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A tale of two families: Franz Rosenzweig, Gershom Scholem and the generational conflict around Judaism.

In Order to Reconstruct the Past, Historians sometimes have to be voyeurs, looking into the'r subjects' most private lives. Their binoculars are diaries, memoirs and personal letters, through which they gain occasional glances into the living rooms of previous eras. Gershom Scholem's correspondence with his mother constitutes an extraordinary source of this kind. It is not only of essential value for the Scholem student, but, also, for the student of German-Jewish history in the first third of this century. In this respect, the Scholem correspondence is comparable to only one other similar set of letters, those of the German-Jewish philosopher, Franz Rosenzweig.(1)

The two publications are of special importance to the social historian becausc they disprove a common stereotype of German Jewry which has emerged from reading German-Jewish history backwards from its ultimate catastrophe. "It has become a common view," as Fritz Stern critically remarks, "to hold that German Jewry somehow represents the epitome of craven assimilation and submission."2 Many German Jews of the first third of the twentieth century cannot be classed as craven assimilationists; rather, they were eager to appropriate a knowledge of Judaism, one which their parents or grandparents could no longer pass on to them. The number of German Jews from assimilated

families who became interested in their Jewishness was small at the turn of the 20th century, but grew steadily in the Weimar period. By 1933, the Jewish community of Weimar Germany had created its own sub-culture with its belletristic literature, various publishing houses, literary journals, encyclopedias, and, perhaps most important, its own framework of adult education, the Lehrhaus.(3)


No two individuals better represent this movement of select numbers of German Jews coming from the periphery to the center of Jewish life than Franz Rosenzweig and Gershom (Gerhard) Scholem.(4) At the same time, their lives stand for the two principal options of those German Jews who renewed their ties with Judaism. Rosenzweig envisioned the future of German Jews in Germany. He became the most profound Jewish thinker of Weimar Germany, the founder of a Jewish adult education system, and - together with Martin Buber - translator of the Hebrew Bible into German. Scholem, on the other hand, had - as he himself stated - "no longer any hopes for the amalgam known as |Deutschjudentum' and expected a renewal of Jewry only from its rebirth in Israel."(5) He emigrated to Palestine in 1923, at the age of twenty-five, becoming the founder of the academic discipline of Jewish mysticism and the foremost scholar of Jewish Studies in this century.

As Stephane Moses observed,

what [Rosenzweig and Scholem] had in common seems to have been essential: the same rejection of assimilation, the same personal itinerary of return to Judaism..., in short a similar internal journey of "dissimilation." But while the point of departure was virtually identical for both, their conceptions of the goal modern Judaism must set for itself were irreconcilable.(6)

The different destinations of Rosenzweig's and Scholem's intellectual itineraries have been much discussed; their common point of departure, however, has attracted much less attention.

Both Rosenzweig and Scholem left a large personal correspondence that provides an insight into their family relations. Although both were outstanding representatives of German Jewry, their letters help illustrate the generational conflict which could be observed among broader segments of German Jewry. They represented what may be called "the return of fallen Jews;" a revitalized interest in Judaism of a generation that was brought up without any concrete sense of its Jewishness. Their path, however, constituted but one of several possible options of selfperception and identification from which young German Jews could, and did, choose.

The four Scholem sons epitomize, in microcosm, the diversity of German Jewry at the beginning of the century. Gershom, born in Berlin in 1897, was the only one to become a Zionist, and he, alone, among his brothers, possessed a drive to learn more about Judaism. Although he was to become a world-renowned professor of Jewish mysticism later in life, he was not the most famous of the siblings while still in Germany. That honor went to his brother, Werner, who had joined the Social Democratic workers' youth organization in 1912, and was a member of the Reichstag for the Communist party from 1924 until 1928, when he diverged from the party line and was ousted from the KPD. Another brother, Erich, was a member of the liberal Deutsche Demokratische Partei and represented the views of the mainstream organization of German Jews, the Centralverein deutscher Staatsburger judischen Glaubens. The oldest brother, Reinhold, was a German nationalist who supported thc conservative Deutsche Volkspartei, but, according to Gershom, would have joined the Deutschnationalen had they welcomed Jewish members. His assimilationist tendencies were even more pronounced than those of his father.(7) Both Reinhold and Erich ridiculed Gershom's "Judalzation," while they abhorred Werner's political development. Not too surprisingly, Gershom had the closest relationship with his Communist brother, who, likewise, rejected the bourgeois spirit of the rest of the family.

