Jewish polemics against Christianity and the Christians in Northern and Southern France from 1100 to 1300
Jewish polemics against Christianity in the Middle Ages show a striking change in contents and in the linguistic form of the texts after the First Crusade. While the texts up to about 1100 are reports on religious discussions between Jews and Christians, often held in a friendly tone, the texts after 1100 contain aggressive or bitter attacks on the Christians. An example of how this was put into words appears in a Jewish text from the 1250s. In seven points the author gives voice to this protest against the introduction by the French king of a number of harsh edicts against the Jews. There is a marked dividing line between the predominantly aggressive texts from Northern France and the more sober ones from Southern France. On the one hand every single Jewish polemical passage should be analyzed as to form and content, including the context and text type in which the passage occurs, on the other hand the passages should be related to each other including their historical background. By this procedure of comparison every single passage can contribute towards creating a more differentiated and comprehensive picture of the conditions of the Jewish minorities in Christian Europe.
Den östjudiska invandringen till Karlskrona 1862–1920
Genom det undantagstillstånd från 1782-års Judereglemente som Amiralitetskollegiet utverkade åt Fabian Philip och hans familj, blev Karlskrona de facto den fjärde staden i Sverige där judar tilläts bo under perioden 1782–1838. Det är framförallt denna period som tidigare studerats, varför församlingens omvandling till östjudisk invandrarförsamling inte tidigare uppmärksammats.
The Hebrew revolution and the revolution of the Hebrew language between the 1880s and the 1930s
The new Hebrew culture which began to crystallize in the land of Israel from the end of the last century, is a successful event of “cultural planning”. During a relatively short period of time a little group of “cultural planners” succeeded in creating a system which in a significant way was adapted to the requested Zionist ideology. Eliezer Ben Yehudah immigrated to the land in 1881 and hitched his wagon to the hard work of the renewal of the spoken Hebrew language. The decision to establish Hebrew as a spoken language in the last two decades of the 19th century was not generally agreed upon nor accepted, even by central figures who participated in the creation of the new-old Hebrew language.
Naming customs as an indication of assimilation: a study of first names in the two Jewish congregations of Stockholm and Malmö 1895–1921
Jews in both congregations wanted to mark their will to integrate into Swedish society. In this case, the congregation milieu was not of decisive importance. We can see a drop in Jewish names shortly after the most intensive immigration period of Orthodox Eastern Jews in both Malmö and Stockholm. Non-Jewish names dominate strongly in the congregation of Stockholm because of its long history and liberal traditions. The difference between generations is a similar phenomenon in both congregations. The parents had more often Jewish names than their children and this was more so in Malmö than in Stockholm. Another similarity between the congregations is the gender difference. Fathers and sons had more often Jewish names than mothers and daughters. In this case, it seems that in the long run, the Jewish minority wanted to be much like the Swedish majority. While some still marked their Jewish identity with a Jewish name, a growing group marked its will of integration and assimilation.
A Swedish notice from the middle of the 18th century on the Jews of New York
Per Kalm was born in 1716 in Sweden, the son of a family of Lutheran clergymen from the province of Ostrobothnia. He began his studies in natural sciences at Åbo Akademi in 1735, moved to Uppsala University in 1740, and soon became one of Carl Gustaf Linné’s foremost disciples. Pehr Kalm was considered as one of the purest exponents of 18th century Enlightenment and rationalism in Sweden/Finland. In October 1747 he commenced his journey to America, and returned to Stockholm in June 1751. His primary objective was to collect seeds of plants and trees considered to be economically useful for Sweden. During the journey Kalm kept a detailed diary in which he wrote observations on the weather, on plans and agricultural matters, on sundry customs among ethnic groups he met, reported discussions with different people, and made extracts from sources he deemed interesting.
