Passing Illusions: Jewish Visibility in Weimar Germany
Weimar Germany (1919–33) was an era of equal rights for women and minorities, but also of growing antisemitism and hostility toward the Jewish population. This led some Jews to want to pass or be perceived as non-Jews; yet there were still occasions when it was beneficial to be openly Jewish. Being visible as a Jew often involved appearing simultaneously non-Jewish and Jewish. Passing Illusions examines the constructs of German-Jewish visibility during the Weimar Republic and explores the controversial aspects of this identity—and the complex reasons many decided to conceal or reveal themselves as Jewish. Focusing on racial stereotypes, Kerry Wallach outlines the key elements of visibility, invisibility, and the ways Jewishness was detected and presented through a broad selection of historical sources including periodicals, personal memoirs, and archival documents, as well as cultural texts including works of fiction, anecdotes, images, advertisements, performances, and films. Twenty black-and-white illustrations (photographs, works of art, cartoons, advertisements, film stills) complement the book’s analysis of visual culture.