Franz Rosenzweig, born in Kassel thirteen years before Scholem, did not have any siblings. The role occupied by the brothers, in Scholem's case, was filled by the cousins in Rosenzweig's. They represented yet another option open to German Jews who rejected the hollow and superficial Jewishness embodied by their fathers. Several of Rosenzweig's cousins, among them the brothers Hans and Rudolf Ehrenberg, as well as Walter Raeburn (Regensburg), converted to Christianity. Rosenzweig discussed theological problems with all of them, and it was amidst one of those discussions that he, too, decided to embrace Christianity on the eve of World War I. However, he promised to become a Christian not as a "heathen," but as a Jew. For this purpose, he first had to acquire the Jewish knowledge which he was lacking. It was to this end that he immersed himself in Jewish sources, soon coming to the conclusion that this was the ground on which he would remain for his whole life.(8)

Throughout his remaining years, Rosenzweig was engaged in lively theological debates with his cousins, and it became his task to defend Judaism against convert relatives and friends. Hans Ehrenberg, who later became a priest, his brother Rudolf, who was the author of several theological writings, and his friend, Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, who became a well-known legal historian and sociologist in the United States, repeatedly tried to convince Rosenzweig of the superiority of the Christian religion. In a moving letter of October, 1913, he replied to Rudolf Ehrenberg that, hitherto, he had thought that he had christianized his Judaism; now he had discovered, however, that he had, in fact, attempted to judaize Christianity. A closer examination of Judaism and Christianity left him no doubt that he must remain Jewish.

In 1916, Rosenzweig, who had written his doctoral dissertation on Hegel under the historian, Friedrich Meinecke, published his first article on a Jewish topic. In this essay, Zeit ists ("It Is Time"), he called for the creation of a Jewish academy which would be responsible for a total restructuring of Jewish education. It was his aim to revive Judaism in Germany by providing an ambitious curriculum for Jewish school children. He was aware that Jewish adults, too, had to reacquire Jewish knowledge. After having completed his masterpiece of Jewish religious existentialism, Stern der Erlosung (Star of Redemption), while he served in the trenches, Rosenzweig laid the foundation stone for the most important Jewish adult education in Weimar Germany, the Frankfurt Freies Judisches Lehrhaus. Its teachers, besides himself, included men who later achieved fame in various disciplines, among them the psychologist Erich Fromm, the philosopher Martin Buber, the Hebrew writer Shmuel Yosef Agnon, the sociologists Siegfried Kracauer and Leo Lowenthal, as well as Gershom Scholem. Rosenzweig, himself, had to give up teaching after he was struck with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a fatal disease which paralyzed him and deprived him of speech from 1923 until his premature death in 1929.(9)

The Scholem and Rosenzweig families display almost all the options that were then open to a young generation of German Jews who were disenchanted with the Judaism of their fathers: Zionism and liberal Jewish spirituality, socialism and communism, German nationalism and conversion to Christianity. In the following sections, I intend to illustrate only the Jewish dimension of this complex generational conflict which, in the Scholem and Roscnzweig families, was characterized by profound alienation on the one hand, and by deep attachment on the other. The two aspects were embodied in the father-son and the mother-son relationships, respectively.


Peter Gay characterized one aspect of Weimar culture as the "revolt of the son" against the father. Plays like Arnolt Bronnen's Vatermord (Patricide) and Walter Hasenclever's Der Sohn (The Son) depict the struggle between the son's fight for freedom and the father's tyranny.(10) It was not a German, but a German-language writer from Prague who expressed the father-son conflict in specifically Jewish terms. In the "Letter to His Father" (1919), probably the best-known personal document of the generational conflict after World War I, Franz Kafka complained about the shallowness of his father's Judaism.

