« Protesting by the pen and the spoken word » : the struggle against anti-Semitism in the Archives israélites de France and the Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums (1870-1900), Abstract by Heidi Knörzer

This paper aims to analyze the combat against anti-Semitism carried out by the Jewish journalists Isidore Cahen, Hippolyte Prague, Ludwig Philippson and Gustav Karpeles in their respective newspapers, that is, the Archives israélites de France (1840-1935) and the Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums (1837-1921).
While the attitude of certain Jewish intellectuals and institutions has already inspired a number of enquiries, no comprehensive study of reactions in the Jewish press has come to the fore. Studies focusing on the question in a comparative or transnational perspective are also quite rare. The drawback with these studies is that they often interpret Jewish reactions to anti-Semitism against the background of the political environments in which they take place and insist upon the particular behaviour of each community, without seeing areas of overlap. Regarding Germany and France at the end of the 19th century, most of these studies are trapped in the classical opposition between a Republican and Universalist France where Jews would have felt less of a need to fight back, and a supposedly more ethnical and exclusive Germany which would have pushed Jews to defend themselves. However, as Vicki Caron has recently and rightly noted, “we might as well conclude that the political behaviour of French Jews [concerning anti-Semitism] was not significantly different to that of their German coreligionists”.
This contribution aims to show that. We will effectively see that, although the reactions of Isidore Cahen, Hippolyte Prague, Ludwig Philippson and Gustav Karpeles are sometimes temporally out of sync, they are more alike than previous studies have claimed. All four of them experience the resurgence of anti-Semitism as a serious threat, not only for Jews but for all of society, and declare themselves ready to fight. In their struggle, they place themselves in a transnational context. The journalists cite or comment acts brought about by neighbouring countries and the fight against anti-Semitism appears as the product of a network in cooperation.


Heidi Knörzer est maître de conférence en allemand à l’Ecole Polytechnique (Paris). Après ses études à Berlin, Lyon, Saint Pétersbourg et Paris elle soutient à Paris une thèse sur la pensée politique de journalistes juifs de France et d’Allemagne (Publicistes juifs entre France et Allemagne : Champions de la même cause ? (1848-1914), Paris, Honoré Champion, 2016). Elle a également travaillé sur l’histoire des juifs de Berlin.


For the symposium’s program see here.

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Teamaccount der Redaktion. Forschen – Vermitteln – Qualifizieren: Das DHI Paris ist ein zentraler Akteur international ausgerichteter historischer Forschung im Verbund der Max Weber Stiftung, Deutsche Geisteswissenschaftliche Institute im Ausland.

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