The Consuming Temple: Jews, Department Stores, and the Consumer Revolution in Germany, 1880-1940

Department shops in Germany, like their predecessors in France, Britain, and the USA, generated nice pleasure after they seemed on the finish of the 19th century. Their luxurious screens, considerable items, architectural strategies, and prodigious scale encouraged frequent fascination or even awe; even as, although, many Germans additionally greeted the increase of the dept shop with massive unease. In The eating Temple, Paul Lerner explores the advanced German response to shops and the common trust that they posed hidden risks either to the members, in particular ladies, who frequented them and to the kingdom as a whole.

Drawing on fiction, political propaganda, advertisement files, visible tradition, and financial writings, Lerner offers a number of views at the division shop, putting it in architectural, gender-historical, advertisement, and psychiatric contexts. Noting that Jewish marketers based so much German shops, he argues that Jews and “Jewishness” stood on the heart of the shopper tradition debate from the Eighties, while the shops first seemed, throughout the latter Thirties, once they have been “Aryanized” through the Nazis. German responses to customer tradition and the Jewish query have been deeply interwoven, and the “Jewish division store,” framed instead and dangerous secular temple, a shrine to trade and greed, was once held liable for primary adjustments that reworked city adventure and challenged nationwide traditions in Germany’s turbulent 20th century.

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This can be the fl ip aspect of the unbelievable eating temple, and those tensions run during the 5 chapters of this exploration. From the dep. shop growth of the early Nineties via Nazi-coordinated violence within the Thirties, the powerful and conspicuous presence of Jews in Germany’s smooth advertisement financial system brought on a number of responses from basic excitement via a collective unease that expressed itself in morbid, supernatural imagery and—both fantasized and real—acts of destruction. 1 Jerusalem's Terrain the dep. shop and Its Discontents in Imperial Germany The German division shop had survived the formative years maladies of its early years. It used to be now not regarded as on par with rummage bazaars and scam joints within the public brain; it had completed status and the belief of its shoppers. for giant retail at the moment the probabilities have been approximately unending. . . . division shop after division shop has arisen some time past few years, yet even more destructive than this pageant has been the vilification and agitation by means of the vendors of strong point outlets. . . . All in all it's been an excessive time, a interval of frenzied development and at the same time of fight, of self-defense and hard-fought good fortune. —Margarete Böhme (1910) to discuss the dept shop query and never to stress that Jews are the vital vendors of the dept shop concept will be simply as silly as though anyone have been lecturing approximately cholera and didn't desire to point out the comma bacillus. —Emil Suchsland (1904) “ D epartment shop fever is raging in all cities,” saw Leo Colze in a 1908 ebook at the Berlin department shops. 1 “If anyone thinks he has chanced on a nook anyplace that turns out appropriate for a brand new division shop building,” Colze endured, “he instantly attempts to drum up curiosity within the undertaking between traders. ” Colze used to be writing on the height of a veritable growth in German division shop development, the approximately fifteen-year interval from the tip of the 19th century till the start of global warfare I. In those years new retail structures have been emerging at a frantic speed, swiftly growing new fortunes in addition to the occasional bust. Like many different commentators during this interval, Colze marveled on the swift unfold of latest shops and the big dimension and scale of recent shop structures, advancements that he greeted with loads of pleasure and a few degree of outrage. Even a extra dispassionate observer like Käthe Lux, the writer of a scholarly examine of the dep. shop phenomenon in 1910, couldn't yet be aware how sensational shops had turn into: “These tremendous enterprises,” she wrote, “arouse public curiosity within the massive towns every day. this can be specifically the case for ladies who stick with their bulletins within the morning 21 22 | bankruptcy 1 papers with the main excited cognizance. ”2 This sensationalism used to be captured in a 1912 musical revue known as Chauffeur ins Metropol! (Chauffeur into the metropolis), one among dozens of theatrical, literary, and cinematic representations of the dept shop from this era.

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