Why was I told my mother's family were German Jews when they weren't? #austria-czech


It might be helpful to differentiate between German as a cultural descriptor and German as a political/national one.  The German Empire came into being in 1871; before then, people might identify with one of the smaller political units that merged into the Empire: Prussians, Bavarians, etc.  The Empire didn't include all ethnic or cultural Germans, with pockets of Germans living in other political units, some of them not even near the eventual German state.  Austria-Hungary had a large German component and German was the lingua franca there.  Any of these issues could account for a Jew claiming that (s)he was of "German" origin.
Yale Zussman

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