Jüdisches München: Vom Mittelalter Bis Zur Gegenwart

By Roemer, Nils | Shofar, Summer 2008 | Go to article overview

Jüdisches München: Vom Mittelalter Bis Zur Gegenwart


Roemer, Nils, Shofar


Jüdisches München: Vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart, edited by Richard Bauer and Michael Brenner. Munich: C. H. Beck, 2006. 287 pp. euro19.90.

In 1866, in the presence of Chancellor Bismarck and various Berlin notables, the massive Oranienburger Straße synagogue was dedicated. The building visibly underlined the new importance of the capital as the center of Jewish life. To root the Jewish community more firmly in this new city, Ludwig Geiger composed Geschichte der Juden in Berlin (1871) for the community's 200th anniversary celebration. Almost a hundred years later and after the Holocaust, Hans Lamm recollected the history of Bavarian Jewry in Von Juden in München: Ein Gedenkbuch (1958) to capture the peculiar local culture and identity of Munich Jewry and memorialize its past. Between these two publications lies the path of German Jewry, from integration to destruction, displacement, loss, remembrance, and new beginnings. These two books moreover remind us that Jews constructed their culture and remembered their past often in a local key.

Jüdisches München, like Geigers history, recalls the past and anticipates future growth, but like Lamm's memorial book it also serves as a reminder to the policy of harassment, expulsion, and destruction. As in Berlin before, the occasion of the dedication of a new synagogue motivated the two editors, Richard Bauer, director of the Munich city archive, and Michael Brenner, professor of Jewish History and Culture at the University of Munich, to chronicle the history of Jews in Munich and to revive its memory. Historical recollection serves here too as a possible guide for cooperation and interaction of Jews and other citizens of Munich, as Charlotte Knoblauch, President of the Israelite community of Munich and President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany points out (p. 10).Jews of Munich surface in the collection therefore not simply as a tolerated minority but as active participants in the making of Munich. The various contributors to this volume recover, in the words of Munich's mayor Christian Ude, a "Christian-Jewish city history" (p. 12). Important to this narrative are individuals like the Jewish architect Max Littmann, who designed the famous Prinzregenten theater and the Tietz and Oberpollinger department store buildings, entrepreneurs like Hermann Schulein, who directed the Löwenbrau, Kurt Landauer, president of FC Bayern Munich, who led the club in 1932 to the first national title, and Albert Einstein's father, who provided electricity for the Oktoberfest.

For the most part, however, the valuable contributions to this nicely illustrated volume retrace a more familiar story of the Jews in Munich from the Middle Ages to the present with an emphasis on the modern period. …

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