Jewish Daily Life in Germany, 1618-1945

By Marion A. Kaplan | Go to book overview

10
Economic Life

Within the relatively underdeveloped preindustrial economy of Germany in the eighteenth century, the Jewish population pursued a very limited range of often marginal occupations. Subject to many legal restrictions, they rarely had a fixed place of business and often lived on the edge of subsistence. Although there were always some wealthy Jews, the vast majority were in difficult economic straits. Political emancipation and the Industrial Revolution, which followed, helped large numbers of Jews find new economic opportunities and improve their positions substantially. Although not all Jews benefited from the rapid changes, many were able to enter the German middle class.


Government Restrictions on Jewish Business

Before the mid-nineteenth century, most German Jews suffered from severe governmental interference in their economic life, part of a generally interventionist approach to business. Bureaucrats and theorists saw the state as the protector of existing economic interests against the dangers of competition, supporting the guilds against outsiders, "encouraging" manufacturing through subsidies and monopolies, and discouraging imports by restrictions and tariffs. They believed in the state's duty to intervene in the economy and protect the public from the greed of individual businesspeople. Some governments required permits before new enterprises could be opened, fearing that the economy could not sustain too many businesses.

Government attitudes toward Jewish business were even more restrictive, since most governments wished to protect the "native" (Christian) population from "outside" (Jewish) competition. Governments limited the occupations in

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Jewish Daily Life in Germany, 1618-1945
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Jewish Daily Life in Germany, 1618-1945 iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • English Glossary ix
  • Title Page 1
  • Introduction: Marion A. Kaplan 3
  • Part I: On the Threshold of Modernity 9
  • 1: The Environment of Jewish Life 11
  • 2: Family Life 24
  • 3: Childhood and Education 41
  • 4: Economic Life 54
  • 5: Religious and Communal Life 70
  • 6: Social Relations 84
  • Part II: The Beginning of Integration 93
  • 7: Jewish Residential Patterns 95
  • 8: Family Life 107
  • 9: Education 118
  • 10: Economic Life 130
  • 11: Religious Practice and Mentality 144
  • 12: German Jews and Their German Jews and Their 159
  • Part III: As Germans and as Jews in Imperial Germany 173
  • 13: Surroundings 175
  • 14: Family 182
  • 15: Education 201
  • 16: Work 215
  • 17: Religious Practices, Mentalities,And Community 235
  • 18: Social Life 252
  • Part IV: From Everyday Life to a State of Emergency 271
  • 19: Housing and Housekeeping 273
  • 20: Family Life 283
  • 21: Education and Vocational Training 291
  • 22: Career and Employment 306
  • 23: Religious Practice in the Synagogue and at Home 323
  • 24: Leisure Time and Social Life 333
  • 25: Constricting and Extinguishing Jewish Life 346
  • Conclusion 375
  • Notes 387
  • Bibliography 477
  • Index 507
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