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Jews, Statelessness, and Dreams of Belonging in Germany after the Holocaust

Dorit & Gerald Paul Lectures for the Study of Germans & Jews by

Miriam Rürup, Institut für die Geschichte der deutschen Juden, Universität Hamburg

Sunday, April 02, 2017
Arthur M. Glick Jewish Community Center
6701 Hoover Road, Indianapolis
7:30 pm

After 1945 the future of Jews in Germany was uncertain. In addition to those Jews who had been expatriated by the National Socialists and were thus rendered stateless, some 10.000 of the Jewish Displaced Persons (DPs) living in Germany remained stateless. These DPs were defined as homeless, stateless foreigners under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees. While the “right to have a nationality” was part of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the question of how to deal with stateless people remained unsolved.

Different and partly contradictory concepts of how to overcome statelessness were on the early postwar agenda and will be discussed in the lecture. Those concepts included practices of forced repatriation in the early postwar months as well as the Zionist idea of a return to the "homeland", but also brought about ideas of universal belonging such as World Citizenship. Discussions on that topic took place on a variety of levels: in the legal sphere, amongst scholars and in the cultural field such as in movies and novels. I will ask how the experience of statelessness and thus the loss of a “right to have rights” (Hannah Arendt) led to changing perceptions of “national” or “collective” belonging and finally to the establishment of the human rights system. This made the classification as “stateless” worth achieving, because it protected the individual from “repatriation” against his or her own will.

Dr. Rürup will also give a lecture titled "Imagining Remigration and Return: Translating Experience and Utopia into Film in Postwar Germany" on the Bloomington campus on Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 5:30 pm in the IMU Oak Room.




This event is free and open to the public. If you have a disability and need assistance, arrangements can be made to accommodate most needs. Please contact