The Making of Antisemitism as a Political Movement. Political History as Cultural History (1879-1914)
edited by Werner Bergmann, Ulrich Wyrwa
by Victor Karady
by Silvia Marton
by Iulia Maria Onac
by Veselina Kulenska
by Maciej Moszyński
by Susanne Terwey
by Christoph Leiska
by Theodor R. Weeks
by Miloslav Szabó
by Klaus Richter
by Marija Vulesica
by Tim Buchen
by Ulrich Wyrwa
by Stefan Wiese
by Maria Margaroni
by Reinhard Rürup
by Ulrich Wyrwa
by Isabel Enzenbach


Holocaust Intersections in 21st-Century Europe
The Great War. Reflections, Experiences and Memories of German and Habsburg Jews (1914-1918)
Portrait of Italian Jewish Life (1800s-1930s)
Travels to the "Holy Land": Perceptions, Representations and Narratives
Israelis and Palestinians Seeking, Building and Representing Peace. A Historical Appraisal
Memory and Forgetting among Jews from the Arab-Muslim Countries. Contested Narratives of a Shared Past
Modernity and the Cities of the Jews
Jews in Europe after the Shoah. Studies and Research Perspectives
The Making of Antisemitism as a Political Movement.  Political History as Cultural History (1879-1914)

The Making of Antisemitism as a Political Movement. Political History as Cultural History (1879-1914)

edited by Werner Bergmann, Ulrich Wyrwa


The new dimension of antisemitism in contrast to the traditional religious animosity towards Jews, was in first instance not so much its racist orientation but the fact that this hostility assumed the form of a political or social movement.1 The reason for its emergence must be seen in the larger transformations taking place in 19th century Europe,2  in the social conflicts, economic upheavals, cultural dislocations and social-moral crises. Antisemitism, therefore, was not caused by religious conflicts; on the contrary this new kind of hatred against Jews originated from the “great transformation,” the upheaval of the whole way of living in the formation of the industrial world.3 This transformation led to a ‘clash of economic mentalities,”4 and parts of the middle classes and of the peasant population adhered to the “moral economy” of the traditional world.5 Unable to grasp the new capitalist mentality, they accused the Jews of being responsible for this transformation.6 The religious tradition of animosity towards Jews in this context served as legitimacy for the new antisemitic rage. 7 Moreover Catholic, Protestant as well as Orthodox clergyman, fearing the cultural upheaval, accused the Jews of being responsible for the social and political conflicts of the 19th Century. Paradoxically, in this way, the Christian Churches played an important part in the making of the new non religious and secular political movement of antisemitism.8

The protagonists of the antisemitic movement were primarily concerned with the political mobilization of people harboring feelings of hatred towards Jews. The movement openly demonstrated its arrival on the political stage, forming itself into a community sharing the same cast of mind, establishing its own organizations, fostering political networks, employing the various media of political publicity to agitate against Jews, and through sensationalist campaigns they attempted to pervade society with antisemitic positions. Despite their diverse and indeed at times divergent political organizations and forms of activity, most of the protagonists were galvanized into a unified worldview through their resentments and aversions against Jews.9

In historical studies it has remained unclear however how strong antisemitism actually was as a political movement, what impact the political agitation by the antisemites actually had on society, what kind of support antisemitism enjoyed in the various social groups, and to what extent antisemitic positions were taken up by and absorbed into kindred political camps. But above all, historical studies have only tentatively explored if antisemitism appeared as a political movement in other European countries in similar ways to Germany and Austria, how strongly it was anchored in these countries politically, and wherein laid the similarities and differences to political antisemitism in Central Europe. This issue will therefore examine political antisemitism between 1879 and 1914 in a European-wide context, taking a comparative perspective.10 This period is chosen because it must be seen as the formative age of antisemitism. Originating in the age of emancipation,11 this new hostility had gained cultural hegemony using the neologism ‘antisemitism’, which spread rapidly in all the European languages. This period lasted until the First World War, which led to a fundamental radicalization of antisemitism.

Historical research on the rise of antisemitism has focused overwhelmingly on Germany. As part of the comprehensive research project undertaken by the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research, which had relocated to the United States in 1935, Paul W. Massing presented a study entitled Rehearsal for Destruction, a work on the rise of political antisemitism in Germany that even today is thought-provoking and by no means outdated.12 Decisive in antisemitism’s becoming a factor in German politics was the fact, according to Massing, that conservative-clerical forces maintained cultural hegemony in state and society. From the mid-1890s, however, through to 1914, as Massing explains, political antisemitism lost its attraction. But with the onset of the First World War it re-emerged stronger and more virulent than ever.13 

Immediately after the publication of Paul Massing’s pioneer study Eva G. Reichmann, who worked for the Centralverein deutscher Staatsbürger jüdischen Glaubens before immigrating to Britain, completed her study Hostages of Civilization. The Social Sources of National Socialist Anti-Semitism.14 Reichmann saw the social tensions generated in Germany after the Jews achieved emancipation and legal equality as decisive to any attempt to explain the rise of antisemitism. According to Reichmann, those latent social animosities directed against Jews turned into open aggression once a crisis took hold in the late 19th century. The social disintegration triggered by the First World War and the problems besetting the postwar years had then set off such a far-reaching crisis that people took “flight into hatred” (this the heading given to the chapter devoted to the year 1933  and also the title of the German translation).

Besides the works of Massing and Reichmann, the third foundational study on the origins and rise of political antisemitism that needs to be mentioned is the dissertation by Peter Pulzer completed in 1964, which also included the development in Austria.15 Pulzer elaborates how the rejection of liberalism by large sections of bourgeois society was a key problem in the political development of both the German Empire and the Habsburg Monarchy. This unwillingness to embrace liberalism was crucial for the development of the political antisemitism. In 1914, Pulzer concludes, the antisemitic parties in both countries had permeated broad sections of the population with antisemitic ideas, but in terms of their impact as a political force they had not succeeded in having even one of their legislative proposals accepted.

