On the "Myth of the German-Jewish Dialogue": Scholem and Benjamin


Alexander Gelley

University of California--Irvine

Copyright © 1999 by Alexander Gelley, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of U.S. Copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that the editors are notified and no fee is charged for access. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.

  1. It is not surprising that modern German-Jewish cultural history has attracted an abundance of scholarly work in recent years. Here were two cultural traditions that had evolved over centuries and come to a high level of sophistication and self-awareness by the end of the nineteenth century. Many of the leading figures in the arts and other intellectual spheres born at this time were Jews who worked within a German linguistic and cultural context. In spite of the emergence of a new, virulent type of anti-Semitism in Germany and Austria at the end of the nineteenth century, the powerful trends of emancipation and assimilation throughout Europe had resulted in the entry of a large number of Jews into the professions and intellectual careers. The emergence of Zionism in this period brought a new type of quasi-secular self-consciousness into Jewish circles, and, coming largely from eastern Europe, it served both to intensify and trouble the newfound status of the Jewish middle-class in central and western Europe. While German Jews were thus drawn to new, hitherto unavailable opportunities, they were also forced to come to terms with heterogeneous, often conflicting cultural models.[1] This phenomenon has been extensively studied at a collective level, in historical and sociological terms, but for artists and thinkers the issue of national and religious identity cannot be treated adequately at a collective level since it is so closely tied to an individual's most deep-seated creative and intellectual processes.

  2. Walter Benjamin's link to Judaism is generally acknowledged as fundamental to his work, but it is by no means clear how to engage this issue. As I have suggested above, "Judaism" cannot be assigned a consistent or unitary sense in the context of modern European intellectual history. Any study of this field necessarily involves distinct, often competing, claims based on cultural, religious, or political considerations. In the case of Benjamin other factors complicate the picture, one of which is the role that his friend Gershom Scholem played, both as a kind of alter ego for Benjamin's religious consciousness during the latter's lifetime and as a custodian of his reputation afterward. It is from the vantage of this double role on the part of Scholem that I want to approach, in a somewhat oblique manner, the issue of Benjamin's Judaism.

  3. "The Jewish side [das Jüdische] goes without saying," the young Benjamin wrote in 1912 to a correspondent who had challenged him to define his Jewish side. This retort on Benjamin's part (to which I will return) is more evasive than defining. He was later to be challenged in a comparable manner by Scholem, and though a tactic of evasion on Benjamin's part remains, the issue of just what constitutes the Jewish side takes on ever greater urgency and complexity in later years.

  4. Benjamin, as we know, spent the last years of his life in exile in Paris, and committed suicide in 1940 as he attempted to flee France across the Spanish border. It is noteworthy that even during those years of exile after 1933, as he saw his native Germany come increasingly under the sway of the Nazi regime, he continued working on a collection of letters by diverse individuals called Deutsche Menschen, a work that created a kind of textual gallery meant to exemplify the spirit of bourgeois humanism from the end of the 18th to the end of the 19th centuries. Benjamin's aim in this book may be deduced from the title--to evoke, in that dark moment in Germany's history, what Germanity ("Deutschtum") once was, and what kind of men were once designated in a positive sense as "Deutsche Menschen."

  5. Scholem, five years younger than Benjamin, came from the same milieu as his friend, that of a prosperous bourgeois, highly assimilated household.[2] Already as a teen-ager, he allied himself with the Jung Juda, a radical, activist Zionist group of high school students who, as a historian of the movement writes, refused "to conform to the conventional Zionism of the time . . . in their serious study of Hebrew and in their commitment to the spiritual heritage of the Jewish people. They were taught modern Hebrew by Palestinian students . . . [and, when] fifteen or sixteen years old, Scholem and three of his friends took part in the Talmud lessons of Rabbi Bleichrode and in other Jewish studies . . . ." (Weiner 30)

  6. Scholem demonstrated his independence of mind in a double sense: first by rejecting the hollow assimilationist culture of his family and then, at the end of the high-school period, by refusing to follow his fellow Jung Juda members into the more nationalist and politically oriented Zionism of the Blau-Weiss movement, but instead pursuing studies in Hebrew and Talmud without, however, being motivated by a turn to orthodox observance. He emigrated to Palestine in 1923 and eventually pioneered a new type of research of Jewish theological, and especially mystical, traditions. This approach, virtually created by Scholem, applied the methods of modern, objective scholarship to writings which had been treated by observant Jews as holy and esoteric. Yet Scholem's motivation was far removed from an Enlightenment impulse of exposure and rationalist simplification. He was strongly conscious of contributing to the recovery and preservation of an endangered cultural remnant. His achievement as a scholar and philosopher of theology has, of course, given him an eminence quite independent of his friendship with Benjamin.