I could not understand how, with the insignificant scrap of Judaism you yourself possessed, you could reproach me for not making an effort... to cling to a similar, insignificant scrap. It was, indeed, so far as I could see, a mere nothing, a joke - not even a joke. Four days a year you went to the synagogue, where you were, to say the least, closer to thc indifferent than to those who took it seriously ... That's how it was in the synagogue; at home it was, if possible, even poorer, being confined to the first Seder, which more and more developed into a farce, with fits of hysterical laughter... I have received a certain retrospective confirmation of this view of Judaism from your attitude in recent years, when it seemed to you that I was taking more interest in Jewish matters. As you have in advance an aversion to every one of my activities and especially to the nature of my interest, so you have had it here, too. But in spite of this, one could have expected that in this case you would make a little exception. It was, after all, Judaism of your Judaism that was here stirring, and with it also the possibility to enter into a new relationship between us ... But it never came to the test. Through my intervention Judaism became abhorrent to you, Jewish writings unreadable; they "nauseated" you.(11)

As Kafka admits, at the end of this passage, his father's "negative high esteem of my new Judaism was much exaggerated." Although he flirted for a while with the idea of studying the Hebrew language and Jewish sources, Kafka never devoted himself fully to the cause of Judaism. In this respect, he differed from Rosenzweig and Scholem. However, like the latter two, he accused his father of having failed to transmit a deeper meaning of Judaism to his own generation: ". . . it was too little to be handed on to the child; it all dribbled away while you were passing it on."(12)

The Rosenzweig and the Scholem families personified the rapid social rise and the gradual assimilation of German Jewry in the 19th century. Born in Kassel in 1857, Georg Rosenzweig was the grandson of Samuel Meier Ehrenberg, the inspector of the modern Jewish Samson school in Wolfenbuttel. Georg's father was the owner of a drugstore in Kassel, which the son took over and expanded to a dye factory. Like his father, Georg Rosenzweig was a national-liberal representative in the local magistracy. Although he supported local Jewish welfare organizations, he did not observe Jewish traditions or transmit his Jewish knowledge to his son.

The Scholem family originated in Silesia and moved to Berlin in the early 19th century. As Gershom recalled, his grandfather, Scholem Scholem, represented the transition of German Jews from a traditional Jewish society into German civilization. When he became attached to Richard Wagner's music in the 1850s, he changed his first name to Siegfried. The gravestone inscriptions of the various generations of the Scholem family elucidate the steady progression of assimilation. While Gershom Scholem's great-grandfather's gravestone had only a Hebrew inscription, his grandfather had his Jewish first name, Scholem, inscribed in Hebrew letters next to the Latin letters of his German name, Siegfried. On Arthur Scholem's gravestone, Hebrew letters were no longer to be seen.(13) Siegfried Scholem's printing business was expanded by his son, Arthur, Gershom's father, who was an active and proud member of the Berlin Turnerschaft, one of the German gymnastics associations which played such an important part in 19th century German nationalism. As much as he emphasized his Germanness, so he down-played his Jewishness. Gershom recalls that his father strictly forbade his children to use Jewish expressions at home and, on Yom Kippur, the most solemn Jewish holiday and fast day, he would eat and go to work as usual.(14)

Although Franz Rosenzweig and Gershom Scholem grew up in two different cities and were thirteen years apart in age, their fathers' worlds were very similar. Both Georg Rosenzweig and Arthur Scholem took over their fathers' businesses and expanded them; they were both active in local associations or politics; they still knew some Jewish traditions, but were neither able nor willing to practice and transmit them to the next generation.(15) The few remaining traditions that they did observe were devoid of any real content. As Gershom Scholem remarked, the Kiddush on Friday night was still recited, but nobody understood the Hebrew any more. These last remnants of Jewish family life were the occasion of frequent ridicule. Arthur Scholem used to light his cigar on Friday night (forbidden according to Jewish law) and recite a mock prayer on tobacco. In the family of Franz Rosenzweig's mother, the Passover Seder was abolished when some of her uncles started to laugh at the recitation of the Haggadah, just as in Franz Kafka's description of the Seder in his home.(16)

