On the Margins

Jews and Muslims in Interwar Berlin


This study addresses encounters between Jews and Muslims in interwar Berlin. Living on the margins of German society, the two groups sometimes used that position to fuse visions and their personal lives. German politics set the switches for their meeting, while the urban setting of Western Berlin offered a unique contact zone. Although the meeting was largely accidental, Muslim Indian missions served as a crystallization point. Five case studies approach the protagonists and their network from a variety of perspectives. Stories surfaced testifying the multiple aid Muslims gave to Jews during Nazi persecution. Using archival materials that have not been accessed before, the study opens up a novel view on Muslims and Jews in the 20th century.

This title is available in its entirety in Open Access.
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Gerdien Jonker, Ph.D. (1993), Groningen University, is senior researcher at Erlangen University. She has written a number of publications on Muslims and Jewish encounters in the interwar period, including The Ahmadiyya Quest for Religious Progress. Missionizing Europe 1900-1965 (Brill, 2016).
List of Illustrations
Map of Muslim and Jewish Places in West Berlin


1. Crossroads
2. The Spaces in Between

3. The Hiking Club: S. M. Abdullah and the Oettinger Women
4. An Artist’s View: Lisa Oettinger Between ‘Civilizations’
5. The Sting of Desire: Hugo Marcus’s Theology of Male Friendship
6. The Rebels: Luba Derczanska and her Friends
7. An Indian Muslim in Jewish Berlin: Khwaja Abdul Hamied

Summary and Conclusion

Archival Materials, Websites, Copyrights of Images
Index of Names
General Index
All interested in border crossings, the fusing of cultures and traditions, the fertile ground which margins offer, and the shared interests between Jews and Muslims in the 20th Century.
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