In the 1970s, the Berlin historian Reinhard Rürup published a number of groundbreaking and widely cited articles, primarily regarding the close relationship between political antisemitism and the emancipation of the Jews and the change of the civil society in nineteenth century Germany.16 Together with Thomas Nipperdey he wrote a profound article on the emergence and function of the term antisemitism for the handbook on the social and political language in Germany.17

Just how little the study by Peter Pulzer has lost in topicality and explanatory power is underlined by the publication of a new edition in 2004 for which Pulzer added a critical essay on antisemitism research since the 1960s.18 As Pulzer sees it, more recent studies have provided a better understanding of the rise of political antisemitism and antisemitic movements and more clearly delineated the relationship between the emergence of antisemitism and the transformation taking place in the cultural climate of the time, resulting in a sudden shift in public opinion in both the German Empire and the Habsburg Monarchy. This enables a more precise answer to the question as to what extent antisemitism was not only an instrument of political conflict, but also the symptom of a particular mental state within certain groups of the civil society.

Following Pulzer’s study, Dutch historian Dirk van Arkel has presented his dissertation thesis on political antisemitism in Austria at the University of Leiden,19 and Bruce F. Pauley has given an overall presentation of the history of Austrian antisemitism.20 Furthermore John W. Boyer published not only a profound study on the emergence of antisemitism in the Austrian Christian Social Party,21 but also - most recently - a thoughtful biography of the most important Austrian antisemite Karl Lueger.22

Next to Germany and Austria no other European country has attract more attention in historical research than France, and the huge number of studies range for example from Robert Byrnes overview,23 over Sternhell’s24 and Zobel’s studies on the extreme right,25 up to the various publications of Pierre Birnbaum.26 Obviously, the Dreyfus Affair stood at the forefront of historical interest. Just two huge publications are subtitled ‘A Documentary History’, first Louis L. Snyder’s  ‘The Dreyfus Case’ form 1973,27 and second the volume edited by Michael Burns published in 1999.28 Among the huge number of studies on the Dreyfus Affair are those of Stephen Wilson,29 Michael Burns,30 Pierre Birnbaum,31 or Vincent Duclert,32 to name  at least some of them. Furthermore this Dreyfus case has even been studied by James F. Brennan as a symptom of a European public opinion.33 In recent years a new generation of young scholars like Laurent Joly or Bertrand Joly have opened new perspectives of the historical impact of antisemitism on the French society by re-studying the ‘Action française’ and the French nationalistic and conservative faction,34 and Gregoire Kauffmann has thrown new light on the biography of the most influential French antisemite, Edouard Drumont,35 while Damien Guillaume is concluding at the ‘École des hautes études en sciences sociales’ in Paris his dissertation project on the beginning of the antisemitic agitation in France form 1879 to 1892, promising new insights into specific features of French antisemitism.36

In recent decades fundamental works on the rise of antisemitism in other European countries have been published too, including Russia37, Britain38, Poland39 and Hungary40; a comparative perspective however is still lacking.41  Revealing insights into the cultural and political dimensions of European antisemitism can be expected from the forthcoming Antisemitism in a Comparative Perspective: Germany, Austria-Hungary and France (1800-1920) by Steven Englund, which will offer a comparative study of the simultaneous and reciprocal insertion of the ‘new’ politics of antisemitism into three different polities and societies.42

Already in 1993 on the other hand, the founding director of the Center for Research on Antisemitism, Herbert A. Strauss, had opened the focus to Europe as a whole and edited a two-volume collection of seminal essays on the history of antisemitism which was no longer limited to the German-speaking regions, but provided an overview of historical research on antisemitism in Britain, France, Hungary, Poland and Russia from 1870 to the outbreak of the Second World War.43 Programmatically taking up the key term from the title of Eva Reichmann’s study, with the title Hostages of Modernization, Strauss was elaborating a concept of modern antisemitic movements as the “results of crises in interrelated modernization processes” of the Jewish minority and the larger Christian society. Of particular importance for this perspective, serving as guiding hypotheses, were theories, taken from social and political sciences, on the mechanisms at work in group conflicts, the creation of stereotypes, discrimination and political mobilization as well as economic crises and social change. In his introduction on the “Possibilities and Limits of Comparison”, Strauss reflected how history has changed in terms of methodological approaches and subjects, moving from a political history of institutions and ideologies towards “social, group, and regional histories”. This shift in orientation reveals the new concern with social tensions, economic dislocations, political mobilizations and how conflicts of interests are decided. He saw the specific history of the conflict between the Jewish minority and the majority society as embedded in the wider history of selected European states, in other words he understood antisemitic social and political movements to be “reflections of critical developments in European societies”, of conflicts which the elites proved unable to solve or which they did not want to solve. In his introductory, interpretative texts to each of the countries, Strauss developed “comparisons between the national patterns documented […] on a tentative basis, it being understood that structural comparisons should reveal differences among the objects compared as well as placing them into a common framework.”44

Taking up the issues and themes broached in this essay collection, under the direction of Werner Bergmann and Ulrich Wyrwa, the Center for Research on Antisemitism set up a research seminar devoted to “Antisemitism in Europe (1879–1914)” for the purpose of specifically examining the various manifestations of this new hostility towards Jews, essential to the rise of antisemitism, from a comparative perspective. 45 In the spring of 2010 the Center held an international conference that concentrated fully on the political aspects key to the rise and development of European antisemitism and resulted in the essays of the present issue.46 

Three questions take centre stage: firstly, the presence and impact of antisemitic networks and the role played by the media in the political public sphere. The issue here is to determine in which countries and in which political constellations antisemitism could become a political force, in which concrete situations it proved popular and found an echo in society, and what were the causes for its failure.