The natural route of modern German Jewry, as it appeared to Georg Rosenzweig and Arthur Scholem, was a path that led away from Judaism without officially renouncing it) and straight into German society. Their grandfathers had grown up in modest conditions in the midst of a closed Jewish society; their fathers smoothed the way for economic success and integration into German culture; they, themselves, continued this path, and their children were, one day, to do the same. That they did not do so has reasons which are rooted in the general development of German society at the turn of the century, as well as in specific developments concerning German Jews.

The shallowness of the bourgeois world was a popular target of the emerging German youth movement, which adopted and vulgarized romantic and idealistic notions from the early 19th century. The campfire romanticism of the Wandervogel and other German youth movements was reflected by Jewish youth movements as well. Some urban assimilated German Jews discovered the Jewish counterpart to the neoromanticist ideal of the German peasant in the East European Jew, who embodied their ideas of Urtumlichkeit (authenticity).(17)

Another factor was instrumental in the emergence of a separate Jewish youth movement. The growing anti-Semitism of the 1890s led to the exclusion of Jews from many German associations, such as youth groups and student fraternities. The Turnerschaft, which had symbolized German liberal traditions for the young Arthur Scholem, became a center of anti-Semitism during Gershom's childhood. Zionism was one response to the growing anti-Semitism in Germany and Austria and it was anti-Semitism that inspired the assimilated Viennese Jew, Theodor Herzl, to search for a political solution to the "Jewish question." Many of the early Central European Zionists were rebels against their assimilated fathers and their bourgeois life style. In addition to their call for a Jewish homeland, they envisioned the creation of a new Jew.(18)

Originally a Zionist matter, the so-called Jungjudische Bewegung, which aimed at a "Renaissance of Jewish culture," was soon expanded to include circles of Liberal and Orthodox German Jews.(19) Gershom Scholem and Franz Rosenzweig were influenced by this new interest in Judaism and, later, in turn, contributed much to modern Jewish cultural activities. Like many others of their generation, they no longer deemed the path of their fathers and grandfathers worthy of imitation. Instead, they pointed to the fact that full integration into German society existed only in their fathers' fantasies. Gershom Scholem remarked in his memoirs that, despite his father's attachment to German national identity, all of his parents' friends were Jews, and neither he nor his parents were ever invited to the homes of non-Jewish colleagues or schoolmates. In view of the social limitations of emancipation, both Gershom Scholem and Franz Rosenzweig accused their fathers and grandfathers of having given up centuries-old Jewish traditions without having obtained, in exchange, a secure place in German society.

The clash between the bourgeois Scheinwelt of assimilated fathers and the newly discovered Judaism of their sons occurred in both the Scholem and the Rosenzweig families, and differed only in its intensity. The recent edition of the correspondence between Gershom Scholem and his mother opens with a family tragedy. The first letter in this collection stems from the hand of Arthur Scholem, and is addressed to his nineteen-year old son, who was still called Gerhard (February 1917):

I have decided not to provide for you any more, and inform you of the following: You have to leave my apartment by March 1, and you won't enter it again without my permission.(20)

Gerhard was kicked out of his parental home after he had defended his brother, Werner, who organized a socialist anti-war demonstration and was subsequently imprisoned. Already two years earlier, in 1915, Gerhard had had to leave his school before completing his Abitur, because an anti-war letter, which he wrote as a response to an article by Martin Buber, was discovered by his teachers.

