Economic Life

Robert Liberles

in Jewish Daily Life in Germany, 1618-1945

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780195171648
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199871346 | DOI:
Economic Life

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This chapter shows how legal restrictions greatly influenced Jewish occupational structure, both directly and indirectly. Jews chose commerce frequently because so many other spheres of livelihood, for example, those associated with membership in a guild, were closed. Many sold as peddlers, some in market stalls or shops. Moneylending became a secondary occupation, appearing often in the context of providing credit as part of a sales transaction. Despite the restrictions Jews faced, opportunities, personal initiative, and circumstances resulted in a rich diversity of occupational choices. Jews either engaged primarily in commerce or in some form of service for other Jews or for the population at large. Half of German Jewry lacked any savings of capital, but many were still better off than their Christian neighbors.

Keywords: German Jews; commerce; trade; Christians; Germany Jewry; moneylending

Chapter.  7186 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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