What did it mean to be perceived as Jewish or non-Jewish in Weimar Germany? How, in an age of growing antisemitism, was Jewishness revealed, or made invisible? Kerry Wallach
of Gettysburg College, explores these questions in her new book, Passing Illusions: Jewish Visibility in Weimar Germany
(University of Michigan Press, 2017). Wallach examines an array of cultural texts including film, artwork, periodicals, and fiction in order to determine the different circumstances in which individuals sought to pass as non-Jewish, openly reveal their Jewishness, or were exposed as Jewish against their will. The concepts behind this complex history of private vs. public identities, Wallach demonstrates, can be applied beyond a study of Jewishness in the Weimar era, and can also shed new light on the way that scholars consider gender and sexuality as well as racial stereotypes outside of German and Jewish contexts.
Kerry Wallach is Chair and Associate Professor of German Studies at Gettysburg College. She is also an affiliate of their Judaic Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies programs, and serves on the editorial board of Indiana University Press German-Jewish Cultures book series.
Robin Buller is a PhD Candidate in History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.