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Economic Entjudung in Nazi Europe 
tive process, as Hilberg and others have proposed. Altogether, the fea- 
tures, which express an obsession with the (assumed) riches of the Jews, 
cannot simply be explained as by-products of the exclusion process, and 
the comprehensive removal process of Jews from influence on German 
economic life cannot be understood as social exclusion only. 
Why this obsession with the (assumed) importance of the eco- 
nomic dimension of Jews, Jewry and Judaism? Adam Tooze states that 
“in general, the idea that the tiny Jewish minority had ever occupied a 
‘dominant position’ in the economy [...] should be seen for what it 
always was — an absurd anti-Semitic myth”. However, though this 
myth is absurd from the perspective of rational unbiased analysis, it was 
important and influential as a cultural construct; for the understanding 
of the Holocaust the historian has to acknowledge this importance. 
Moreover, one has to admit that the mythical belief regarding the Jews 
had peculiar characteristics even when regarded from the perspective of 
the post-World War I trend in European countries of Volkswirtschaft 
(national economy).® This mythical belief resulted from centuries-old 
antisemitic traditions which were engraved in European cultural images, 
especially in the German Kultur. Since the Middle Ages Jews had 
become stereotyped as being linked in their essence to money: extor- 
tionate usurers, powerful and deceiving merchants, greedy etc. The 1834 
German dictionary of J. H. Kaltschmidt, for instance, defined “der Jude” 
(the Jew) as “Hebrew, Israelite, haggler, usurer” (Hebrder, Israeli, 
Schacherer, Wucherer), the expression “die Judeler” as “[typically] Jew- 
ish profit seeking” (die jiidische Gewinnsuchr), and the verb “jiideln, 
juden, jiidnen” as “usury, seeking excessive (or: unduly) profit” (wuch- 
ern, übermässig Gewinn suchen).” In modern times, in the enlightened 
eighteenth century® and especially in the nineteenth century, the 
“money-Jew” was a recurring character in antisemitic discourse and car- 
icatures which reacted to the economic and social modernization 
47  Tooze, Wages of Destruction, p. 277. 
48 The many contributions on the Nazi auitude towards the Jews included in 
Kreutzmiiller/ Wildt/ Zimmermann (eds.), National Economies, prove its excep- 
tonal radicalism as compared with non-Nazi ethno-centric economic policies. See 
also: Petersen, Judenbild und Wirtschaftsleben. 
49 Kaltschmidt, Gesammt-Wérterbuch der Deutschen Sprache, p. 456. 
50 Nirenberg, Ant-Judaism, p. 345. 


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