Books

How Jews Became Germans: The History of Conversion and Assimilation in Berlin

(New Haven and London: Yale University Press, November 2007). Paperback edition January 2009; German edition Wie Juden Deutsch Wurden: Die Welt jüdischer Konvertiten vom 17. bis zum 19. Jahrhundert, translated by Thomas Bertrand. Frankfurt am Main and New York: Campus Verlag, August 2010.

Book Reviews from the Yale University Press Website

Additional Review

Hertz, fully appreciating the import of individual accounts, generalizes cautiously and rationally...” —Peter Gay, Moment Magazine Full Review »

Jewish High Society in Old Regime Berlin

(New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1988). The translated hardback edition of the book is Die jüdische Salons im alten Berlin (Frankfurt/M.: Anton Hain, l991). A paperback edition was published by the Deutsche Taschenbuch Verlag (Munich, 1995). The Philo Verlag has published three editions of the German paperback since 1998 and the German hardback remains in print. A total of 10,000 copies of the book have been sold in Germany. A paperback edition in English appeared with Syracuse University Press in 2005, with a preface summarizing new research in the field.

Book Reviews from the Yale University Press Website

Additional Reviews

...the astonishing thing about this highly professional monograph is that no one has done it before.” —Peter Gay, London Review of Books Full Review »

Deborah Hertz, an American historian, has explored in the most exhaustive social history of the Berlin salons, how [the salon episode] appeared and why it ended so suddenly.” —Von Krüger, Karl Heinz, Der Spiegel Full Review »

A definitive examination of upper-class Jews in Berlin during the latter half of the 1700s and the first half of the 1800s. Focusing especially upon the salons and those who attended them. Jewish High Society in the Old Regime Berlin draws upon statistics, anecdotes, historical references, and biographies, and is illustrated with occasional black-and-white diagrams or photographs. Evenhandedly examining the lives of both men and women, [the book] is smoothly written and highly readable to historians and lay people alike.” —Bookwatch

[Hertz’s] social history of the Jewish salons in old Berlin is an exhaustive book, and it is even more: it is a consummate book.” —Dieter David Scholz, Frankfurter Rundschau

With exhaustive background knowledge and explanatory illustrations, Deborah Hertz shows how an all-too-fleeting hour of stardom for women appeared in the shadows of political upheavals.” —Michaela Kirchner, Darmstädter Echo

Briefe an eine Freundin: Rahel Varnhagen an Rebecca Friedländer (Critical Edition, with an Introduction)

(Cologne: Kiepenheuer and Witsch, 1988). This volume includes original letters written by the Rahel Levin Varnhagen, the salon host in Berlin, to her friend Rebecca Friedlaender, composed in the early years of the nineteenth century. Among the topics raised in the letters are their social relationships with contemporary intellectuals, the importance of conversion to Christianity, and the particular challenges of Prussia’s situation in the Napoleonic Wars. The letters were once thought to be lost, but were discovered by Hertz at the Jagiellonian Library in Crakow, Poland, in the nineteen seventies.

Forthcoming Articles

  • “Henriette Herz as Jew, Henriette Herz as Christian: Relationships, Conversion, Antisemitism” in Die Kommunikations-, Wissens- und Handlungsraeume der Henriette Herz (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 2017)
  • “Love, Money and Career in the Life of Rosa Luxemburg” in Three-Way Street: German Jews and the Transnational (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2016)
  • “Manya Shochat and her Travelling Guns: Violent Jewish Women from Pogrom Self-Defense to the First Kibbutzim,” forthcoming in a Jews and Leftist Politics from the Nineteenth Century to the Present, a collection of papers presented at the 2012 conference at the Center of Jewish History in New York City, edited by Professor Jack Jacobs, to be published by Cambridge University Press.
  • “Judaism in Germany 1650–1815,” forthcoming in the Cambridge History of Judaism Volume 7 (Cambridge England: Cambridge University Press, 2016), volume edited by Adam Sutcliffe and Jonathan Karp.

Recently Published Articles

  • “Dangerous Politics, Dangerous Liaisons: Love and Terror Among Jewish Women Radicals in Czarist Russia,” in Histoire, Economie et Société (Volume 33, Number 4, 2014).
  • Digi-Baeck: Five Hundred Years of German-Jewish History Online. Transcript of a one-day conference in which I was a participant in the Leo Baeck Institute Memorial Lecture 55 (New York and Berlin, 2012).
  • “Family Love and Public Judaism: The Conversion Problematic in Nineteenth Century Germany,” in a museum catalogue edited by Dr. Hanno Loewy, entitled Treten Sie ein! Treten Sie aus! Konversionen (Jüdische Museum Hohenhems, Germany, October 2012).
  • “The Red Countess Helene von Racowitza: From the Edict of Emancipation in 1812 to Suicide in 1912,” in Irene Diekmann, ed., Das Emanzipationsekikt von 1812 in Preuβen, Europäischjüdische Studien, Beitrag 15 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2013), the proceedings of a conference on the 200th Anniversary of the Edict of Emancipation sponsored by the Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum at the University of Potsdam.

Publications about My Work

  • Heinz Karl Krueger, “Die Rebellion der Töchter” (based on the translated edition of my Jewish High Society) in Der Spiegel (March 25, 1991).
  • A translation of the Der Spiegel article appeared in the weekly edition of the Israeli newspaper Ha-Aretz (Volume 72/21796; March 31–April 4, 1991).

View Full Curriculum Vitae