Ex-Soviet Jews in Germany: Migration as a means of restitution?

Over 250,000 Jews from the former Soviet Union have migrated to Germany since 1990. This migration, which was initially set in motion by East Germany and then continued by the Federal Republic, has caused a fundamental change in the composition of Germany’s Jewish population. But, since the migration was ended in 2005, scholars have increasingly turned their attention to the motivations that instigated it. This paper will explore the discourse used by German politicians in the 1990s surrounding this group of immigrants. How were terms relating to German-Jewish history deployed in order to determine the ‘identity expectations’ for this cohort? Finally, the paper will consider the obstacles scholars face when researching this topic, particularly surrounding access to official documents.

Joseph Cronin studies modern German and Jewish history. He has written on a range of topics, but has an enduring interest in the relationship between language, migration and social policy in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. He is Director of the Leo Baeck Institute London and lectures at Birkbeck, University of London.

Family travelling between Dallas and Austin, Texas. On their way to the Arkansas cotton fields. 1936

Presenter: Dr Joseph Cronin

Wednesday, 21 February 2024 at 5pm