Immediately after the Holocaust, it seemed inconceivable that a Jewish community would rebuild in Germany. What was once unimaginable has now come to pass: Germany is home to one of Europe's most vibrant Jewish communities, and it has the fastest growing Jewish immigrant population of any country in the world outside Israel. By sharing the life stories of members of one Jewish family-the Kalmans-Y. Michal Bodemann provides an intimate look at what it is like to live as a Jew in Germany today. Having survived concentration camps in Poland, four Kalman siblings-three brothers and a sister-were left stranded in Germany after the war. They built new lives and a major enterprise; they each married and had children. Over the past fifteen years Bodemann conducted extensive interviews with the Kalmans, mostly with the survivors' ten children, who were born between 1948 and 1964. In these oral histories, he shares their thoughts on Judaism, work, family, and community. Staying in Germany is not a given; four of the ten cousins live in Israel and the United States.Among the Kalman cousins are an art gallery owner, a body builder, a radio personality, a former chief financial officer of a prominent U.S. bank, and a sculptor. They discuss Zionism, anti-Semitism, what it means to root for the German soccer team, Schindler's List, money, success, marriage and intermarriage, and family history. They reveal their different levels of engagement with Judaism and involvement with local Jewish communities. Kalman is a pseudonym, and their anonymity allows the family members to talk with passion and candor about their relationships and their lives as Jews.
Y. Michal Bodemann is Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Out of the Ashes: The Vicissitudes of the New German Jewry and the editor of Jews, Germans, Memory: Reconstructions of Jewish Life in Germany.
Acknowledgments xi Introduction: Contemporary German Jewish Life through One Family 1 Prologue: Rita Volkov, Great Aunt in Toronto 37 Part 1. Albert's Family Berthold and His Father 45 Working in the Kalmans' Firm 71 Berthold in His Life 79 Eva, Swiss Mentality, Polish Company 91 Ronnie, in and out of His Father's Shadow 108 Salek, Nordau's Jew 119 Esther, the Zionist Pioneer in Our Family 132 Gabriel, Postmodern Jew 156 Part 2. Ignaz and Dina Ignaz, Dina's Father 179 Dina, from Germany to Israel and Back 187 Johannes Rautenstrauch, A Goy in the House 218 Part 3. Jerry Guterman Jerry and the Fossils 233 Part 4. Jurek's Family Jurek, Benjamin and His Brothers 249 Jonny, a Career in Israel 256 Lilian, Staying at Home 261 Motti, the Sculptor-Rememberer 268 Glossary 279