Preliminary Programme

Wed 12 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Thu 13 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Fri 14 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Sat 15 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00

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Wednesday 12 April 2023 11.00 - 13.00
M-2 ETH04 Jews, Europe, and the Business of Culture?
C24
Network: Ethnicity and Migration Chair: Maja Hultman
Organizer: Karin Hofmeester Discussant: Gideon Reuveni
Moderators: -
Laura Katarina Ekholm : How Eastern European Jewish Diaspora has Shaped the Garment Industry Sweden and Finland
This paper discusses the role of the Jewish families in the garment industry and trade in Sweden and Finland. The two neighboring countries are culturally akin. Yet while Sweden modernized its legislation and gradually removed discriminative laws in the later phase of the 19th century, the Grand duchy of Imperial ... (Show more)
This paper discusses the role of the Jewish families in the garment industry and trade in Sweden and Finland. The two neighboring countries are culturally akin. Yet while Sweden modernized its legislation and gradually removed discriminative laws in the later phase of the 19th century, the Grand duchy of Imperial Russia, had a total ban for Jews until 1917. The only exception to this rule were Jews serving the military. Despite these substantial institutional differences, interestingly, in both countries the local folklore associated the Jewish background with the garment industry. Furthermore, this Nordic version of the Eastern European Jewish Diaspora is shaped by unique continuity. The Jews in Finland, were among the very few Orthodox Jewish communities of Eastern Europe that were not destroyed in the Holocaust. Therefore, it is possible to follow the family businesses throughout the 20th century.
In both countries, some of the family businesses turned into major players in the development of the garment industry. Thereby, these two countries make a good case study for analyzing the interplay between local institutions, cultural constructs, marriages and migration. My analysis draws from family genealogies and family archives, and a database concerning garment businesses in mid-20th century Sweden and Finland. My aim is to understand to what extent Jewish marriages and cross-country migration shaped the development of the Nordic garment industry. (Show less)

Karin Hofmeester : The Amsterdam Diamond Industry, its Workers and their Trade Union: a Local, European and Global Perspective
For a long time, Amsterdam was world famous for its diamond industry. From 1870 onwards it was the city’s second industry where 29% of all Jewish working men and 10% of all working women found a job. Jewish workers affectionately called the industry The Trade. In 1894, the ... (Show more)
For a long time, Amsterdam was world famous for its diamond industry. From 1870 onwards it was the city’s second industry where 29% of all Jewish working men and 10% of all working women found a job. Jewish workers affectionately called the industry The Trade. In 1894, the Amsterdam diamond workers established the General Diamond Workers’ Union (ANDB) to protect themselves from the whims of the industry and the employers. Soon, the union would become very successful in improving the socio-economic position of its members, but also in promoting their personal enrichment with classes, courses and a library. Moreover, the ANDB organised diamond workers elsewhere in the world to achieve unit rates to avoid relocation of the industry. It helped establish the Antwerp Diamond Workers Union and later the Universal Alliance of Diamond Workers. International agreements between the various local trade unions both in and beyond Europe facilitated ‘controlled migration’ of diamond workers from one country to the other.
My paper focuses the socio-cultural effects of the industry and the union on the Jewish workers’ lives: what was its impact on their group identity and prestige, their relation with non-Jewish workers? At the same time, I will investigate how the international character of the industry and the trade shaped the workers’ perspective of their own position in the local, the European and the global diamond world. (Show less)

Trisha Oakley Kessler : Searching for Refuge and Business Renewal: Jewish Refugee Hat Industrialists and Global Trade Networks 1938-1940
This paper examines the business correspondence between hat manufacturers Bruder Böhm and their customers and colleagues following the expropriation and Aryanisation of their flagship hat factories in Vienna and Czechoslovakia (Sudetenland) in April and October 1938. It explores how dynamics of loss and agency played out during a period in ... (Show more)
This paper examines the business correspondence between hat manufacturers Bruder Böhm and their customers and colleagues following the expropriation and Aryanisation of their flagship hat factories in Vienna and Czechoslovakia (Sudetenland) in April and October 1938. It explores how dynamics of loss and agency played out during a period in which the Bruder Böhm brothers were trying to generate forms of rescue and business renewal necessary for survival. Holocaust history has tended to reduce Jewish industrialists to statistical figures of ‘economic and financial loss’ with little focus on how, in the immediate aftermath of fleeing their native lands, Jewish businessmen utilised their global networks for communicating the gravity of their situation and for accruing assets vital to finding refuge. This paper explores how colleagues, customers and trade representatives responded to the expropriation of the Bruder Böhm factories and the impact of this crisis on both the professional and personal relationships integral to this family business. In doing so, we not only gain an insight into the workings of this Jewish business and its global reach but also how the lived experience of refugee businessmen was shaped by a delicate relationship between the entrepreneurial nature of business and the reality of negotiating fractured lives with diminishing ethnic and business networks. (Show less)

Angelina Palmén : Jews, Business and Bourgeois Feminism 1890-1914: Commerce and the Making of a Cultural Moment?
The paper focuses on the relationship between commercial capitalism and European firstwave feminism through the lens of Jewish business activity in the fashion-related industries of Imperial Berlin. It construes the Berlin apparel trade as a scene of ethnic economic activity, connected with transnational Jewish phenomena. In this context, where German ... (Show more)
The paper focuses on the relationship between commercial capitalism and European firstwave feminism through the lens of Jewish business activity in the fashion-related industries of Imperial Berlin. It construes the Berlin apparel trade as a scene of ethnic economic activity, connected with transnational Jewish phenomena. In this context, where German Jews were prolific and prominent, the paper demonstrates how a symbiosis emerged with the women’s movement as it was gaining ground and transforming nineteenth- and early twentiethcentury Europe and the West. Through the industry’s own publishing channels, Berlin-Jewish clothiers and company owners disseminated material in which they branded themselves and their enterprises progressively liberal on the question of women’s rights, with a special emphasis on female professionalisation and productivity. The department store N. Israel provides a particularly potent example. Its ‘albums’ issued between 1901 and 1914 portrayed women’s advances into German society in the context of a cosmopolitan, liberal modernity, accentuating its international aspects over its national character. Through the examples explored, the paper shows how members of the Jewish commercial class became allies in a project by women to transform middle-class society and bourgeois culture, using the movement for gender equality as a way of placing Germany, Berlin – and their businesses –
on the (Eurocentric) map. (Show less)



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