Arthur Scholem did grant his son permission to enter his home again, but their relations remained formal and cool. The father showed no understanding of his son's interest in Judaism and his writings on Jewish mysticism. When Gershom asked for his father's opinions about his planned study in Geneva or Lausanne, he replied: "Dear Gerhard! I don't object to Lausanne or Geneva, but you mustn't keep company only with Jews, but with Frenchmen; otherwise the point would be missed, and you'd learn Yiddish-Francais on top of your Yiddish-German."(21) Commenting on his son's scholarly publications in the field of Jewish mysticism, his father remarked: "The wasted time is a pity; an even greater pity is the working capacity and intellectual energy wasted in this unproductive manner."(22)

Although Franz Rosenzweig was never thrown out of his home, the relationship between him and his father resembled that between Gershom and Arthur Scholem. As Franz Rosenzweig's widow remarked later, at home "he was always in opposition, especially against his father."(23) In the only published letter from Franz Rosenzweig to his father, the twenty-four year old history student apologizes for the "ugly scenes" between him and his father during the last year (1910).(24) After his father's death, Rosenzweig wrote to his cousin, Hans Ehrenberg, that he had admired his father as a person, but was opposed to his superficial life: "I was never interested in his affairs. Everything he did became an affair (Angelegenheit), never an issue (Sache)."(25)

Neither Georg Rosenzweig nor Arthur Scholem lived to see the tragedy of German Jewry after 1933. Both shared the dream of full integration into German society, and both regarded their Jewishness as a rather curious hereditary relic to be preserved in some way, but not filled with any concrete content.


In the correspondence of both Gershom Scholem and Franz Rosenzweig it is the mother who occupies a clearly dominant position. The surviving letters leave no doubt that, in both cases, his mother was the person to whom each of these men opened his heart, even after marriage. Betty Scholem and Adele Rosenzweig do not fit the contemporary American stereotype of the Jewish mother, the East European Yiddishe Mame standing in the kitchen over a pot of chicken soup. Instead of preparing chicken soup, which was left to the private cook employed by the Scholem family - such was the custom in every good bourgeois Berlin household - Betty Scholem preferred to read German classics and to write long letters and poems. Occasionally, she wrote her sons' school compositions. Gershom described his mother as the born journalist who would have ideally fit into a Feuilletonredaktion. She wished to be addressed as Mutter, not as Mutti or Mama.(26)

As long as Gershom Scholem lived at home (until the age of twenty), it was his task to "tuck her in" (einbetten), which meant

. . . that my mother would stretch out on a very fine chaise lounge in her bedroom and I would cover her with a large camel's hair blanket ... In return I was permitted to take one or two bars of Swiss chocolate from a drawer and hold a ten- or fifteen-minute conversation with her, during which I usually got various critical remarks off my chest.(27)

The conversations on a regular basis were continued in written form after Gershom was forced by his father to leave his home, and lasted until Betty Scholem's death in 1946. The recently published exchange of over 300 letters gives evidence of one of the most impressive mother-son relationships that has been documented. Gershom's letters to his mother show a warmth, openness and sense of humor that cannot be observed in the few formal and cool letters between him and his father. It may be characteristic for this kind of close mother-son relationship that Gershom spoke openly about everything - except his marriages. His mother was informed of his two weddings only ex post facto. Betty Scholem was a source for motherly advice, as well as a recipient of her son's immense knowledge. She also was entrusted with the task of supplying her son's literary and culinary needs after his emigration to Palestine. His frequent lists of things desired included the latest scholarly books published in Germany as well as sausages and goose fat.

The sense of humor in the letters of Betty and Gershom Scholem reveals, more than anything else, their close relationship. This unfailing wit can be observed even when the mother describes the revolutionary atmosphere in the Berlin of November 1918 ("Dann ging ich mit Vater noch ein bischen zur Revolution") (Then I went with Father a little further toward the Revolution), or when the son, always eager to show his parents the usefulness of his academic endeavor, drew diagrams of his activities as a student.(28) When he once judged somebody according to his ignorance of the Hebrew language, his mother reproached him: "What do you mean dumb (blode), if somebody doesn't know Hebrew? Hebrew alone is no proof of one's intellectual capacity and high culture! I think you're dumb! Go learn English."(29)

