicinity of the Confessions from 1854, which contains a section on the "Judaism of the Germanic peoples" and the "wonderful agreement in the senses" in "German Jews ... and their Christian compatriots":

But is there really such a great national difference between the German Jews, who have settled in Germany for a millennium and a half, and their Christian compatriots? Truly no. Strangely enough, there was already the greatest affinity between Jews and Teutons in the earliest times, and in comparison with the neighboring countries Judea always appeared to me as a kind of Germany, I would almost like to say as the Mark Brande burg of the Orient. Wonderful correspondence in the senses of the two peoples: the bravest hatred of Rome, a personal feeling of freedom, morality. The Teutons also absorbed Judean spiritualism most thoroughly. Even the historical record of the Jews, the Bible, became the Nazi book in the Germanic north, became flesh and blood, gave inner and outer life its peculiar character there - and people who speak of the traces of the Orient among the Jews notice it not at all the Old Testamental, outright Jewish phisionomy of the Germanic north in Europe and America.35

Against the background of his Jewish origin and his "mediation between German and French conditions"36 - Heine's lines make one thing clear above all: the fundamental ambivalence of Germanophile tendencies among German Jews. In this regard, Heine is no exception. Rather, his writings stand out for German ideology through their permanent struggle about a simultaneous convergence and divergence between Germans and Jews.37 "Because the clarification of this issue seemed to him to be dominant, again for ideological reasons and not just for psychological motivations, Heine had to culminate his reflections on Germany in a dispute with another German Jew and patriot: with Ludwig Börne."38 Behind the notorious polemics that crystallized in the person of the opponent in Heine's 1840 Börne memorandum shimmers through the effort to make objective statements, according to which Ludwig Börne (1786–1837) neither the Jews nor the Germans nor their - for Heine - understood a striking parallel development.39

As early as 1837, the year of Börne's death, Heine had apparently taken up this topic in connection with female figures in William Shakespeare (1564–1616)40 in that, starting from a parallelism in the ideal of women among Jews and Teutons, he leads on to the "intimate elective affinity between the two peoples of morality" in order to look for the "deeper reason" not in the historical development, but in the similarity of Jewish and German character, in a common "physiognomy". As in the Waterloo fragment quoted above, which was created over a decade later, Heine illustrates this parallelism in a synecdoche:

... Originally both peoples are so similar that one could regard the former Palestine as an oriental Germany, just as one should regard today's Germany as the home of the holy word, the motherland of prophethood, the castle of pure spirituality.41

Jews and Teutons, that is, Germans, are thus assigned to the world of the spiritual and associated with a practical abstraction; Greeks and Romans form the counterpart due to the sensuality ascribed to them. "With this topic, of course, Heine immediately goes beyond the limited task of German Enlightenment. He does not demand ... that civic emancipation of the Jews in Germany. That is more important to him Overcoming the common limitations in the behavior of Jews and Germans: their abundance of thought and lack of action. "42 The polemic against the late exile colleague Börne, who was more interested in practical reforms in France as in Germany and thus became an apologist for French guillotine terrorism under Maximilien Robespierre (1758–1794), pursues precisely this concern.43 At the end of the memorandum, Heine comes back to talking about the parallelism of German and Jewish fate after talking about Börne and Shylock from Shakespeare The merchant of Venice identified as prototypical for a Jewish way of thinking and behavior that is similar to the German character in its scriptural, art-hostile spirituality and in its future-oriented, present-despising messianism:

Be that as it may, it is easily possible that the mission of this tribe has not yet been fully fulfilled, and this may be the case especially in relation to Germany. The latter also expects a liberator, an earthly Messiah - the Jews have already blessed us with a heavenly one - a king of the earth, a savior with scepter and sword, and this German liberator is perhaps the same one Israel is waiting for ...44

Despite the ideal rapprochement between Germanness and Judaism on the level of "elective affinities", the equation Jews-Germans, as listed by Heine, does not prove to be an example of an unquestioned Germanophilia. Rather, Heine tries to undermine the antithetical juxtaposition of Jews and Germans, spiritualists and sensualists, etc. and to work it out in terms of a cosmopolitan, that is, European dimension - a process he calls the "modern principle". This principle was peculiar to the Jews from the beginning:

But not only Germany bears the physiognomy of Palestine, the rest of Europe also rises to the Jews. I say get up, because the Jews carried the modern principle within them from the very beginning, which is only now visibly developing among the European peoples.45

Even if the cosmopolitan accents generally have a high priority at Heine, the confrontation with Germany forms the counterpoint of his literary and socio-critical engagement: be it in the competing reference to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) - the same for Heines Conception of elective affinities as a poetological key word comes into question - in criticism of German romanticism or in sympathy for the misery of German emigrants in France. Noteworthy here is a letter to his publisher Julius Campe (1792–1867) from 1843, in which Heine, writing from Paris, reports on a recent trip to Germany, during which he "made some verses", "which I succeed with with greater ease when I breathe German air. I expect a lot of poetic fruit from future stays in Germany and I can still achieve something as a poet. "46 He closes the letter with the words: "How reluctantly I left Hamburg this time you have no idea! A great fondness for Germany is rampant in my heart, it is incurable."47

Approach 2: The Jewish tribe and the unity of the German people