Secondly, aspects of social history are to be discussed on the basis of a European comparison. The key focus here is to ask in which strata of society and in which cultural milieus the language of antisemitism found approval and where was it rejected, which social groups were the pillars of the antisemitic movement, and to what extent antisemitism needs to be understood as a social movement. In the case of Germany, it has already been established that the antisemitic movement was primarily made up of the old and new middle classes (Mittelstand), sections of the bourgeoisie holding socially conservative views, together with parts of the rural population who were susceptible to antisemitic propaganda. For the comparative perspective this means asking if and under which conditions these social classes also gravitated towards political antisemitism in other countries, or if and why there were other supporting groups.

The third problem is the specific social practice, including anti-Jewish violence, which is an aspect that has increasingly attracted the attention of research in recent years.47 Here case studies are employed in the attempt to embed the practice of violence in the concrete local social context of Jewish- non-Jewish relations, which in turn generates an insight into the conditions facilitating the emergence of this collective violence as well as its subsequent course and repercussions.

Besides these thematic aspects, this issue is also concerned with addressing the debates taking place in historical studies on whether a new political history is required, or whether the established political version needs to be complemented by cultural history, and how these debates can be made fruitful for research into antisemitism.48 

When antisemitism is seen as a political movement from cultural historical perspective then the conventional themes associated with political history are of less concern. Thus for instance the political ideas of antisemites or the antisemitic political parties, as the conventional approach undertook to do, will not be inquired. Moreover, this new approach is not mainly concerned with describing antisemitic incidents, discussing decrees and laws, or portraying the ‘leading figures’ of the antisemitic movement. What is at issue rather is to determine if and to what extent the new concepts and lines of inquiry emerging from such an interpolation of traditional political history with dimensions gleaned from cultural and micro-historical perspective can actually contribute to gain a new understanding of the phenomenon of antisemitism. The new focus on a cultural history of the political sphere or of politics sees politics primarily as a process of communication; politics is understood as a process of negotiations, of negotiating positions in a public arena, and as such, the new perspective includes a performative dimension. Regarding antisemitism this means analyzing any antisemitic expression or presence in the public realm as a form of communicative action. Moreover, this new perspective on political history emphasizes the ritual character of the political and the significance of signs and symbols. For examining the rise of antisemitism, this involves determining how antisemites socially constitute their antisemitic worldview – that is, which signs and symbols were drawn on to express it.

Here politics and language enter into a relationship that is mutually determining, with one educing the other and vice versa; this means that in the new approach to political history the two manifestations of antisemitism – as historical semantic and socio-political movement – are seen as correlated and inextricably tied to one another. The new language of antisemitism enabled new antisemitic experiences, and the rhetoric of antisemitism spawned a new antisemitic political culture. 49 Language became an experimental field for a new set of antisemitic practices, while any speech act in the political field became a political act. Antisemitic words and phrases became antisemitic politics.50 The rhetoric of antisemitism – and this shows how fruitful speech act theory can be for a new political history – not only postulated antisemitic claims and assertions, but further, the expression of them was akin to performing an antisemitic act. Antisemitism was expressed in concrete speech acts just as much as in social practices and performative acts; it was given expression in open actions as in wordless reservations. New political history perspectives not only enable a new definition of what is political, they make it possible to determine what is political in antisemitism, and to perceive how social, economic, religious, cultural and moral issues are all transformed into political ones. Therefore in antisemitic rhetoric Jews could be stigmatized as scapegoats for social conflicts, and they had become the target of the antisemitic political movement.

Politics in the sense of the new approach in historical research is to be essentially defined as communication, as a process of positioning and negotiating as well as the communicative shaping of collectively binding values and norms. In the case of antisemitism this allows us to reconstruct immanently how antisemites arrived at their antisemitic values and norms, namely through their own communication processes.

Seeking to determine the political dimension of antisemitism does not mean limiting the inquiry solely to antisemites. The new political history aims to explain how antisemites influenced and shaped the whole political culture of their society with their language and public presence – and not just their own antisemitic milieu. The goal of the essays in this issue is thus to make the concept of political culture fruitful for research on antisemitism.51 They seek to plot how antisemitic worldviews, antisemitic political and cultural codes, and programmatic antisemitic statements interacted and reciprocally conditioned one another. The scholarly interest is focused on whether, and if so in which sense, we may speak of an antisemitic faction, if the fabric of its milieus was coherent and unified, or whether internal divisions and divergences predominated amongst the antisemites. At the same time, the way in which the language of antisemitism left its mark on the respective political culture as a whole is explored.

Along with the cultural historical dimensions of political antisemitism, the European dimensions are also of chief concern in examining the development of antisemitism into a political movement. In this respect the key issue is to determine what was specific about antisemitism in Germany. Not only was the new term coined here in 1879, but the new form of animosity towards Jews first crystallized, too, into a political movement in Germany. What was singular in German antisemitism can only be discerned by way of a comparative analysis of antisemitism in other European countries. Achieving this entails asking if German antisemitism had come to prominence already in the formative phase of antisemitism thanks to specific characteristics, or if rather a set of features prevailed across Europe in this phase.

Our interest was thus focused on the European character of antisemitism, namely the questions if and to what extent this occurrence was genuinely European, and to what extent antisemitism needs to be understood as a European phenomenon. This involves identifying the contacts, the processes of intellectual exchange and ideological transfer between the antisemites of the various countries, how antisemites from different language and cultural regions interacted, how key writings by German-speaking antisemites – for instance Adolf Stoecker, Wilhelm Marr and Georg Ritter von Schönerer – were received in other European countries, and if a political figure such as Karl Lueger served as a source of inspiration in other countries.

