Chapter

A Jewish Century

Benjamin Harshav

in Language in Time of Revolution

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 1993 | ISBN: 9780520079588
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520912960 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520079588.003.0009
A Jewish Century

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This chapter shows that in the two major ideological-totalitarian regimes, the figure of the Jew has loomed large in the self-consciousness of the authorities and their mass-supported propaganda, as if Jewish assimilation had never existed. Similar attitudes prevailed in smaller totalitarian states, such as Poland and Romania in the late thirties. This negative mega-experience, and the numerical imbalance of individuals of Jewish origin in various professions in the modern world, requires an explanation of why the descendants of Jews may be felt to be different even when they assimilate, in fact or in popular perception. However, modern mythologies did not exempt them from Jewry as a whole. Jewish historiography must not exclude them from its scope either. The chapter also states that the prestigious “Jerusalem school” of Jewish history tended to be teleological: Every minor expression in the past which could be read as leading to Zion became significant.

Keywords: regimes; Jews; assimilation; Poland; Romania; perception; mythologies; Jewry; historiography; Zion

Chapter.  2275 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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