The Department Store and Its Discontents in Imperial Germany
This chapter focuses on the so-called department store boom of the 1890s, the explosive growth of this new retail form in German cities and towns. It surveys the central and conspicuous role of Jews in Germany’s consumer revolution, in the development of department stores and in the other branches of Germany’s nascent consumer culture, and charts a well-traveled trajectory in which such families as the Schockens, Tietzes, Urys, and Wronkers rose from itinerant peddlers to owners of giant emporiums in major cities. It analyzes German department stores both in international context and in contrast to existing forms of retail, and traces the emergence of the anti-department store movement, whose imagery and propaganda mobilized old anti-Semitic notions and constructed the department store as a Jewish encroachment on German territory, a parasite on the German middle classes, and an economic vampire.
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