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Pogroms and Riots

German Press Responses to Anti-Jewish Violence in Germany and Russia (1881-1882)

Sonja Weinberg

The establishment of universal manhood suffrage and legal equality for Jews in Germany in the 1860s and 1870s gave way to the rise of political anti-Semitism to a degree not witnessed before. In Russia too, as a consequence of the reform era (1855-1881), the «Jewish Question» became one of the most hotly debated topics. In 1881 and 1882 the anti-Semitic climate in Germany and Russia culminated in anti-Jewish pogroms sweeping over parts of Prussia and Southern Russia. This study explores the heated debate which unfolded in 1881 and 1882 in the German press in response to these events. The simultaneity of the pogroms in Russia and Germany offers a unique opportunity to examine the response of German commentators to both domestic and foreign anti-Jewish violence.


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Acknowledgments 9


9 Acknowledgments For generous institutional support, I thank the graduate school at UCL and the Georges and Jenny Bloch Foundation. I am indebted to Manfred Pankratz at the microfilm archive of the German-speaking press in Dortmund who helped me find the material I needed and to the British Library, the German Historical Insti- tute in London, the Wiener Library in London, Durham University Library, and the Zentralbibliothek in Zurich and the staff at each of them. I wish to thank the many people who have contributed to the writing of this book, in particular the late Professor John D. Klier without whose support and encouragement it would never have been written. His untimely death has de- prived Eastern European History of a brilliant mind, wonderful teacher and ex- ceptional human being. His invaluable advice and incisive comments were a constant source of inspiration when this study was first conceived as a doctoral dissertation at University College, London. In discussions, both face to face as well as virtual, I have benefited from the ideas and advice of Professor Richard J. Evans, Professor David Saunders, and Professor Christhard Hoffmann. I owe a special debt of gratitude to Professor Heiko Haumann who read the whole manuscript at an earlier stage and offered important constructive criticism and detailed scholarly comments. Some of the ideas and arguments developed in this book have been tested in seminar groups and conferences at University College London and the University of Bremen as well as in the History Departments...

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