Inter-generational diachronic study of the German-Jewish Fein family from Leipzig

Langeheine, Rico (2014) Inter-generational diachronic study of the German-Jewish Fein family from Leipzig. Masters thesis (MPhil), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

The aim of this study was first of all to describe, analyse and reconstruct the experiences of the German-Jewish merchant family Fein. This micro-historical intergenerational diachronic survey begins in the first half of the 19th century in order to gain an insight into how, during the course of around 120 years, the political, economical, social and cultural conditions of Jewish life in Leipzig were perceived by and affected the family from within. Finally an outlook shall examine successive stages of the family’s integration into English society after its expulsion from Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1938.

As well as comparing patterns of how the family assimilated and adapted both in Germany and England, the thesis also highlights how their perception of Germany changed. As a Jewish fur-trading family originating from Brody in Galicia, the Fein family started to settle in Leipzig in the 1840s and one can perceive all further developments as a representative example of an assimilated Jewish bourgeois family. However, the coming to power of the National Socialists forced the 3rd and 4th generations to migrate again, under drastic conditions which were very different from those of the family members first officially registered in Leipzig in 1862. As early as 1933, some family members were obliged to leave Germany in order to earn their living
elsewhere. In 1938 this current culminates in the enforced confiscation of the family business Fein & Co. During this wave of emigration, most of the family members went
to London, some to New York, but whatever the destination, they saw themselves once more confronted with the need to integrate successfully into a new society.

The stories of these two immigrations – from Poland to Germany, and from Germany to the England or the US – are set off against one another. Thanks to official archived
material, private notes, family correspondence and a variety of other documents put at disposal by the family, as well as some oral-history interviews, it was attempted to carry
out a group-biographical analysis of the family’s history. This analysis is then being embedded into the historical context and the issues the Jewish bourgeoisie was exposed
to in Germany. To do this, the family members’ experiences of the regularly changing political regimes in Germany are considered: the Kingdom of Saxony, the German Reich from 1871, the era of the Wilhelmism, the Weimar Republic and the National Socialist 3rd Reich.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DD History of Germany > DD084 History > DD121 By period > DD175 Modern, 1519- > DD190 1648-1815. 18th century. French Revolutionary and Napoleonic period
D History General and Old World > DD History of Germany > DD084 History > DD121 By period > DD175 Modern, 1519- > DD201 19th-20th centuries
D History General and Old World > DD History of Germany > DD084 History > DD121 By period > DD175 Modern, 1519- > DD201 19th-20th centuries > DD206 1815-1871
D History General and Old World > DD History of Germany > DD084 History > DD121 By period > DD175 Modern, 1519- > DD201 19th-20th centuries > DD217 New Empire, 1871-1918
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2014 15:24
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2015 13:34
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/47650

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