The Population History of German Jewry 1815–1939 by Steven Mark Lowenstein
Based on the Collections and Preliminary Research of Prof. Usiel Oscar Schmelz
Editors: David N. Myers, Michael Berenbaum
The late Steven Lowenstein was a brilliant social historian who, after retiring from his academic position at the University of Judaism, toiled for years—and up to his final days—to complete this monumental book, which is the definitive demographic history of German Jewry. Lowenstein took the research of Hebrew University demographer Professor Osiel Oscar Schmetz and brought it to life in the daily lived experiences of German Jews.
The book is organized chronologically from Napoleon to German Unification (1815-1871), Imperial Germany and then the post- World War I era through the Nazi period. Later chapters are regional and topical studies.
Lowenstein’s calling as a social historian required him to examines “every leaf on every tree in the forest;” but he never lost sight of the trees and the forest – larger context.
We know the ending of the story of German Jewry. Lowenstein’s great achievement is to document the extraordinary demographic resources that bespoke a vibrant German Jewish culture—and made that ending especially tragic.
Year first published: 2023