ASSIMILATION NOT DISCRRIMINATION WAS THE EXPERIENCE OF MANY JEWS IN THE YEARS 1919 TO 1929 Essay example

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ASSIMILATION NOT DISCRRIMINATION WAS THE EXPERIENCE OF MANY JEWS IN THE YEARS 1919 TO 1929. Explain why you agree or disagree with the view. (24 marks).

During the Weimar Republic years, many Jews regarded assimilation as a potentially possible way forward. Indeed, there were several reasons for optimism. According to statistics, Jews were only one per cent of population. However, ten per cent of doctors and sixteen per cent of lawyers were actually of Jewish origin. This shows that not only some Jews settled in quite well, but a great number of them managed to achieve success and recognition in such prominent fields as medicine and jurisprudence.

Furthermore, in the Weimar Republic several Jews even held significant positions in politics. The bright example is Walter Rathenau who served as Foreign Minister for a short period of time in 1922. One thus may well consider Rathenau's case as a sufficiient proof that during the Weimar Republic the German society had moved from Anti-Semitism to what is known as representative democracy. After all, Jews were emancipated as a result of revolution in Germany back in 1848, which meant that civil rights were not conditional on race or religious faith.

However, in June 1922, just four mounts after assuming office, Rathenau was assasinated. Similarly, Rosa Luxemburg was murded shortly after the Spartacus Uprising in Berlin. Consequently, even though it was possible for a Jew to rise to a position as important as Foreign Minister, the society was not yet ready to accept this. The underlying Anti-Semitism was thus still deeply rooted within the society in Germany. After all, had the trend been different, there would be possibly no popular Anti-Semitic parties. In fact, the Nazi Party emerged in 1919 from the radical racist Freikorps movement.There were also other parties, namely Christian Social Party. The very fact that Anti-Semitism was a reality in Germany during 1920s hence demonstrates that assimilation was not actually a feasable possibility. Success of some Jews in terms of career development thus does not necessarily mean assimilation.

The above point could be proved with the fact that there was backlash against successful Jewish financiers. The Barmat scandal,for instance, involved three Jewish businessmen, who were accused of currency speculation and corruption. Many Germans argued that Jews had too much influence within the society, and particularly in finance. Calls to do something about ''Jews beign too powerful'' contradict the very idea of assimilation(if the latter is defined not only as the absence of physical segregtaion between the Germans and the Jews). Houston Chamberlain in his work ''The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century'' also pointed out that the Germans saved the Western civilization from Jewish domination.

Many Jews actually wished to achieve assimilation one day. During the ''golden years'' of Weimar Republic the membership of German Zionist Federation was falling (from 33 000 in 1923 to 17 000 in 1929). Some even converted to…