Born one year after Betty Scholem, in 1867, Adele Rosenzweig was, in many respects, a similar character. She stood in the center of a literary circle around the Rosenzweig and Ehrenberg families in Kassel. As a single child, Franz Rosenzweig always received much attention, especially from his mother. In turn, his mother was the person to whom he communicated his most intimate thoughts. When he was a soldier during World War I, he wrote almost daily reports to his parents (until his father's death in 1918), and it was mostly his mother whom he addressed and who replied. Many of these letters contain instructions on Jewish matters. Both Franz Rosenzweig and Gershom Scholem told their mothers about their admiration for East European Jews, who still lived as "genuine Jews;" they gave advice on which books to read on Jewish issues, and they contemplated the religious streams comprising modern Jewish life. When Rosenzweig later argued that one has to write in a way which would be understandable also for the "educated layman," it was his mother whom he had particularly in mind.(30)

Although the two mothers did not practice any more traditions than the two fathers did, it seems that they displayed much more understanding for their sons' feeling about Judaism. The frequency and openness with which Jewish issues are discussed in the letters between the two mothers and their sons suggest this conclusion. There are also concrete remarks which point to the fact that the mothers served as connecting links between the Jewish family traditions and the renewed Judaism of the younger generation.

Adele Rosenzweig took an active part in her son's endeavor to establish a Jewish academy of learning. While Franz was still in the trenches, he asked her to send letters to Jewish financiers and academics who would support his idea materially and intellectually. In his memoirs, Gershom Scholem mentions that his father forbade the use of Yiddish expressions at home, while his mother did use such expressions rather frequently. She also used many Yiddishisms in the letters to her son, and, at various points, it seems almost as if she tried to prove to him that the Jewishness in her, as well as in her husband, was still much alive. Thus, she promised him that they were planning a Passover Seder at home, and that his father still knew how to say the Grace After Meals. She supported her son in his decision to choose Jewish Studies as a profession, and showed much interest in his scholarly activities. When Arthur Scholem received his son's translation of Hayyim Nabman Bialik's important Hebrew essay, Halakhah and Aggadah, he replied that he was not interested in this kind of work and was passing it on to his wife, "who will certainly show more understanding for the profound differences between Halakhah and Aggadah."(31) Referring to a remark by Scholem's brother, the German nationalist, Reinhold, who had added to one of his mother's letters to Gershom, "Many regards to my Jewish brother," she added sarcastically: "Jewish is good! What does he think he is?"(32)

In her book on Jewish family life in Imperial Germany, Marion Kaplan asserts that Jewish traditions were much more alive within the families than it might have seemed outside the house.(33) For many German Jews, the principle of "To be a person on the street and a Jew at home" applied. She claims that it was especially Jewish women who were responsible for this kind of Judaism in the years preceding World War I. This may not hold wholly true for the Rosenzweig and Scholem families, where neither the mothers nor the fathers took Jewish traditions very seriously, but it was the two mothers who kept an open ear for their sons' renewed interest in Judaism, thereby providing an important source of identification for them. In so doing, they constituted a connecting link between past generations, deeply embedded in Jewish culture, and the renewed Jewish culture by which both Scholem and Rosenzweig were influenced and to whose further development they contributed so much.(34)

Rosenzweig and Scholem regarded themselves as representatives of a generation in transition, although in a different sense. For Scholem, the transition was also a geographical one. In a letter to Rosenzweig, he maintained that "the Judaism (of the Diaspora) was clinically dead and only over there' will it revive."(35) For Rosenzweig, on the other hand, the revival of Judaism had to take place in the Diaspora. In many of his writings he stressed that his generation had been instrumental in launching this revival, but, itself, was not yet able to harvest the crop.