This special issue thus also represents an initial approach to the writing of a history of Europe, specifically a Europe that is more than a mere addition of distinct political entities. Europe is a community linked together by multifaceted experiences, and as such, our concern is to determine if and to what extent the antisemitic political movement operated in a European public sphere, and how the various national and regional spheres overlapped or what separated them.

In a remarkably short time the new catchphrase of antisemitism was circulating in all European languages, while almost all of the new editions of the various national encyclopedias since 1879 included an entry on antisemitism.52 One of the most precise and informative of these entries is in the eleventh edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, published in 1910, where the British Jewish historian Lucien Wolf provided a decidedly European survey of the development of antisemitism. Wolf showed how the political antisemitism forming in the 1880s became a European movement. From its starting point in Germany the movement spread to various regions of the Habsburg Monarchy, took hold in France, before assuming particularly violent forms in Russia and Romania. In the context of the Dreyfus Affair, so Wolf’s assessment, this new political form of hostility towards Jews turns into a “European Antisemitism.”53

Despite this early diagnosis by Wolf, there is still a striking lack of works taking a comparative approach on a European scale or studies focusing on the European dimensions of antisemitism. In particular there is no attempt to undertake a European-wide synthesis of the origins and rise of antisemitism, nor on the question of the unity and diversity in its development.

These desiderata are all the more astonishing considering that, following their first public appearances in the Berlin movement and the subsequent process of political party formation in Germany and Europe, the antisemitic agitators of the 1880s undertook attempts to establish themselves as a European movement. The “Tiszaeszlar” affair presented them with the opportunity, the accusations of ritual murder in the Hungarian town of the same name, which generated great interest across Europe and forms an ideal context for observing the emergence of a European public.54 Above all Hungarian and German antisemites sought to exploit this European-wide attention for their own purposes and expand the reach of their localized antisemitic movements into a pan-European one. Although they ultimately failed and the European congresses they organized ended in disaster, the question remains if this failure did not after all display European features and the antisemitic movement nonetheless bore a pan-European signature.55

Just how European was political antisemitism? The essays collected here are to serve as building blocks for an answer to the question whether we need to speak of a European antisemitism or of different paths of antisemitism in Europe. Are we dealing with several national and regional antisemitic movements, or may we speak of an antisemitic movement in Europe? Is the phenomenon of this new hostility towards Jews in fact a sum of several national antisemitisms, where emphasis must be placed on the differences and the similarities assigned less importance, or is it a genuinely European antisemitism? Furthermore, the essays represent an initial attempt to answer the question of whether the European-wide reception of the term antisemitism and the debates on the new hostility observable in all European countries are to be understood as a moment when a European public was formed. The question is: is antisemitism to be seen as a collective European syndrome?

Naturally enough the following essays cannot cover all of the aforementioned dimensions of political antisemitism. As already indicated this includes issues emerging from conventional political history, the formation of political parties or political ideas. For Germany, this new cultural historical perspective on antisemitism has been presented in a huge amount of studies.

Already in the mid 50s, Hans-Christian Gerlach studied some of these cultural aspects regarding the political antisemitism in Imperial Germany in his unpublished dissertation.56 Shulamit Volkov’s many studies have contributed tremendously to a new understanding of political antisemitism in Germany, in particular her essay ‘Antisemitism as a cultural code’.57 Stefan Scheil, then, has given a precise analysis of the election results of the antisemitic parties in Imperial Germany.58 New cultural historical aspects of political antisemitism have been presented by Till van Rhaden for the example on Breslau.59 Andrea Hopp has looked thoroughly at the election campaigns in Germany in the age of Bismarck,60 and Siegfried Heimann has presented the role of antisemitism in the Prussian parliament.61 Furthermore the role of physical violence against Jews and its relationship to political culture was the subject of a volume edited by Christhard Hoffmann, Werner Bergmann und Helmut W. Smith.62 Particular attention has been given in local and regional studies to political antisemitism in Imperial Germany. Baden, for example, has been studied by different authors,63 while one of the centres of political antisemitism in Germany, Sachsen, has been substantively addressed by Mathias Piefel in the context of the political praxis of the antisemitic movement.64 Beyond regional studies, including comparative ones,65 urban contexts of political antisemitism like Stuttgart or Frankfurt on the Main have also been examined from a cultural historical perspective.66 The cultural aspects of Catholic antisemitism are considered by Olaf Blaschke who analyses both the anti-capitalistic mentality and the civil exclusion of Jews.67 Uffa Jensen, on the other hand, has given a comprehensive picture of the antisemitic attitudes and the behaviour of Protestant intellectuals in Germany.68 Regarding the case of a ritual murder accusation in the small German town Konitz in 1900 no fewer than two different volumes present detailed and insightful interpretations.69 Picking up the debate regarding a new visual history, Isabel Enzenbach and Wolfgang Haney have recently published a new volume on everyday culture of antisemitism from the nineteenth century up the Nazi Germany using small vignettes or stickers as a so far overlooked historical source. 70 This instructive material provides a deeper understanding of antisemitism as a social practice in everyday life. It shows what use ordinary people made of antisemitic propaganda material and illuminates the antisemitic mentality within the society of Imperial Germany.

Our primary interest is to contribute to a European comparative perspective on the making of political antisemitism. Given the huge number of studies on the cultural aspects of political antisemitism in Germany just discussed, it does not seem necessary to add further contributions on the topic in this issue. Even German speaking Austria and France have been widely studied in recent years, so that these two countries will also not be taken into account.