Shylock in Finland: the Jew in the literature of Finland 1900–1970
Political and other ideological fluctuations have, generally speaking, had a peripheral impact on the literary portrayal of the Jews. The traces of Shakespeare’s Shylock, the archetypal literary image, can be followed both backward and forward in time, from the New Testament to contemporary fiction. The introvert Finnish culture has had other interesting implications&&There is practically no specific Finnish-Jewish literary archetype. The very few examples that Finnish literature offers, both in the positive and in the negative sense, have no particular national characteristics or individual personality, which would deviate from the general picture. They follow foreign modes, such as Isak, the Jew, in Sam Sihvo’s musical burlesque Jääkärin morsian (The Wife of the Jäger). Other Finnish authors in this category are Maila Talvio, who sympathized with Germany, and Olavi Paavolainen, who was a member of the Finnish modernist group Tulenkantajat (“torch carriers”). The virtually only lengthier descriptions of Finnish Jews can be traced to a pair of opposites, Hilja Haahti and Ester Ståhlberg. Haahti was a popular religious writer, who saw the conversion of the Jews to Christianity as the only solution to the Jewish problem. Ester Ståhlberg’s solution was a realisation of a Zionist homeland in Palestine. Post-WW II literature in Finland lacks a profound reaction against Hitler’s destruction of the Jews in Europe, but there are especially two writers, both Finland-Swedish women, to whom the Jews became an important theme, Mirjam Tuominen and Marianne Alopaeus.
Blau-Weiss in Stockholm 1916–1925
Blau-Weiss in Stockholm was a youth group the major goal of which was to keep the children of immigrants Jewish. The faith in a national ideal was a means to achieve this goal. Blau-Weiss was a Zionist youth group and advocated in its educational work the “national idea”. This contradicted the “liberal” teaching, then dominant in the Stockholm community, that Jews were not a people not a nationality but only believers in the Jewish faith. The “nationalization” of the Blau-Weiss by-laws was most likely a response to the formation of a Jewish youth organization by the more assimilated, native born Jewish elite closely affiliated with the community. In 1918 more than a year after the founding of Vandrareföreningen BlauWeiss which had until then been the only Jewish youth group in Stockholm, the Judiska Akademiska Klubben came into existence to strengthen the feeling of Jewish belonging and to work for “increased interest in Jewish cultural matters”. This goal would be achieved by lectures, discussions and studies about Jewish subjects.
Hugo Valentin's scholarly campaign against antisemitism: 1920s to the early 1950s
The Swedish Jewish historian Hugo Valentin (1888–1963) founded the field of Swedish Jewish history in the 1920s. Valentin was also a prominent and public figure in Swedish Jewish affairs, as a writer, Zionist and refugee activist. This article focuses on Valentin’s analysis of antisemitism, from the 1920s to the early 1950s. It pays equal attention to the continuity and change of his writings on the topic, analysed in relation to such political contexts as the ‘Jewish question’, Zionism and anti-Nazi responses, and advances within scholarly research on antisemitism. It shows that Valentin staked out a new approach to the topic of antisemitism, in which Jewish characteristics and the so-called Jewish question, while not completely absent, were placed within parentheses. Instead, he presented antisemitism and individual antisemites as problems in their own right, which, given Nazi German expansionism and the outbreak of the Second World War, seemed to be a greater and more urgent issue than whatever questions might have pertained to Jews and their place in modern society.
Laws, doctrines and practice: a study of intermarriages and the ways they challenged the Jewish Community of Helsinki from 1930 to 1970
The identities, customs and habits of religious congregations are tightly connected to the history of these congregations and to the specific religious tradition or denomination they consider themselves to be a part of. They are also shaped by the legislative and bureaucratic regulations and processes of the secular society that is surrounding them. The aim of this study is to further our knowledge of some of these aspects of Jewish life as they relate to the Jewish Community of Helsinki in the period 1930–70 by showcasing two examples that emerged as a result of the rising number of intermarriages in the congregation.