Franz Rosenzweig succumbed to his long illness in 1929. Had he lived a few years longer, he would have had to realize that his generation of German Jews had, indeed, been a generation of transition, but a transition very different from the one that he had envisioned. He had laid the groundwork for a Jewish adult education system that was expanded, under very different circumstances after 1933, by Martin Buber and Ernst Simon. For many Jews in Nazi Germany, it was this turn to a more positive Jewish consciousness, initiated by men like Franz Rosenzweig, that helped sustain them in their exclusion from German society as a whole. For others, the example set by Zionists, like Gershom Scholem, made them realize that their only chance to survive meant to leave Germany. Adele Rosenzweig and Betty Scholem were proud of their sons when the world of German Jewry seemed still to be intact. At the hour when the "heavens darkened" above German Jewry, even the fathers - had they lived - might have been reconciled with their sons.


(1.) Betty Scholem/Gershom Scholem, Mutter und Sohn im Briefwechsel: 1917-1946, ed. Itta Shedletzky (Munich: C.H. Beck, 1989); Franz Rosenzweig, Der Mensch und sein Werk. Gesammelte Schriften. I Briefe und Tagebucher, eds. Rachel Rosenzweig and Edith Rosenzweig-Scheinmann (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1979). (2.) Fritz Stern, "The Burden of Success: Reflections on German Jewry," Dreams and Delusions (New York: Vintage Books, 1989), P. 99. (3.) A short survey of this development can be found in Ismar Schorsch, "German Judaism: From Confession to Culture," in Arnold Paucker, ed,. Die Juden im National-sozialistischen Deutschland. 1933-1943 (Tubingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 1986), pp. 75-93. (4.) Rosenzweig and Scholem have been the subjects of recent analyses of modern Jewish intellectuals. See, for example, Robert Alter, Necessary Angels: Tradition and Modernity in Kafka, Benjamin and Scholem (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1991), and Stephane Moses, L'ange de l'histoire: Rosenzweig, Benjamin, Scholem (Paris: Edition du Seuil, 1992), a study of Rosenzweig's The Star of Redemption; English ed,. System in Revelation - The Philosophy of Franz Rosenzweig (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1992). For more biographical details on Scholem, cf. David Biale, Gershom Scholem: Kabbalah and Counter-History (Cambridge, Mass. and London: Harvard University Press, 1979). The only English-language biography of Franz Rosenzweig is Nahum Glatzer's Franz Rosenzweig: His Life and Thought (New York: Schocken, 1953). (5.) Gershom Scholem, From Berlin to Jerusalem: Memoirs of My Youth, trans. Harry Zohn (New York: Schocken, 1980), p. 140. (6.) Stephane Moses, "Scholem and Rosenzweig: The Dialectics of History," History and Memory, Vol. 2, No. 2, Winter 1990: 102-103. (7.) Gershom Scholem, From Berlin, pp. 42-43. (8.) Franz Rosenzweig, Der Mensch, pp. 132-137 (#198). (9.) The most valuable source on the Frankfurt Lehrhaus is still Nahum N. Glatzer's "The Frankfort Lehrhaus," Year Book of the Leo Baeck Institute, I (1956). (10.) Peter Gay, Weimar Culture: The Outsider as Insider (Westwood, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1968), ch. 5. (11.) Franz Kafka, Letter to His Father. Brief an den Vater, trans. Ernst Kaiser and Eithene Wilkins (New York: Schocken Books, 1953), pp. 77-85. (12.) Ibid., p. 81. Kafka's close friend, Max Brod, expressed the generational conflict around Judaism in poetic terms when describing an imaginary visit to a Jewish cemetery full of living corpses of young Jews who had cut their ties with Judaism. Brod made the shallow Judaism of their fathers and teachers (schandliche Greise) responsible for their children's "apostasy." See Max Brod, "Eligie an die abgefallenen Juden," Im Kampf um das Judentum (Vienna and Berlin: R. Loewith, 1920), pp. 129-131. See, also, Lippman Bodoff, "Letters to Felice - Kafka's Quest for Jewish Identity," JUDAISM, Vol. 40, No. 3 (Summer 1991): 263-280. (13.) Gershom Scholem, From