Bart Wallet

Sociology played a major role in the reconstruction of European Jewry after 1945. It offered a putatively objective language, enabling Jews of different religious and political leanings to collaborate. With Jewish communities having been devastated by the war, policy makers now sought quantitative data regarding composition, orientation, and the needs of these populations. Through institutions, journals and conferences, American Jewish theories, and models were transferred to Europe, but were channelled for a distinct function. Demographic research and Jewish community centres were developed with the goal of locating and attracting ‘marginal Jews’ so as to reconnect them to community life. Jewish sociology in post-war Europe was part of a major effort towards reconstruction of Jewish communities; this effort was based on scientific methods and aimed at ‘saving’ all remaining Jews for the greater Jewish cause.

Bart Wallet and Herman Paul

Abstract

This essay is a first exploration of nineteenth-century Dutch Protestant memory culture. Using Reformation commemorations as our case study, we show that the appropriation of Luther and Calvin for group identity purposes underwent a twofold transition in the century between 1817 and 1917. Whereas the unity of Dutch Protestantism was a dominant theme during the first decades of the nineteenth century, the Reformation became increasingly used as an instrument for justifying subgroup identities. Simultaneously, a past-oriented discourse (the Reformation as “origin”) was gradually abandoned in favour of a future-oriented discourse (Reformation “principles” that ought to be obeyed and applied). This, we argue, distinguished Dutch Protestant memory culture both from national commemorative discourse and from Protestant memory cultures abroad.