Reappraising the History of the Jews in the Netherlands

BookReappraising the History of the Jews in the Netherlands

Reappraising the History of the Jews in the Netherlands

The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization


October 1st, 2021



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‘This volume features new research and, more importantly, new historiographic perspectives about how to write the history of the Jews in Europe. Because it is very sensitive to issues with which historians of other Jewish communities grapple - for example, the place of Holocaust memorialization in community life, the impact of multicultural politics, Israel and Zionism - it has the potential to move the history of Dutch Jewry into closer conversation with other European Jewish histories.’
Todd Endelman, Professor Emeritus of History and Judaic Studies, University of Michigan
'Two decades have passed since the last history of the Jews of the Netherlands was published, and the editors of the present volume have taken great care to ensure that the main points of the substantial amount of new research on the history and culture of Dutch Jewry have been incorporated.'
Jonathan I. Israel, Emeritus Professor of European History, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
'This welcome new volume positions the history of the Jews of the Netherlands squarely in the contemporary historiographical landscape. It is persuasive as to how and why it has something to say to the broader field, and why it should be seen as an integral part of that field.'
David Rechter, Professor of Modern Jewish History, University of Oxford

The two decades since the last authoritative general history of Dutch Jews was published have seen such substantial developments in historical understanding that new assessment has become an imperative. This volume offers an indispensable survey from a contemporary viewpoint that reflects the new preoccupations of European historiography and allows the history of Dutch Jewry to be more integrated with that of other European Jewish histories. Historians from both older and newer generations shed significant light on all eras, providing fresh detail that reflects changed emphases and perspectives. In addition to such traditional subjects as the Jewish community’s relationship with the wider society and its internal structure, its leaders, and its international affiliations, new topics explored include the socio-economic aspects of Dutch Jewish life seen in the context of the integration of minorities more widely; a reassessment of the Holocaust years and consideration of the place of Holocaust memorialization in community life; and the impact of multiculturalist currents on Jews and Jewish politics. Memory studies, diaspora studies, postcolonial studies, and digital humanities all play their part in providing the fullest possible picture. This wide-ranging scholarship is complemented by a generous plate section with eighty fully captioned colour illustrations.

Author Information

Hans Blom is Emeritus Professor of Dutch History at the University of Amsterdam, and the former director of the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation. David J. Wertheim is the director of the Menasseh ben Israel Institute for Jewish Social and Cultural Studies, Amsterdam. Hetty Berg is the director of the Jewish Museum Berlin. Bart T. Wallet is Professor of Jewish History at the University of Amsterdam.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
List of illustrations
Editorial note
List of abbreviations
Introduction IVO SCHÖFFER
1. The Middle Ages B. M. J. SPEET
First Signs of a Jewish Presence
The Northern Netherlands
Violent Persecution
Gelderland in the Fifteenth Century
Discrimination and Expulsion
The Christian Origins of Antisemitism
Fresh Accusations
In Search of an Explanation
2. Between the Middle Ages and the Golden Age, 1516–1621 DANIEL M. SWETSCHINSKI
Jews in the Holy Roman Empire
The Iberian Background
Portuguese New Christians in Antwerp
The Attitude of Humanists and Reformers to Jews and Judaism
The Toleration Debate and the Jews
Portuguese New Christians in Holland
Four Christian Views of Jews
The Growth of the Sephardi Colony in Amsterdam
The Future Still Uncertain
3. The Republic of the United Netherlands until about 1750: Demography and Economic Activity JONATHAN I. ISRAEL
The Early Decades, 1595–1648
Expansion and Colonization
The Burgeoning of Commerce and of the Credit System, 1648–1713
Growing Population Figures During the Period of Economic Decline, 1713–1750
4. The Jews in the Republic until about 1750: Religious, Cultural, and Social Life YOSEF KAPLAN
The Organization of the Community
Three Congregations
The Influx of Paupers
The Power of the Mahamad
New Synagogues
Sephardim and Ashkenazim outside Amsterdam
Religious Life: Tradition and Change
A Good Education
Ashkenazi Life
Jewish Printers in Amsterdam
The Shabbatean Movement in Amsterdam
Influential Rabbis
Culture and Secular Creativity
Literature and the Stage
Everyday Life
Ideological Conflicts
Relations between Jews and Christians
Jewish Stereotypes
5. Enlightenment and Emancipation, c.1750–1814 RENATE G. FUKS-MANSFELD
Good Citizens
Demographic Changes and Emigration
Economic Changes
The Administration of the Jewish Communities
Administrative Changes after 1796
Religious and Cultural Life
6. Arduous Adaptation, 1814–1870 RENATE G. FUKS-MANSFELD
The Government and the Jews
The Reorganization of the Jewish Communities after 1848 The Government and Jews under Threat Abroad
Dutch Jews as Citizens
Economic and Social Changes
The Attitude of Protestants and Catholics towards Jews
Cultural and Religious Trends
Reactions to the New Jewish Fellow-Citizens
7. Jewish Netherlanders, Netherlands Jews, and Jews in the Netherlands, 1870–1940 J. C. H. BLOM and JOEL J. CAHEN
Occupations, Economic Role, and Poverty
Religious Life, (Sub)culture, and Pillarization
Assimilation, Integration, and Antisemitism
Solidarity with International Jewry and Zionism
Refugees from Germany
Jews in the Dutch Colonies
Jew and Netherlander
8. The War, 1940-1945 PETER ROMIJN
The German Invasion • Registration
New Regulations
Deportations and the Yellow Star
Forced Removal and Labour Camps
Organization and Selection
Flight, Going into Hiding, and Resistance
The Transit Camps
Deportation and Murder
9. After the Second World War: From Religious Community to Cultural Minority F. CHAYA BRASZ
The First Few Months
The Jewish Co-ordination Committee
Religious Congregations
The Struggle for the Jewish War Orphans
The Purges
Jews in Modern Dutch Society after 1950
Numbers and Distribution
A Cultural Minority
Religious Developments
The Colonies
Jews and Christians
Middle East Policy
The Holocaust
Bibliographical essays
Notes on contributors
Index of names
General Index