Den Judiska Kvinnoklubben (JKK) och de judiska flyktingarna under 1930- och 1940-talen
In a Swedish context, Jewish women’s experiences and actions have gone unrecorded and unrecognised; most narratives of Swedish Jewish history offer only a partial account of their past. Marginalised or ignored, or absorbed into universalised categories of ‘Jews’, ‘women’ or ‘survivors’, the experiences and histories of Jewish women are in general not represented in previous Swedish research on the history of the Jewish minority, the Swedish Jewish response to the Nazi terror and the Holocaust or the history of the women’s movement in general. Previous research on the Swedish Jewish response and assistance for the Jewish refugees and survivors of Nazi persecution has mainly dealt with the Jewish community in Stockholm and its relief committee, where the women were absent from leadership positions. The purpose of this study is to explore if and how the Jewish women’s club in Stockholm initiated or was involved in relief activities for and with the persecuted Jews of Europe. Specifically, this is investigated in the context of how the club was established and manifested in public by examining what questions the club raised and what activities it organised in the 1930s and 1940s.
Ny rapport om finländska SS-frivilliga och övergreppen mot judar 1941–1943. A new report on Finnish SS-volunteers and atrocities against Jews 1941–3
Review (in Swedish and in English) of Lars Westerlund's The Finnish SS-Volunteers and Atrocities against Jews, Civilians and Prisoners of War in Ukraine and the Caucasus Region 1941–1943: An Archival Study (Helsinki, National Archives of Finland, 2019).
Holocaust remembrance and education in the state of Israel 1948–2000
In the early years of Israel’s existence, the collective memory of the Holocaust was characterized by the schism between the Holocaust martyrs and heroes, emphasizing the bravery and revolt of the few while neglecting the physical suffering of the victims. This understanding was also reflected in the sparse description of the subject in the history textbooks produced by the educational authorities until the late 1970s. In the years to come a more rational and chronological presentation of the Holocaust became noticeable in Holocaust textbooks. However, even though the public interest for the subject increased remarkably it was not made a compulsory and independent subject in the Israeli school system until 1982. Which factors caused this change of attitude towards the Holocaust? The change of attitude did not of course begin overnight. In this article we explore the development of the Holocaust in the collective consciousness of the Israelis and its impact on Holocaust education in the country. In order to trace this gradual development, we have chosen to focus on milestones in Israeli history&&milestones which led from repression of the Holocaust in Israeli society to its adoption as a central event in the consciousness of the Israelis.
'And Abraham believed'. Paul, James, and the Gentiles
The New Testament is basically a collection of Jewish texts written during a period when the Jesus movement was still part of the diverse Judaism of the first century. Therefore we should expect to find examples of rabbinic biblical interpretation in the New Testament. This article suggests that the apostle Paul used midrash to create an interpretation of Gen 15:6 that allowed Gentiles to be included into the covenant without prior conversion to Judaism (Romans 4:1-12). It is argued that James, the brother of Jesus, in his interpretation of the same verse (James 2:14-24) also used midrash in order to create an interpretation that contradicted that of Paul. It is likely that this reflects an intra-Jewish debate concerning the salvation of the Gentiles. While the majority of Jews within the Jesus movement neither seem to have agreed that Gentiles were not to become Jews, nor were they obliged to observe the Torah, Paul’s solution of including the Gentiles into the covenant may have been perceived as a threat to Jewish ethnic and religious identity.
Actions against the Jews in Norway during the war
The deportations of Jews from Norway in 1942 and 1943 represent the climax of a series of actions by both the Germans and Nasjonal Samling, a political Nazi party founded in 1933, beginning in the summer of 1941 and appearing more clearly as a part of consistent anti-Jewish policy from the outset of 1942. More sporadic actions had, however, already occurred from the very first days of the German occupation. They began in the middle of May 1940 when the Norwegian police, on order from the German police, confiscated radios belonging to the Jews. The German police also commanded the local Norwegian police to prepare lists of members in the Jewish communities in Oslo and Trondheim. The NS sought to boom the resolution of March 1942 by the Quisling government. It was a resolution which restored the prohibition of paragraph 2 in the Constitution of 1814 barring admission of Jews into the country.
