Social pedagogy in motion. German Jewish academics in the transnational development of social pedagogy at the beginning of the 20th century
This international and interdisciplinary working group aims at exploring the impact of German Jewish scholarship on the development of social pedagogy as a transnationally emerging academic discipline. From the late 19th Century onwards, German Jews contributed, amongst others, to the academic development of the social sciences. Against the background of ongoing persecution in the centuries before, German Jewish scholarship on (social) pedagogy oscillates between contributing to social pedagogy as a global and universal profession and social pedagogy as a founding principle of a Zionist endeavor. Specifically, the working group seeks to unfold the international connections of German Jewish scholars in Weimar republic, to clarify the crucial role of the Central Welfare Bureau of the German Jews in the transnational development of social pedagogy, to display the ambivalences within German Jewish scholarships, and to reveal the contribution of professional women in the Zionist project.
Presentations of the Symposium
German Jewish social workers between social case work, social pedagogy and individual psychology.
Social work in Germany arose in the first third of the 20th century in an interplay of various forces: moving actors, shifting transnational networks and disparate scientific, religious and sociostructural framings were some of the significant factors. The paper takes as its starting point the cases of selected german-jewish social workers and explores, how their affiliation to transnational movements and networks, their scientific and professional ambitions and the developement of social work in the context of nation-building interacted as a complex orientation framework. As the examples of Siddy Wronsky, Alice Salomon and others suggest, basic assumptions of social case work, social pedagogy and individual psychology were significant references, which lead to a unique construction of knowledge on social work and social pedagogy. These references from the US, UK and other European countries were taken up by German-Jewish social workers and emerged in concepts that are shaped by specific constellations and networks. These moving constellations will be focussed in our presentation. The analysis refers on (auto)biographical texts, professional writings and unpublished material (correspondences, curricula and teaching material).
The Central Welfare Bureau for German Jews (Zentralwohlfahrtsstelle der Juden in Deutschland ZWST) as a transnational knowledge hub.
The paper presents an analysis of the ZWST's point of view concerning the development and the problems of social work projects in Palestine. Based on a systematic review of articles in 'Jüdische Wohlfahrtspflege und Sozialpolitik' discussing the situation of certain target groups, but also the structural and methodological questions of social welfare under the rather complicated conditions in Palestine, the paper presents how the ZWST authors are presenting and interpreting these issues for a German Jewish community. These presentations and interpretations can be seen as transnational translations which reveal the specific stance of German-Jewish towards the emergence of a new Jewish (welfare) state in Palestine under the British Mandate.
Between universal and national 'social therapy': Professional interventions by Jewish social workers in Mandatory Palestine
Social work historiography in Israel, dating back to the Hebrew Community in mandatory Palestine, is an interesting case study which left behind many important and influential women, who contributed to the nation building by using the Jewish-German social work philosophy they absorbed and developed (Gillerman, 2009). Even though they were granted key roles in the social services and institutions of the time, they are hardly mentioned in the history of the profession, neither in the history of Israel nor the history of modern German Jewry.
How, and if, were these traditions transformed and reshaped by those female pioneers, in light of the new born Hebrew society influenced by massive immigration, cultural tension and the ideological-national mission? Some studies argued that Jewish social workers in Palestine served as patronizing agents in the name of a universal, central European profession (Doron, 2004; Bernstein, 2008; Razi, 2009). We argue that this is only one side of the story and would like to uncover the intricacy and variety of attitudes and world views among those women. By this, the paper explores the process of forming a social work doctrine among women, considering their past in Europe, their present a of activity from the 1930's onwards in Palestine, and their expectations regarding the future of the nation, soon to become Israel.
Disillusion in "this pseudo-socialist state": The story of Eva Danelius and other new Jewish women in Palestine and Israel
Jewish women entered professions in the late 19th century that had excluded them on grounds of gender and ethnicity. Thus they became “new women” even if they remained in the female sphere as they played a leading role in the professional restructuring of Jewish society. Unlike female students they suffered less from Anti-Semitism and misogyny and they could make a living – in particular after their emigration because it was easier for them to find employment than was the case for academics. The paper analyzes the experiences of these new Jewish women in Palestine who were active in either education, social work, domestic science or played a significant part in the Zionist colonisation project through professional restructuring. The paper will also focus on the disillusions of these "pioneer" women with the system and analyse the frictions with other new women and the Zionist leadership.