The essays presented in this issue have been written by various historians at different points in their careers. Some of the papers are by established historians and experienced experts in the field of research on antisemitism, others are by younger scholars who have lately finished their ‘first books’ (i.e., their dissertation theses). Some authors have already finished their ‘second books’, and yet others are still working on their dissertations.  All the papers have delved deeply into and pondered new archival sources, which have been heretofore more or less disregarded, as they also covered aspects that had hitherto not attracted scholarly attention. Furthermore some of the contributions present regions completely ignored in historical research on the emergence of antisemitism in Europe until now.

The essays concentrate on different thematic areas: after an introductory essay of Viktor Karady on the religious antecedents of political antisemitism, parliamentary debates regarding the ‘Jewish Question’ will be presented on the example of Rumania. As Rumania has been seen by contemporary observers as one of the most problematic countries in Europe, it is presented here by two articles (Silvia Marton and Julia Onac). They are followed by a presentation of the public discourse in the mass media on Jews and antisemitism in Bulgaria (Veselina Kulenska), Congress Poland (Maciej MoszyÅ„ski) and Great Britain (Susanne Terwey). Furthermore, antisemitism in political culture is explored, both in the national context of Russia (Theodore R. Weeks) as well as the narrower framework of urban and rural areas, as in Swedish Göteborg (Christoph Leiska), in Slovakian Upper Hungary (Miloslav Szabó) and rural Lithuania (Klaus Richter). Other papers are dedicated to antisemitism in political Catholicism with papers on Croatia-Slavonia (Marija Vulesica), Habsburg Galicia (Tim Buchen) and Italian Mantua (Ulrich Wyrwa). The last articles examine the politics of anti-Jewish violence, using the examples of Russian Pogroms of 1905 (Stefan Wiese) and the ritual murder riots in Greek Corfu in 1891 (Maria Margaroni). Finally in his concluding remarks Reinhard Rürup - based on his deep understanding of the German case, summarizing the results, formulating open questions and outlining critical aspects - presents a comparative European perspective on political antisemitism from the 1870s until the First World War.  At the end of the ‘focus’ in a first Gallery, the just mentioned antisemitic stickers will be presented. A second Gallery offers a collection of caricatures, not antisemitc cartoons but rather caricatures drawn by German and Austrian opponents of. 


Werner Bergmann, born in 1950 in Celle, is Professor at the Center for Research on Antisemitism at the Technical University Berlin.

He studied first fine arts and then sociology and philosophy in Hamburg. He completed his Ph.D. on temporal structures of social systems in Hamburg and his Habilitation theses on antisemitism in public conflicts in western Germany from 1949 to 1989 at the Free University Berlin.

Fields of research are the sociology and history of antisemitism, xenophobia and right-wing extremism and collective violence. Recent Publications: Geschichte des Antisemitismus (München, C. H. Beck, 2010 fourth ed.); coeditor of Exclusionary Violence. Antisemitic Riots in Modern German History (with Christhard Hoffmann and Helmut W. Smith) (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002), Antisemitische Geschichtsbilder (with Ulrich Sieg) (Essen: Klartext, 2009); “Anti-Semitism” in: Handbook of Prejudice, ed. Anton Pelinka (Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2009).

Ulrich Wyrwa born in 1954 in Leipzig. Professor of History at the University of Potsdam and head of research groups on Antisemitism in Europe (1879-1914/1914-1923) at the Centre for Research on Antisemitism at the Technical University Berlin.

He studied history and philosophy in Heidelberg, Rome and Hamburg and completed his Ph.D. on alcohol consumption and working class culture in 19th century Hamburg. At the University of Potsdam he finished his Habilitation theses on the Emancipation of the Jews in Tuscany and in Prussia in comparative perspective.

Fields of research are the history of consumption, European Jewish history and the history of Jewish historiography as well as the history of Antisemitism in Europe in particular in Germany and Italy.

Among his Publications: editor: Einspruch und Abwehr. Die Reaktion des europäischen Judentums auf die Entstehung des Antisemitismus (1879–1914) (Frankfurt/M.-New York: Campus, 2010); „Das Bild von Europa in der jüdischen Geschichtsschreibung des 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhunderts“, Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Europäische Geschichte Mainz, Beiheft online 2, 2007), URL:

Together they have published the volume: Antisemitismus in Zentraleuropa. Deutschland, Österreich und die Schweiz vom 19. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart, (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2011). 


* We thank Christian Bardtke for preparing the footnotes of all articles and for researching documents necessary for this issue. We also would like to express our thanks to Steven Englund for his comments and linguistic corrections. 