Voices of fire: Sinai imagery in Acts 2 and rabbinic midrash
Early followers of Jesus and later rabbinical Jews, two divergent branches of Judaism emerging respectively from the Second Temple and Post-Second Temple eras, both drew upon the cultural memory of Sinai to establish their identity. This article examines how the author of Acts used the Sinai imagery of theophanic fire in the Pentecost narrative of Acts 2 to reinforce a continuation of Judaism and offer an inclusive expansion of it to gentile believers. Then it looks at how later rabbinic sources used Sinai images of fire and multiple languages to reinforce the authority of the Torah and their exclusive identity within the Sinai relationship.
Golgotha and the burial of Adam between Jewish and Christian tradition: Text and monument
The curious name of Golgotha, and its translations provided by the evangelists, became a focal point for interpretation, opening the door for new Christological concepts to become affixed to it. As these novel Christological interpretations accrued around Golgotha, they would eventually crystallise, and become a fixed part of the commemoration of Jesus in Palestine. Starting with Origen, third and fourth century Christian authors strongly associate the place of Jesus’s crucifixion with the burial place of Adam.
”Jude är något man gör”: Skiftande reflektioner om att vara jude i Sverige idag
Recension av Jude i Sverige: en antologi, red. Daniel Pedersen (Stockholm: Föreningen Judisk kultur i Sverige, 2021).
The aesthetics and ethics of performative Holocaust memory in Poland
This article addresses the performative dimension of the post-1989 Polish memorial culture of the Holocaust, characterised by a collaborative and audience-participatory model of remembering the Jewish victims. In this model participants are invited to become creators and owners of public memory, rather than silent observers or witnesses to commemorations performed by others. The article offers a critical and theoretical understanding of performativity in Holocaust commemoration through the examples of educational memorial actions Listy do Henia (‘Letters to Henio’) and Kroniki sejneńskie (‘The Sejny Chronicles’) led by the Polish grassroots institutions Ośrodek Brama Grodzka (‘Grodzka Gate-NN Theatre Centre’) in Lublin and Ośrodek Pogranicze (‘Borderland Foundation’) in Sejny. Drawing mainly on Polish perspectives on memory, the article examines the aesthetic and ethical value of these actions. It further probes how a performative model of engagement can serve to expose the complex past of Polish–Jewish relations, to bring the historical past vividly into current consciousness, and to facilitate a sense of belonging to a moral community of memory among younger generations of Poles.
Jewish archives and sources in the Nordic countries: The current state of affairs and future perspectives
This article aims to give an overview of Jewish archives and archival sources in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. Besides describing significant existing collections, the article looks into ongoing archival projects, digitizing and infrastructure programs, and maps out future challenges.
Tradition and revolution. In search of roots: Uri Zvi Grinberg's Albatros
Although Uri Zvi Grinberg had published poetry in both Hebrew and Yiddish from 1912 onward, it was with the appearance of the Yiddish volume Mefisto in 1921 and his Albatros in 1922–1923 that the new idiom, expressionism was introduced. In seeking to explain the transformation of Uri Zvi Grinberg from a minor romantic lyric poet in Yiddish and Hebrew into an Expressionist bard who emerged in the 1921 Mefisto, critics have advanced a number of elaborate and sometimes contradictory theories. His own special “creative force” in interplay with the highly eclectic dynamic of Yiddish modernism, spurred a turning point, which witnessed the return of his artistic attention, as of his confreres to the realities of the phenomenal world, in confrontation with symbolism (aestetic romanticist) and impressionist art.
Allosemitism and cosmisation: A fruitful combination?
In this article, we explore the fruitfulness of seeing allosemitism as an aspect of cosmisation. We explore possible tropes such as creating order from chaos, embracing Christian identity and supersessionism, and legitimising the Bible’s truth claims. Drawing from the Swedish press of the period 1770–1900, allosemitism and cosmisation are explored through the lens of three tenacious myths, all of which date back centuries: Blood Libel, the Wandering Jew and Israelite Indians. The ‘Jew’ as the Other is frequent in previous research. The combination of allosemitism and cosmisation gives us another way to explain the Othering of the ‘Jew’: expressions of allosemitism in a world-creating process.
