Multiple “Yekkish” Masculinities: A Transnational Comparison between Canada and Palestine after 1933

Friday, January 5, 2018: 2:10 PM
Columbia 1 (Washington Hilton)
Patrick Farges, Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle
In the shadow of the Holocaust, emigration proved a life-saving option for Jews seeking to leave Nazi Europe. German-speaking Jewish refugees were disseminated in a number of countries, where they grew new roots. German-speaking Jews became known as ‘Yekkes,’ a term that connotes cultural difference, formal stiffness, as well as a social and gendered ‘habitus.’ The migration process deeply affected life-projections, gendered roles within families, and gendered performances of Jewish masculinity. The present paper, which is based on life narratives and oral history interviews, proposes a transnational comparison between two very different destinations in the 1930s: Canada and Mandate Palestine/Israel. Whereas Canada did not welcome Jewish refugees, considering them ‘non-preferred immigrants’ and ‘enemy aliens’ to be interned, an emigration to ‘Eretz Israel’ meant that one had to conform to Zionist injunctions. This had numerous implications on available masculinity options in and after migration: How did German-speaking Jews negotiate competing and overlapping multiple masculinities within the ‘Yekkish’ diaspora?
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