The Oberkreisdirektor Decides Who Is a German: Jewish immigration, German bureaucracy, and the negotiation of national belonging, 1953-1990
Title: The Oberkreisdirektor Decides Who Is a German: Jewish immigration, German bureaucracy, and the negotiation of national belonging, 1953-1990
Author: PANAGIOTIDIS, Jannis
Citation: Geschichte und Gesellschaft, 2012, 38, 3, 503-533
The article deals with the nexus between Jewish immigration to the Federal Republic of Germany and legal definitions of German ethnicity (Volkszugehörigkeit). It claims that the recognition of Jewish immigrants as Germans was continuously negotiated between different bureaucratic and societal actors struggling over the power to define who is a German. Examining the production of national belonging in practice, it breaks open the “black box” of the often alleged “ethnocultural” and “descent-based” German perception of nationhood. The fluid boundary between “German” and “Jewish” immigrants was only fixed in 1991 with the creation of the separate category of “Jewish quota refugee.”
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