Berlin, p. 5. (14.) Ibid., p. 10. (15.) Another parallel in the two families was the fact that their sons' interest in Judaism was at least partially evoked by two of their paternal uncles, Adam Rosenzweig, who still kept Jewish traditions and went to synagogue regularly, and Theobald Scholem, who became a Zionist and printed the Zionist periodical, Judische Rundschau. (16.) Franz Rosenzweig, Der mensch, p. 1. (17.) Cf., on this issue, Steven E. Aschheim, Brothers and Strangers. The East European Jew in German and German Jewish Consciousness, 1800-1923 (Madison and London: University of Wisconsin Press, 1982), and George L. Mosse, "The Influence of the Volkish Idea on German Jewry," Germans and Jews: The Right, the Left and the Search for a "Third Force" in Pre-Nazi Germany (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1987), pp. 77-115. (18.) Non-Zionists, as well, demanded the creation of a "new Jew." Franz Rosenzweig proposed this aim in his essay, "Bildung und kein Ende," published in English by Nahum Glatzer, On Jewish Learning: Franz Rosenzweig (New York: Schocken Books, 1955), pp. 55-71. (19.) On the Jungjudische Bewegung and its attempt to create a specifically Jewish art and literature, see Mark H. Gelber, "The Jungjudische Bewegung. An Unexplored Chapter in German-Jewish Literary and Cultural History," Year Book of the Leo Baeck Institute XXXI (1986), pp. 105-119. Both Liberal and Orthodox Jews established their separate youth organizations, which - like the Zionists - adopted the language and life-style of the German youth movement. (20.) Betty Scholem, Mutter und Sohn, p. 13 (#1). (21.) Ibid., pp. 35-36 (#20). (22.) Ibid., pp. 79-80 (#53). (23.) Franz Rosenzweig, Der Mensch, p. 1. (24.) Ibid., p. 103 (#160). (25.) Ibid., p. 532 (#503). (26.) Gershom Scholem, From Berlin, p. 17. (27.) Ibid. (28.) Betty Scholem, Mutter und Sohn, p. 23 (#11). See, for example, the following "report" to his mother: "What (preparation) is Gerhard Scholem doing for his studies? Mathematics - nothing right now! Next time, there is no time for it now (diesmal nicht) nebbich; he is studying semitology, Syrian, Hebrew, Arabic, and Greek more or less diligently (unfortunately he can't manage Turkish, Persian, and Russian); what does G. Schol. do for his general education? He still hasn't taken on Mexican mythology." (Ibid., p. 57, #36). (29.) Ibid., p. 97 (#62). (30.) Franz Rosenzweig, Der Mensch, p. 1. (31.) Betty Scholem, Mutter und Sohn, p. 50 (#30). (32.) Ibid., p. 49 (#28). (33.) Marion Kaplan, The Making of the Jewish Middle Class: Women, Family and Identity in Imperial Germany (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991). (34.) One might add the case of the German-Jewish writer, Alfred Doblin, who gained fame with his epos, Berlin Alexanderplatz (1929). Recalling his childhood experience, Doblin remarked: "I heard at home, in Stettin, that my parents were of Jewish descent and that we were a Jewish family. That was all I noticed about Judaism within our family." But, only a page later, Doblin revises the impression that his parents were removed from practicing Judaism. It turns out that he only meant his father, for he continued to write: "My mother could read Hebrew, and it was a touching picture to see this woman, who worked hard and hardly read a newspaper, sitting quietly in a corner of her room at the High Holidays. She held one of her books in her hand and read aloud in Hebrew. If I think of something Jewish, this picture of my mother comes before my eyes." See, Alfred Doblin, Autobiographische Schriften und letzte Aufzeichnungen (Freiburg: Walter, 1980), pp. 206-207. (35.) Franz Rosenzweig, Der Mensch, p. 741 (#689).

MICHAEL BRENNER, starting in the Fall of 1993, will be Visiting Assistant Professor in Jewish History at Indiana University.
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Title Annotation:establishing Jewish identity under Nazi rule
Author:Brenner, Michael
Publication:Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought
Date:Jun 22, 1993
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