Chapter

Lingering Stereotypes and Jewish Displaced Persons

Michael Berkowitz

in The Crime of My Very Existence

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780520251120
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940680 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520251120.003.0006
Lingering Stereotypes and Jewish Displaced Persons

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This chapter shows that the stigma of Jews as criminals was one of the most resilient and widespread perceptions among Germans as they confronted the remnant of European Jewry in post-World War II Europe in what came to be known as the DP, or “displaced-persons” problem. Because racial anti-Semitism was a possibly questionable way to express opinions in postwar Germany, especially in the U.S. zone of occupation toward which most Jewish DPs migrated, Germans' view of Jews as criminals was a major factor in the dynamic between Jews, Germans, and the U.S. Army. The chapter also notes that the presence of a thriving black market certainly abetted the perception of DPs as a “criminal element,” and a number of forces combined to ensure that DPs had few other means, outside of the black market, to survive.

Keywords: Jewish criminal; European Jewry; displaced-persons problem; anti-Semitism; black market

Chapter.  22727 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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