German SIG #Germany NEW BOOK CITE - Major new resource for Jewish history in northwest Germany #germany

Ralph B. Hirsch <hirsch@...>

The historical handbook of Jewish communities in Lower Saxony and Bremen
(the title and text are in German) has now been published after ten years of work
by a team of more than 50 professional historians in Germany and Israel.

This impressive two-volume reference work should become an important resource to
everyone researching the history of Jews in northwest Germany, including
genealogists. It includes an article for each of 178 cities and towns, ranging
in size >from metropolitan centers such as Bremen and Hannover to small towns and
villages that have had significant Jewish communities.

Each entry typically begins with a brief sketch of the town's historic
development, beginning with its first mention in medieval documents. It then
provides a narrative overview of the history of the town's Jews >from their first
documented appearance to the community's destruction by the Nazis, and beyond,
for those places where a new Jewish community has been established since World War
II. Among many useful features, the size of the Jewish population is shown in
comparison to the town's total population at various points in history.

Cultural, social and political aspects of Jewish life are discussed, together with
the lives of individuals and families that have made important contributions to
each aspect. Significant Jewish institutions, among them schools, associations,
synagogues, and cemeteries, are described. Each town's entry contains detailed
reference sources and cites relevant literature on the basis of which the reader
can undertake further research.

Professor Herbert Obenaus, the editor-in-chief of the project, also contributed
an introduction of some 70 pages that provides an excellent overview of Jewish
history in northwestern Germany >from the Middle Ages to the present.
The book's appendix contains a glossary of terms, lists of abbreviations and of
relevant literature, and a detailed, cross-referenced register of places.
A separate map shows the location of every city, town and village for which there
is an entry.

The German title is "Historisches Handbuch der juedischen Gemeinden in
Niedersachsen und Bremen", edited by Herbert Obenaus with David Bankier and Daniel
Fraenkel. Goettingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2005. Two volumes, hardbound, 1678 pages,
83 illustrations, ISBN 3-89244-735-5. Price, 59 Euro.

Grants >from foundations and several governmental agencies in Germany have made it
possible to set the book's price at a surprisingly modest level, keeping it within
reach of interested individuals as well as university and public libraries.
The handbook may be ordered via the publisher's website at the URL

Ralph B. Hirsch, Council on the Jewish Exile in Shanghai Celle, Germany

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