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The Consuming TempleJews, Department Stores, and the Consumer Revolution in Germany, 1880-1940$
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Paul Lerner

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452864

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452864.001.0001

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Jerusalem’s Terrain

Jerusalem’s Terrain

The Department Store and Its Discontents in Imperial Germany

Chapter:
(p.21) 1 Jerusalem’s Terrain
Source:
The Consuming Temple
Author(s):

Paul Lerner

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801452864.003.0002

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.

Keywords:   department stores, Germany, Jews, consumer revolution, consumer culture, retail, anti-Semitism

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