  7. In the period after the war Scholem, like other Jews of German origin, felt impelled to reflect on the enigma of the German-Jewish phenomenon: the fact that after more than a century of apparent rapprochement, a period when a large number of Jews had been apparently absorbed within German society and thought themselves securely established, the Shoah could occur. His judgment was unequivocal. It is summed up in the title of an open letter written in 1964 to the editor of a Festschrift for Margarete Susman. This editor had requested a contribution from Scholem for the volume, which he described "not only as homage but also as a testimony to a German-Jewish dialogue, the core of which is indestructible." This phrase, surely a cliché at the time that was probably intended to give expression to a new phase of German self-understanding and reconciliation after the war, clearly struck a nerve in Scholem, and he titled his contribution, "Against the Myth of the German-Jewish Dialogue." Let me quote the gist of the argument:
    I deny that there has ever been such a German-Jewish dialogue in any genuine sense whatsoever, i.e., as a historical phenomenon. It takes two to have a dialogue. . . . Nothing can be more misleading than to apply such a concept to the discussions between Germans and Jews during the last 200 years. . . . To be sure, the Jews attempted a dialogue with the Germans, starting from all possible points of view and situations, demandingly, imploringly, and entreatingly, servile and defiant . . . and today, when the symphony is over, the time may be ripe for studying their motifs and for attempting a critique of their tones. (61)
    Scholem reiterates this position in other essays and interviews, and also in his second memoir, From Berlin to Jerusalem, Memories of My Youth. Here he underscores the element of self-deception that characterized not only the Jews who remained in Germany too long to escape in the 30s but, reaching back far earlier, also the assimilated intelligentsia of the Wilhelminian era through the Weimar Republic. There is nothing surprising or uncommon in this judgment, and certainly Scholem, whose resistance to the ethos of German-Jewish "Kulturbürgertum" began in his teens, had every right to express it. But it is noteworthy that he never uses Walter Benjamin as an instance of a Jew who was deluded regarding a German-Jewish symbiosis. Nor, in his extensive writings about Benjamin does he, to my knowledge, speculate at any length, much less express any judgment, regarding Benjamin's complex and divided loyalties in matters of nationality and religion.

  8. This is not to say that he never addressed the issue, for he did so in letters and, as he recounts in the memoirs, repeatedly in their conversation. But his personal position vis-à-vis Benjamin clearly involved quite different presuppositions than those he assumed in his later life. In the period of his friendship with Benjamin (1915-1940) he had to do with an individual whom he found so complex and overpowering that ultimate grounds of belief could not be broached. This attitude survives, in a sense, even after the war, when Benjamin is dead and Scholem pursues the demanding task of preserving his oeuvre and his memory. This is all understandable and admirable, but it gives one pause, nonetheless, to read Scholem's outspoken condemnation of those who, in the pre-Nazi period, had assumed a kind of spiritual or intellectual brotherhood between Germans and Jews and yet never include Benjamin in this category. If we were to ask where Benjamin stood on this issue we would be unable to find an unequivocal answer. Benjamin's thinking does not lend itself to determinate positions for or against. Nonetheless, this is a topic that deserves further treatment, both in the context of Benjamin's thought and as an instance of a cultural-historical problematic.[3]

  9. In the spring of 1928 Benjamin, in a letter to Scholem, announced an imminent visit to Palestine, a visit that was repeatedly postponed until, finally, in January, 1930, Benjamin effectively abandons the Palestine trip as well as any further effort to learn Hebrew. However, as if in recompense, and writing to Scholem from Paris in French, he develops at length his ambitions regarding his future career:
    Le but que je m'avais proposé n'est pas encore pleinement réalisé, mais, enfin, j'y touche d'assez près. C'est d'être considéré comme le premier critique de la littérature allemande. (Briefe 2: 505)
  10. The episode of Benjamin's unrealized intention to visit Palestine is not untypical of a life that is full of abortive plans and unfulfilled expectations. Yet Benjamin's non-visit to Palestine in the late 20s interests us not only as an episode in the disordered life of a brilliant thinker but also as a characteristic gesture of an assimilated Jewish intellectual of the period who ventures a trial of his Jewishness by making contact with the native soil of his people.

