Exclusionary Violence

Antisemitic Riots in Modern German History
Christhard Hoffmann, Werner Bergmann, and Helmut Walser Smith, Editors
A comprehensive examination of pre-Nazi violence against Jews in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Germany


Whereas a large body of scholarly literature exists on German antisemitism in general, pre-Nazi histories of violence against Jews in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have been widely neglected. This coherent and well-focused collection of essays is the first comprehensive work in any language dealing with antisemitic pogroms in modern German history from the Hep Hep riots of 1819 to the Reichskristallnacht.

In the Western mind, outbursts of collective violence against Jews have been largely identified with Tzarist Russia and the medieval crusade massacres. However, by narrating pogroms as archaic, historians have overlooked their significance to the development of modern antisemitism in Germany and Europe as well as the reasons for its continued presence in the contemporary world. The evidence presented in this volume suggests that acts of exclusionary violence were not dead-end streets of futile protest. Rather, they were rehearsals for new kinds of destruction.

The integration of various perspectives and the close cooperation of scholars from different disciplines is a major achievement of this volume, which will be of interest to advanced undergraduates, graduate students, academics and the general reader in a variety of disciplines, including German studies, Jewish studies, Holocaust and genocide studies, ethnic relations, history, and the social sciences in general.

Christhard Hoffmann is Associate Professor of Modern European History, University of Bergen, Norway. Werner Bergmann is Professor of Research on Antisemitism, Technical University, Berlin, Germany. Helmut W. Smith is Associate Professor of History, Vanderbilt University.

Praise / Awards

  • "The achievement of this book is to show that antisemitic violence in Germany was part of an eastern-central European pattern that defies easy explanation by reference to a general 'crisis of modernity' or 'the longest hatred'. The highly original case studies show that circumstances differed greatly in each riot, and that the recipe of violence not only possessed several ingredients, but also many variations."
    —A. Dirk Moses

  • "The epidemic use of violence to exclude a minority shows that throughout the period under review there was no consensus in Germany on equal citizenship for Jews, though the authors are careful to distinguish their concern from Goldhagen's 'eliminationist' anti-Semitism. Exclusionary Violence presents a sophisticated approach to a question that has lacked comprehensive and comparative treatment and should deepen our understanding of this particular variant of political violence."
    —Johan Van Der Zande, University of California, Berkeley, Central European History, Volume 36, No. 2 (2003)

  • "This collection of essays from prominent German and North American scholars explores the major aspects of anti-Jewish violence before the Holocaust using the concept of 'exclusionary violence.' With this term the authors move beyond a simplistic recounting of pogroms or violent outbursts against Jews in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Germany. They employ new theoretical models in conjunction with microhistorical studies to illuminate various characteristics of violence against Jews from the post-Napoleonic period through Kristallnacht in 1938. The result is a nuanced, thoroughly researched, important new contribution to the ongoing study of anti-Semitic violence in modern German history."
    —Barry A. Jackisch, German Studies Review

  • ". . . a major achievement. . . ."
    —Tobias Brinkman, H-Net Reviews in the Humanities & Social Sciences

  • "...this volume makes a significant contribution to our understanding of antisemitism in modern Germany and will certainly appeal to students of the subject."
    —Mathias Seiter, H-Net Reviews in the Humanities and Social Sciences

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Copyright © 2002, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

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  • 6 x 9.
  • 224pp.
  • 5 drawings, 6 photographs.
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  • 2002
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  • 2002
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