[1] For more details, see Werner Bergmann, Ulrich Wyrwa, Antisemitismus in Zentraleuropa. Deutschland, Österreich und die Schweiz vom 19. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart, (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2011).
[2] Jürgen Osterhammel has presented the global aspects of this transformation in his impressive volume: Jürgen Osterhammel, Die Verwandlung der Welt. Eine Geschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts, (München: C. H. Beck, 2009).
[3] As Karl Polanyi has described this process in his still unrivalled book: Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation, The Political and Economic Origins of our Time, (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1944). For the topicality of the work of Polanyi see Gareth Dale, Karl Polanyi: The Limits of the Market, (Cambridge: Molden 2010).
[4] David Peal, Anti-Semitism and Rural Transformation in Kurhessen: The Rise and Fall of the Böckel Movement, (New York: Columbia University, 1985), 102.
[5] Edward P. Thompson, “The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the 18th Century”, Past & Present, 50 (1971): 76-136.
[6] Moishe Postone, “Anti-Semitism and National Socialism: Notes on the German Reaction to ‘Holocaust,’” New German Critique 19 (1980): 97-115.
[7] Werner Bergmann, Ulrich Wyrwa, Antisemitismus in Zentraleuropa, 15; Christhard Hoffmann, “Christlicher Antijudaismus und moderner Antisemitismus. Zusammenhänge und Differenzen als Problem der historischen Antisemitismusforschung,” Christlicher Antijudaismus und Antisemitismus. Theologische und kirchliche Programme deutscher Christen, ed. Leonore Siegele-Wenschkewitz, (Frankfurt /M.: Haag und Herchen, 1994), 293-317.
[8] Giovanni Miccoli, “Santa Sede, questione ebraica e antisemitismo fra Otto e Novecento,” Storia d'Italia. Annali 11, Gli Ebrei in Italia., Vol. 2, Dall'emancipazione a oggi, ed. Corrado Vivanti, (Torino: Einaudi, 1997), 1371-1574. For the German case this process has been analyzed by Olaf Blaschke, Katholizismus und Antisemitismus im Deutschen Kaiserreich (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1997), and Wolfgang E. Heinrichs, Das Judenbild im Protestantismus des deutschen Kaiserreichs. Ein Beitrag zur Mentalitätsgeschichte des deutschen Bürgertums in der Krise der Moderne, (Köln: Rheinland Verlag, 2000). For the Orthodox Churches however, this topic is still unexplored. Dissatisfying is the chapter in the handbook Kirche und Synagoge: Peter Hauptmann, “Russische Christenheit und Ostjudentum,” Kirche und Synagoge. Handbuch zur Geschichte von Christen und Juden. Darstellung und Quellen, eds. Karl Heinrich Rengstorf, Siegfried von Kortzfleisch, (Stuttgart: Ernst Klett Verlag, 1970), Vol. 2, 639-667. Significantly the new Encyclopedia of the Eastern Orthodox Christianity, ed. John Anthony McGuckin, 2 vols., (Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), has no entry on antisemitism, and the entry on Judaism by Eugen J. Pentiuc, (Vol., 1, 355-358) is rather blank in this respect.
[9] Included in this definition are motifs and aspects which have been elaborated for a concept of what constitutes a social movement. See Joachim Raschke, Soziale Bewegungen. Ein historisch-systematischer Grundriss, (Frankfurt/M., New York: Campus Verlag, 1985); Friedhelm Neidhardt, “Einige Ideen zu einer allgemeinen Theorie sozialer Bewegungen,” Sozialstruktur im Umbruch. Karl Martin Bolte zum 60. Geburtstag, ed. Stefan Hradil (Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1985), 193-204.
[10] See the chapter on theory and practice of antisemitism in Victor Karady, Gewalterfahrung und Utopie. Juden in der europäischen Moderne, (Frankfurt/M.: Fischer Verlag, 1999), 203-226; a European panorama of the epoch is given by Philipp Blom, Der taumelnde Kontinent. Europa 1900-1914, (Munich: Hanser Verlag, 2009).
[11] Werner Bergmann, Rainer Erb, Die Nachtseite der Judenemanzipation. Der Widerstand gegen die Integration der Juden in Deutschland 1780-1860, (Berlin: Metropol, 1989).
[12] Paul W. Massing, Rehearsal for Destruction. A Study of Political Anti-Semitism in Imperial Germany, (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1949). For the research projects on antisemitism undertaken by the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research, see Eva Maria Ziege, Antisemitismus und Gesellschaftstheorie. Die Frankfurter Schule im Amerikanischen Exil, (Frankfurt/M.: Suhrkamp, 2009).
[13] Regarding the radicalisation of antisemitism in Europe during the First World War and the early post-war crisis a new Research Group led by Werner Bergmann and Ulrich Wyrwa has been established at the Center for Research on Antisemitism in Berlin in 2012.
[14] Eva Reichmann, Hostages of Civilisation. A Study of the Social Causes of Antisemitism, (London: Gollancz, 1950).
[15] Peter Pulzer, The Rise of Political Anti-Semitism in Germany and Austria, (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1964, rev. ed. Cambridge, Mass., London: Peter Halban Publishers, 1988).
[16] Reinhard Rürup, Emanzipation und Antisemitismus. Studien zur ‘Judenfrage’ der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft, (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1975)
[17] Thomas Nipperdey, Reinhard Rürup, “Antisemitismus,” Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe. Historisches Lexikon zur politisch-sozialen Sprache, eds. Otto Brunner, Werner Conze, Reinhart Koselleck, Vol. 1, (Stuttgart: Ernst Klett Verlag 1972), 129-153.
[18] Peter G. J. Pulzer, Die Entstehung des politischen Antisemitismus in Deutschland und Österreich 1867 bis 1914. Mit einem Forschungsbericht des Autors, (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2004).
[19] Dirk ( alias Dik) van Arkel. Antisemitism in Austria. Proefschrift ter verkrijging van de graad van Doctor, Rijkuniversiteit te Leiden, 1966.