  11. We know that at this moment in his life Benjamin was actuated not by any Zionist aspirations but by the very concrete and practical aim of establishing an academic career after such a path had been denied him in Germany; and further, that it was his intimate friend Scholem who had set this plan in motion by introducing Benjamin to Judah Magnes, the chancellor of the Hebrew University, during a visit to Paris in the summer of 1927. The account of that meeting and of the subsequent contacts and negotiations regarding Benjamin's possible appointment to the Hebrew University are given in detail in Scholem's Walter Benjamin, The Story of a Friendship. Magnes fully supported the idea of Benjamin's appointment and, in due course, arranged that Benjamin would be paid a stipend. Initially this was intended to finance a trial stay of a year in Israel during which Benjamin would devote himself to the study of Hebrew. The grant was in fact advanced to Benjamin in 1928 but its only use for the purpose intended involved a few Hebrew lessons that Benjamin took in Berlin during the summer of 1929 (Briefe 2: 494). Benjamin never returned the money, which is perhaps not surprising in view of his precarious financial situation following a disastrous divorce proceeding. Scholem, needless to say, had to bear considerable disappointment, not to mention embarrassment in his own circles in Jerusalem, though fortunately this resulted in no break with Benjamin.

  12. From the retrospect of nearly half a century (Scholem is writing in 1975) Scholem provides a measured assessment of Benjamin's motives and state of mind:
    After all these years I am by no means unaware of the fact that in this project and in Benjamin's conduct more complex motives were at work. There was a genuine, I would say utopian, vision through which he himself believed in these plans, because in those years he still could meaningfully imagine the theological categories of Judaism as the vanishing point of his thinking. . . . On the other hand, there was much self-deception in his insistence that he had exhausted his European possibilities. . . . (Walter Benjamin 149)[4]
  13. It would be useful at this point to review some of the stages of their early association. Scholem was 17 and Benjamin, 23, when they met in 1915. They maintained close personal contact until September, 1923, when Scholem emigrated to Palestine, and from then on there were only two personal meetings, during visits by Scholem to Europe. But their friendship continued through the medium of a correspondence which may be ranked among one of the major intellectual dialogues of this century.

  14. Benjamin's decision to pursue a friendship with Scholem in 1915--and it was unquestionably a considered decision--marked an epoch in his own life. Certain developments of the previous years help to explain it. For some years Benjamin had been attached to Fritz Heinle, a poet and a Gentile, in a kind of spiritual brotherhood in which homoerotic and ethical impulses were equally present--a friendship for which the George circle may have provided a model. Heinle, together with a young woman friend, committed suicide in 1914, partly in despair over the war fever that was rampant in Germany at the time.

  15. Further, in 1912, under the impetus of a much-debated essay by Moritz Goldstein, "German-Jewish Parnassus," Benjamin began a brief but intense correspondence with Ludwig Strauß who appears to have sought Benjamin's participation in a new journal devoted to Jewish intellectual life in Germany.[5] Strauß was later to gain a reputation as a poet in Israel and he also became Martin Buber's son-in-law. Benjamin resisted Strauß's attempt to enlist him in that project of cultural Zionism, but in a series of closely reasoned letters Benjamin was led, probably for the first time in his life, to reflect critically on his position as a Jew. In a manner that was to prove characteristic, Benjamin laid claim to a solidarity with Judaism, but a solidarity that should in no way inhibit his adherence to positions quite outside the orbit of Jewish thought or experience, in this instance, the pedagogic philosophy of Gustav Wyneken, with whose movement Benjamin had been associated since his fourteenth year.