Finlandssvensk och judisk: En etnografisk analys av dubbla identifikationer och vardagsreligiositet
Artikeln undersöker hur frågor om finlandssvenskhet och judiskhet kopplas samman, kontrasteras och diskuteras i intervjuer med personer som – på skiftande vis – identifierar sig med bägge identitetsmarkörer. Artikeln söker svara på frågan hur det svenska i Finland uppfattas av intervjupersonerna: rymmer detta också det judiska och känner de sig hemma i den föreställda finlandssvenskheten? Med vardagsreligiositet (vernacular religion) som analytisk ram söker artikeln belysa de svåra val som uppkommer i vardagen för personer som vill leva judiskt på svenska i Finland idag, samt lyfter fram hur finlandssvenska kulturtraditioner värnas och förs vidare i judisk tappning i dagens Finland.
"Den som pekar på andras brister visar därigenom sina egna"
Genmäle i den pågående diskussionen mellan Malin Thor Tureby och Pontus Rudberg om svenk-judisk historieforskning (se Vol 31 No 1).
”Den som pekar på andras brister visar därigenom sina egna”: Slutreplik till Malin Thor Tureby
Slutreplik till Malin Thor Tureby om svensk-judisk historieforskning (se Vol. 31 nr 1 och 2).
Beyond imagery: new approaches to the analysis of literary antisemitism and a casestudy of Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks
The most common approach when analyzing literary antisemitism is to explore the “image of the Jew” in literary texts. At a closer look, this focus entails several problems, ranging from a neglect of other anti-Semitic elements in the text, to the risk that this method results in reproducing these anti-Semitic patterns of thought. By questioning this method, the focus shifts to other levels in the literary texts, which may reveal an anti-Semitic “sub-text” although the imagery seems harmless. What these literary levels are and how they interact is exemplified by two examples from Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrocks. The results shed new light on his Nobel prize-winning first novel.
Different antisemitisms: on three distinct forms of antisemitism in contemporary Europe. With special focus on Sweden
This article studies eight European countries, investigating how the level of antisemitism as registered in national populations relates to the perception of antisemitism by the Jewish population in the same country. Furthermore, the article empirically identifies distinct aspects of antisemitism, deconstructing the concept of antisemitism and breaking it up into three kinds of empirically differently based and composed antisemitisms (note the plural!): classic antisemitism, Israel-derived antisemitism and Enlightenment-based antisemitism. The article also elaborates on some more general implications for the understanding of the character of antisemitism in contemporary Europe, and based on that, presents some perspectives on the development of the three distinct antisemitisms in contemporary Europe.
medieval roots of antisemitism in Sweden: Old Swedish and Latin manuscript traditions
The lack of a local Jewish community did not prevent medieval Swedish clerics and lay people from being interested in Jews and Jewish questions. They bought, translated, read and preached from most of the available textual sources and thus spread the widely available views of the hermeneutical Jew: a cruel, stubborn and ugly person and at the same time a cipher for the entire Jewish people both in biblical times and today. This article gives an overview of the Latin and vernacular manuscripts with anti-Jewish motifs and texts and shows that the main and most common textual models and motifs were available in Swedish libraries and collections, from legends via apocryphal texts to fake disputations – adding up to a relatively complete ‘hermeneutical Jew’. A focus was, as in the rest of Europe, on Passion-related piety, which was the most common form of piety in the late Middle Ages – and usually connected with distinct anti-Jewish features. The fact that we can establish direct and indirect textual and narrative lines of tradition between the medieval codices and modern printed booklets of the nineteenth century proves the long-lasting intelligibility of anti-Jewish stereotypes in Sweden – developed and spread completely independently from the Jewish minority. The medieval perspective thus adds a much-needed nuance to the debate about antisemitism in the North: it did not need any actual Jews; it simply made up its own, based on the general Christian tradition.
From A to Z: Important concepts in the study of antisemitism
Review of Key Concepts in the Study of Antisemitism, eds. Sol Goldberg, Scott Ury and Kalman Weiser, Palgrave Critical Studies of Antisemitism and Racism (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021).