[20] Bruce F. Pauley, From Prejudice to Persecution: A History of Austrian Anti-Semitism, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press 1992).
[21] John W. Boyer, Political Radicalism in Late Imperial Vienna. Origins of the Christian Social Movement 1848-1897, (Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press, 1981).
[22] John W. Boyer, Karl Lueger (1844-1910). Christlichsoziale Politik als Beruf. Eine Biografie, (Wien,Köln, Weimar: Böhlau 2010).
[23] Robert Byrnes, Antisemitism in Modern France, (New York: Rutgers Univ. Press  1950);
[24] Zeev Sternhell. La droite révolutionnaire (1885 - 1914). Les origines françaises du fascisme, (Paris: Éd. du Seuil, 1978).
[25] Andreas Zobel, Frankreichs extreme Rechte vor dem ersten Weltkrieg unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der “Action française”. Ein empirischer Beitrag zur Bestimmung des Begriffs Präfaschismus, (Berlin: Dissertation Freie Universität Berlin, 1982).
[26] Pierre Birnbaum, Antisemitism in France. A Political History from Leon Blum to the Present, (Oxford: Blackwell 1992); Pierre Birnbaum, Le moment antisémite. Un tour de la France en 1898, (Paris: Fayard, 1998).
[27] Louis L. Snyder, The Dreyfus Case. A Documentary History, (New Brunswick NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1973).
[28] France and the Dreyfus Affair. A Documentary History, ed. Michael Burns, (New York: St. Martin’s College Publishing Group, 1999).
[29] Stephen Wilson, Ideology and Experience. Antisemitism in France at the Time of the Dreyfus Affair, (London: Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. Press, 1982).
[30] Michael Burns, Rural Society and French Politics. Boulangism and the Dreyfus Affair, 1886-1900, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984); Michael Burns, Dreyfus A Family Affair, 1789-1945, (New York: Harper Collins, 1991).
[31] Pierre Birnbaum, L’Affaire Dreyfus. La République en péril, (Paris: Découvertes Gallimard, 1994).
[32] Vincent Duclert, L’Affaire Dreyfus, (Paris: Ed. la Découverte, 1994).
[33] James F. Brennan, The Reflection of the Dreyfus-Affair in the European Press, 1897-1899, (Bern, Frankfurt/M., Boston: Lang 1998).
[34] Laurent Joly, “Les débuts de l’Action française (1899-1914) ou l’élaboration d’un nationalisme anti-Semite”, Revue historique, 639/3 (2006): 695-718; Bertrand Joly, Nationalistes et conservateurs en France, 1885-1902, (Paris: Les Indes savantes, 2008).
[35] Grégoire Kauffmann, Edouard Drumont, (Paris: Perrin, 2008).
[36] We would like to thank Damien Guillaume for the hints to these new French publications.
[37] Heinz-Dietrich Löwe, Antisemitismus und reaktionäre Utopie. Russischer Konservativismus im Kampf gegen den Wandel in Staat und Gesellschaft 1890-1917, (Hamburg: Hoffmann und Campe 1978).
[38] Colin Holmes, Anti-Semitism in British Society 1876-1939, (London: Arnold, 1979); David Feldman, Englishmen and Jews: Social Relations und Political Culture, (New Haven - London: Yale University Press, 1994); Susanne Terwey, Moderner Antisemitismus in Großbritannien 1899-1914. Über die Funktion von Vorurteilen sowie Einwanderung und nationale Identität, (Würzburg: Könighausen und Neumann, 2006).
[39] Frank Golczewski, Polnisch-jüdische Beziehungen 1881-1922. Eine Studie zur Geschichte des Antisemitismus in Osteuropa, (Wiesbaden: Steiner Verlag, 1981); Theodore R. Weeks, From Assimilation to Antisemitismus (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2006).
[40] Rolf Fischer, Entwicklungsstufen des Antisemitismus in Ungarn 1867-1939 (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1988).
[41] Despite the rather dissatisfying study of  William I. Brustein, Roots of Hate. Anti-Semitism in Europe before the Holocaust, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003) and the ambitious volume of Albert  S. Lindemann, Esaus’s Tears. Modern Anti-Semitism and the Rise of the Jews, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1997) which is not so much written by a European comparative perspective as consisting of single national or regional chapters.
[42] A notion of his ideas may give his article:  Steven Englund, “Antisemitism, Judeophobia, and the Republic”, The French Republic. History, Values, Debates, eds. Edward Berenson, Vincent Duclert, Christophe Prochasson, (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2011), 278-288. 
[43] Hostages of Modernisation. Studies on Modern Antisemitism 1870-1933/39, ed. Herbert A. Strauss, 2 vols. (Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1993).
[44] Herbert A. Strauss, “Introduction: Possibilities and Limits of Comparison”, Ibid. Vol. 1, 7.
[45] This research seminar was mainly funded by the Volkswagenstiftung and also by the Fritz-Thyssen-Stiftung. For a survey for the research seminar see Ulrich Wyrwa, “Anti-Semitism in Europe (1879-1914). Lines of Inquiry, Conception and Objectives of the Research Seminar at the Center for Research on Antisemitism”, Analele Universităţii BucureÅŸti. ÅžtiinÅ£e Politice,  XIII/1 (2011): 3-17.
[46] This conference was sponsored by the Volkswagenstiftung. See the conference reports, Eva-Maria Ziege, “Die Entstehung und Entwicklung des Antisemitismus als politische Bewegung im europäischen Vergleich. Ein Konferenzbericht,” Jahrbuch für Europäische Geschichte 11 (2010): 205-212; Sabine Seiffert, “Tagungsbericht: Die Entstehung und Entwicklung des Antisemitismus als politische Bewegung im europäischen Vergleich (1879-1914), 24 March 2010 - 26 March 2010, Berlin”, H-Soz-u-Kult, 19 April 2010,.