  16. Wyneken was a magnetic figure for a small but highly active group of young Germans in this period. His organization, the "free school association" (Freie Schulgemeinde), writes Anson Rabinbach,
    . . . represented an elitist, aristocratic and fiercely intellectualist wing of the German youth movement. It was opposed to völkisch myth, and stressed the formation of the individual as an ethical being. Wyneken's ideal of an elite and highly ethical Männerbund devoted to the ideals of Kant, Hegel, Goethe and Nietzsche was the most important influence on Benjamin in his student years. (90)
  17. In the letters to Strauß Benjamin articulates his sense of Jewish identity in the context of a continuing loyalty to this movement: "It is from Wickersdorf [the site of the movement]," he writes, "and not on the basis of speculation or mere emotion, but from outer and inner experience that I have found my Judaism. I have discovered as something Jewish that which is most important for me in terms of ideas and individuals. . . . Either this idea is in essence Jewish (and though a German had conceived it ten times over!) or I and the other Jews are not true Jews when we have been possessed in our most personal core by something not Jewish (Gesammelte Briefe 1:70f).

  18. In a subsequent letter Benjamin writes that he has been discussing these matters with his Berlin friends and he undertakes again to define his stance. He disassociates himself from anything like a "Jewish experience," alluding to what had become a modish type of cultural identity inspired by Buber's writings: "Not through a Jewish experience [jüdisches Erlebnis]--through no experiential moment at all. But rather through a significant insight [eine wichtige Erfahrung]. . . ." What Benjamin attempts to salvage is a "spiritual/intellectual" dimension: "Judaism is in no sense an end in itself for me, but rather the most eminent bearer and representative of the spiritual [des Geistigen]" (Gesammelte Briefe 1:75). Yet he admits that he has so far not been able to formulate a clear position for such a culturally oriented Judaism. It would in any case, he concedes, be an "esoteric" type of Zionism (Gesammelte Briefe 1: 83). There was never any question, he goes on, of not acknowledging his Jewish identity, much less of conversion. "Morality goes without saying, says [Friedrich Theodor] Vischer. Fine! The Jewish side [das Jüdische] goes without saying, "I would have to say" (Gesammelte Briefe 1: 75). At this stage the twenty-year-old seems able only to affirm a kind of identity that is Jewish in little more than name. Yet in spite of the hollowness of this position we should not underestimate the significance of the gesture--that, namely, of a highly cultivated, altogether assimilated German Jew in 1912 who proudly ascribes his spiritual formation to a fraternity characterized by strong German-nationalist leanings and yet still goes to great length to claim a kind of Jewish adherence.

  19. The break with Wyneken and his circle came in 1914 in consequence of Wyneken's advocacy of the war and the pronounced anti-Semitic tendencies in the movement that came to light at that time,[6] though an unavowed motivation may also have been Benjamin's need to break free of a circle focused so strongly on personal loyalty and a cultish ethos.

  20. So when Benjamin introduced himself to Scholem in July, 1915, after having heard him a few days before ask a question in a public lecture, and then invited Scholem to visit him at his house, it was a moment when Benjamin was prepared to enter a new phase of his life and his thinking. Scholem's memoir, Walter Benjamin, The Story of a Friendship, recounts the succeeding period of their personal contact with commendable thoroughness, tact, and, one may assume, honesty. There were good reasons for their attraction to one another, and these were markedly different from those that had brought Benjamin together with individuals like Strauß and Heinle.

  21. It is in light of this background that we can better appreciate Benjamin's response to Scholem in 1930, when, after the debacle of the Jerusalem visit and the Hebrew lessons, Scholem once again raised the question of Benjamin's Jewish side. In an earlier letter Scholem had cautiously asked Benjamin whether it would not be better to abandon "false illusions regarding a never-to-be-realized definitive stand on Judaism, which we have considered a joint undertaking for nearly fifteen years, and acknowledge the (however disappointing for me, but nonetheless unequivocal) reality of your existence outside that sphere [i.e., the Jewish]" (Briefe 2: 511). And Benjamin, in his reply, while still delaying a full explanation of his stand on the matter, writes,
    I have never encountered the living spirit of Judaism [lebendiges Judentum] in any other figure than yourself. The question how I stand in regard to Judaism is always the question of how I am related--I don't what to say to you (since my friendship in this regard is no longer subject to any decision)--[but] to the forces which you have awakened in me. Whatever it may be that affects this decision--however much it is embedded on the one hand in apparently quite alien issues, on the other in that endlessly spun out hesitation that is characteristic for me in all the most significant situations of my life--it will very soon be made. Once I have begun to loosen the twisted coil of my existence in one place--in the meantime I have been divorced from Dora--, this "Gordian knot," as you once correctly named my relation to Hebrew, will also need to be unwound. (Briefe 2: 513)
    While such a passage suggests that Benjamin's Jewish consciousness was strongly marked by his friendship with Scholem, this fact in no sense compromises the autonomy or authenticity of Benjamin's position. For Benjamin the sphere of love and friendship was recurrently implicated in his intellectual and cognitive experience. In a journal entry dated May, 1931, we read:
    I became aware in the course of a conversation, that every time that I have been overcome by a great love, I became transformed in my depths to such a degree, that I said to myself in astonishment: that man who uttered such altogether unexpected things and who assumed such an unforseen manner, is myself. This comes about because a veritable love experience changes me to a state of similitude to the beloved. . . . I have come to know three different women in my life and three different men in myself. To write my life history would signify to give an account of the formation and dissolution of these three men, along with the compromise among them--one might also say: the triumvirate which now stands for my life. (Gesammelte Schriften 6: 427)

