Our Little Country: National Identities of Alsatian Jewry Between the Two World Wars
Schachter, Ruth Beryl
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This thesis looks at the Jewish community of Alsace and Lorraine between 1918 and 1940 and its attitudes towards France and Germany. The paper argues that while Jews living in Alsace and Lorraine by and large expressed political loyalty to France, they nevertheless expressed a unique cultural identity that resulted from their particular position of living in a contested borderland. The Jews of Alsace and Lorraine spoke both French and German in their daily lives, remained religiously and culturally conservative, and welcomed in refugees from Eastern Europe and Nazi Germany during the interwar period without concern about social or political repercussions. Alsatian Jews clearly manifested pro-French political tendencies, however unlike their fellow Jews in France, Jews in Alsace and Lorraine remained distanced from the ideological connotations of being French citizens. Thus, this thesis illustrates how political loyalty, and religious and cultural identities manifested themselves differently depending on specific locations.