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Germans into JewsRemaking the Jewish Social Body in the Weimar Republic$
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Sharon Gillerman

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804757119

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804757119.001.0001

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Trauma and Transference: War Orphans Shape a New Jewish Nation

Trauma and Transference: War Orphans Shape a New Jewish Nation

(p.136) Five Trauma and Transference: War Orphans Shape a New Jewish Nation
Germans into Jews
Stanford University Press

This chapter focuses on several youth-welfare experiments that were designed to transform a traumatized orphan population into the cadre of a new Jewish nation. In contrast to the goals of correctional education, which aimed to make “endangered youths” into useful members of German, middle-class society, the programs discussed sought to transform Jewish society itself. Jewish educators, most significantly Siegfried Bernfeld and Siegfried Lehmann, consciously positioned themselves outside the rubric of the Jewish communal welfare establishment, and were deeply influenced by the youth movement and a radical spirit of communitarianism. Employing psychoanalysis as a means to heal the psyches of troubled Jewish youth, these educators believed that the absence of emotional bonds to the family would allow orphans to fix their emotional attachments more powerfully to the Jewish Volksgemeinschaft. At the heart of these programs was the goal of socializing young Jews, in settings outside their families, in the service of the Jewish collectivity.

Keywords:   youth-welfare programs, Jewish youth, war orphans, Jewish society, Siegfried Bernfeld, Siegfried Lehmann, communitarianism, socialization

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