The subjects of this project are Yiddish-speaking migrants in the urban microcosm of Berlin. Yiddish was spoken and written mainly by the “common people” from Poland, Galicia, and Rumania as well as within the Jewish labor movement. The center of Yiddish Berlin was the so-called Scheunenviertel in the Spandauer Vorstadt.
Proceeding from an approach that emphasizes the lifeworld, we will study migrants as social actors, the majority of whom did not belong to the bourgeois privileged classes. Everyday life, networks, and interrelationships form the focus of investigation.
The research project seeks to contribute to the cultural history of twentieth-century migration and to the study of Berlin’s role as a center of migration. The research will take into account the migrants’ transnational connections as well as their roles as mediators between East and West, and present a differentiated picture of the complex relationships between Eastern and Western European Jews.