The architecture of Jewish trade in postwar Germany: Jewish shops and shopkeepers between provisionality and permanence

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Scholarship on Jewish life in postwar Germany has consistently stressed a "provisional way of life": an attitude that minimized commitments to the surrounding German world and always left open the possibility of leaving. This article revisits the provisionality thesis from the perspective of spatial history, focusing on Munich's Möhlstrasse marketplace, a commercial district established by Eastern European Jews in the late 1940s. Spatial practices reveal shopkeepers' business and life plans and their relationship to Germany: although many shopkeepers did indeed treat their businesses as temporary ventures, some became progressively more invested in them and began to see them as semipermanent establishments rooted in the local German environment. Rather than mutually exclusive dispositions, provisionality and permanence can be fruitfully approached as two strands of a larger integration process, each with its own temporality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-133
Number of pages33
JournalJewish Social Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2017



  • Displaced persons
  • Economy
  • Germany
  • Space

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Religious studies

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