Supported by ego-documents and official records from archives in Europe, Israel, and the United States, my paper examines how fighting in World War I shaped the self-identities and habitus of the German-Jewish “front generation,” paying particular attention to their responses to National Socialism after 1933. What were the central values of Jewish veterans of World War I? How did antisemitism and persecution change the way veterans saw themselves as men? Under which conditions were they able to preserve their masculine honor? What do their behaviors tell us about soldiering, gender, war and identity? A study of German-Jewish war veterans has broader implications, and throws light on how minority groups embraced the ideals of hegemonic masculinity as a means to overturn racist or gendered stereotypes and claim greater inclusion in the national body.
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