While discussing the history of Jews in Germany and Berlin, in particular, it is important to concentrate on the question regarding the modern experience of these people in the country. Thus, what does it mean to be Jewish in Germany today? It is possible to discuss this question from two perspectives: analyzing the consequences of historical events and referring to modern tendencies. Although the Jews’ past in Germany is still regarded as painful and full of controversies, the German citizens having the Jewish origin view this country as home because modern Germany is safe for them, the country is on the path to reconsidering its history, and much attention is paid to making Jews accepted in the society.
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It is important to note that Jews discuss Germany as the country safe for living and appropriate for personal and professional development. According to Urban, the representatives of the Jewish community feel protected in this country because of policies and provided rights.1 There are no fears or premises that descendants of young generations of Jews will experience the horror of the Holocaust in the future.2 The community of Jewish people in Germany is large, and they do not discuss themselves as being limited in their rights of freedom.
Furthermore, the country’s leaders have initiated many policies associated with reconsidering the history and confronting the past. The problem is in the fact that the Nazi past influences the country even today.3 The authorities’ approaches to addressing these crimes against humanity can be discussed as effective to demonstrate that being Jewish today does not mean sin in its nature.4 In spite of the fact that the country’s path to recovery from the Nazi past is a long process, young Jews living in Germany are protected from experiencing discrimination.
From this perspective, German society accentuates the necessity of accepting Jewish people as the community that plays an important role in the country’s development and progress. It is almost impossible to imagine modern Germany without thousands of Jews who are represented in society as talented artists, musicians, educators, and entrepreneurs, among other roles.5 In Berlin, the community of Jews is one of the most recognizable and respected ones.6
The reason is in their contribution to the cultural development of the country’s capital. Therefore, it is possible to state that the acceptance of Jews in German society has a symbolic meaning. In this context, the role of the Jewish community in influencing the development of the national identity of Germans is important and cannot be ignored.
Thus, to be Jewish in the modern German society means being a citizen who is protected, provided with rights and freedoms, and accepted. Much attention is paid to minimizing the negative consequences of the Nazi past for the Jewish community in the country. Accepting the fact that the past influences the present significantly, the representatives of the German society work to prove the idea that the country is open to different ethnicities and cultural groups.
From this point, diversity is a characteristic feature of modern German society. In this context, it is possible to state that people in Berlin respect each other without reference to their origins, and being Jewish in German society cannot be discussed as a problem anymore. The reason is that many Jews discuss Berlin and other cities in Germany as a home for them.
Markovits, Andrei, Beth Simone Noveck, and Carolyn Hofig. “Jews in German Society.” In The Cambridge Companion to Modern German Culture, edited by Eva Kolinsky and Wilfried Van Der Will, 86-109. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Urban, Susanne. “At Issue: The Jewish Community in Germany: Living with Recognition, Anti-Semitism, and Symbolic Roles.” Jewish Political Studies Review 12, no. 1 (2009): 31-55.
- Susanne Urban, “At Issue: The Jewish Community in Germany: Living with Recognition, Anti-Semitism, and Symbolic Roles,” Jewish Political Studies Review 12, no. 1 (2009): 32.
- Andrei Markovits, Beth Simone Noveck, and Carolyn Hofig, “Jews in German Society,” in The Cambridge Companion to Modern German Culture, ed. Eva Kolinsky and Wilfried Van Der Will (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 106.
- Markovits, Noveck, and Hofig, “Jews in German Society,” 107.
- Urban, “At Issue: The Jewish Community in Germany,” 34.
- Ibid., 34.
- Ibid., 35.