[47] Werner Bergmann, “Ethnic Riots in Situations of Loss of Control: Revolution, Civil War, and Regime Change as Opportunity Structures for Anti-Jewish Violence in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Europe”, in Control of Violence. Historical and International Perspectives on Violence in Modern Societies, eds. Wilhelm Heitmeyer, Heinz-Gerhard Haupt, Stefan Malthaner, Andrea Kirschner, (New York: Springer 2010), 487-516; Exclusionary Violence. Antisemitic Riots in Modern German History, eds. Christhard Hoffmann, Werner Bergmann, Helmut Walser Smith, (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002); on Russia, see John Doyle Klier, Russians, Jews and the Pogroms of 1881-1882 (Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011).
[48] Thomas Mergel, “Überlegungen zu einer Kulturgeschichte der Politik”, Geschichte und Gesellschaft 28 (2002): 574-606; Was heißt Kulturgeschichte des Politischen, ed. Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger, (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot), 2005; Neue Politikgeschichte. Perspektiven einer historischen Politikforschung, eds. Ute Frevert, Heinz-Gerhard Haupt, (Frankfurt/M., New York: Campus, 2005).
[49] Ideas from the linguistic turn in historical studies play a role here, see Georg G. Iggers, Geschichtswissenschaft im 20. Jahrhundert. Ein kritischer Überblick im internationalen Zusammenhang, (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1993), 87-96; Benjamin Ziemann, “‘Linguistische Wende’ und ‘Kultureller Code’ in der Geschichtsschreibung zum modernen Antisemitismus,” in Jahrbuch für Antisemitismusforschung 14 (2005): 301-322.
[50] For the importance of speech-acts in the history of Antisemitism see: Helmut Walser Smith, Continuities of German History. Nation, Religion, and Race across the Long Nineteenth Century, (Cambrigde: Cambridge University Press 2008), 245.
[51] Gabriel Almond, Sidney Verba, The Civic Culture. Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963).
[53] Lucien Wolf, “Anti-Semitism,” The Encyclopaedia Britannica. A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature, and General Information, 11th edition, vol. 2, (New York: The Encyclopaedia Britannica Company, 1910), 134-146.
[54] Edith Stern, The Glorious Victory of Truth. The Tiszaeszlár Blood Libel Trial 1882-83. A Historical Legal Medical Research, (Jerusalem: Rubin Mass., 1998).
[56] Hans-Christian Gerlach, Agitation und parlamentarische Wirksamkeit der deutschen Antisemitenparteien 1873–1895, unpublished Dissertation Thesis, Kiel 1956.
[57] Shulamit Volkov, “Antisemitism as a Cultural Code: Reflections on the History and Historiography of Antisemitism in Imperial Germany,” Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook 23 (1978): 25-46; Shulamit Volkov, Jüdisches Leben und Antisemtismus im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert, (München: C. H. Beck 1990); Shulamit Volkov, Germans, Jews, and Antisemites. Trials in Emancipation, (Cambridge et al.: Cambridge University Press 2006).
[58] Stefan Scheil, Die Entwicklung des politischen Antisemitismus in Deutschland zwischen 1891 und 1912. Eine wahlgeschichtliche Untersuchung, (Berlin: Duncker und Humblot, 1999).
[59] Till van Rahden, “Words and Actions: Rethinking the Social History of German Antisemitism—Breslau, 1870 - 1914”, German History 18 (2000): 413-438.
[60] Andrea Hopp, “Auf Stimmenfang mit dem Vorurteil: Antisemitismus im Wahlkampf,” in Regierung, Parlament und Öffentlichkeit im Zeitalter Bismarcks. Politikstile im Wandel, ed. Lothar Gall, (Paderborn, München: Ferdinand Schöningh, 2003), 263-280.
[61] Siegfried Heimann, Der Preußische Landtag 1899-1947. Eine politische Geschichte, (Berlin: Ch. Links Verlag, 2011), 347-360.
[62] Exclusionary Violence. Antisemitic Riots in Modern German History.
[63] Helmut Walser Smith, “Alltag und politischer Antisemitismus in Baden, 1890-1900,” Zeitschrift für die Geschichte des Oberrheins, 141 (1993): 280-303; James Retallack, “Conservatives and Antisemites in Baden and Saxony,” German History  17/4 (1999): 507- 526.
[64] Matthias Piefel, Antisemitismus und völkische Bewegung im Königreich Sachsen 1879-1914, (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 2004).
[65] Hansjörg Pötzsch, Antisemitismus in der Region. Antisemitische Erscheinungsformen in Sachsen, Hessen, Hessen-Nassau und Braunschweig 1870 - 1914, (Wiesbaden: Kommission für die Geschichte der Juden in Hessen, 2000).
[66] Martin Ulmer, Antisemitismus in Stuttgart 1871-1933. Studien zum öffentlichen Diskurs und Alltag, (Berlin: Metropol Verlag, 2011), Inge Schlotzhauer, Ideologie und Organisation des politischen Antisemitismus in Frankfurt am Main 1880-1914, (Frankfurt/M.: Verlag Waldemar Kramer, 1989).
[67] Olaf Blaschke, “Antikapitalismus und Antisemitismus. Die Wirtschaftsmentalität der Katholiken im Wilhelminischen Deutschland”, Shylock? Zinsverbot und Geldverleih in jüdischer und christlicher Tradition, eds. Johannes Heil, Bernd Wacker, (München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1997), 113-146; Olaf Blaschke, “‘Das Judenthum isolieren!’ Antisemitismus und Ausgrenzung in Breslau”, In Breslau zu Hause? Juden in einer mitteleuropäischen Metropole der Neuzeit, eds. Manfred Hettling, Andreas Reineke, Norbert Conrads, (Hamburg: Dölling und Galitz. 2003), 167-184.
[68] Uffa Jensen, Gebildete Doppelgänger. Bürgerliche Juden und Protestantismus im 19. Jahrhundert, (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 2005).
[69] Christoph Nonn, Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder. Gerücht, Gewalt und Antisemitismus im Kaiserreich, (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht 2002); Helmut Walser Smith, The Butcher's Tale. Murder and Anti-Semitism in a German Town, (New York: W. W. Norton, 2002).
[70] Alltagskultur des Antisemitismus im Kleinformat. Vignetten der Sammlung Wolfgang Haney ab 1880, eds. Isabel Enzenbach, Wolfgang Haney, (Berlin: Metropol Verlag, 2012). 

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