    This passage, which alludes to a doctrine of similitude which Benjamin had developed elsewhere,[7] has, I think, more than psychological or biographical significance. The passage already cited from Benjamin to Scholem, "I have never encountered the living spirit of Judaism [lebendiges Judentum] in any other figure than yourself," allows us to conclude neither that Benjamin's Jewish identity is merely tributary to Scholem's nor that Judaism as Benjamin understood it was embodied only in Scholem. Rather, it may be taken as a feature of the kind of identity construction that Benjamin articulated in the journal entry just cited.

  22. In that passage Benjamin radicalizes the singularity of multiple identity models, but at the same time he speaks of establishing a compromise among them, and in this way indicates the need to negotiate a linkage, to realize--even if only intermittently--a degree of integration among otherwise discrete identities. Just as Benjamin could address in Scholem "the living spirit of Judaism" so he could write to Florens Christian Rang, a Gentile friend of his during the early 20s (letter of Nov. 18, 1923),
    Certainly you embody for me today true Germanity [das wahre Deutschtum]--indeed, even at the risk of irritating you, I would almost say, you alone, in view of the powerful impression which your Bauhütte has made on me. . . . (Briefe 1: 310)[8]
    In the same letter Benjamin had criticized a mutual friend, Erich Gutkind, for abandoning himself (at least in his philosophical writings) to a "European" viewpoint while never having experienced "what was positive in the phenomenon of Germany." And Benjamin continues,
    But for me it is always restricted ethnic entities [begrenzte Volkstümer] that are preeminent: the German, the French. The fact that, and the extent to which I am bound to the former [the German] will never be far from my consciousness. (Briefe 1: 310)

  23. But in writing this Benjamin by no means lays claim to full participation in German cultural ethnicity. He goes on, in the lines that follow--we are in 1923, let us recall, a year after the assassination of Rathenau and in the midst of the vexed, even chaotic conditions of the Weimar Republic--to demarcate, in the most anguished manner, just how far a Jew might go in identifying himself with German ethnic-national identity:
    . . . in the most terrible moments of a people [eines Volkes] only those should be called upon to speak who belong to it, nay, even more: who belong to it in the most eminent sense, who can say not only the mea res agitur but the propriam rem ago. The Jew should certainly not speak. . . . Can he participate at all [Soll er mitreden?]. . . . Here, if anywhere, we come to the heart of the current Jewish question: that the Jew today betrays even the best German cause which he publicly supports. Since his public German expression is necessarily purchasable (in the deeper sense) it cannot show a seal of authenticity [Echtheitszeugnis]. (Briefe 1: 310)
    Benjamin concludes this somber diagnosis with the remark that, at this time, only covert, secret personal relations between Germans and Jews are possible:
    the noble natures of both peoples are, today, bound to silence regarding their association. (Briefe 1: 310)
    The reflective, careful manner in which Benjamin weighs the modalities of German-Jewish contact are quite different from Scholem's unequivocal and outspoken judgment a half-century later. Of course, we need to take account of the radically different contexts in which they expressed themselves. At the same time it is important to recognize the singularity and radicality of Benjamin's analysis of the situation. He by no means ignored the power of ethnic particularism and he recognized all too well the extent to which it eludes individual intention or will. He paid his due to the "Germanity" within him in many ways--it would require a detailed discussion of texts like Deutsche Menschen and Berliner Kindheit to illustrate this. But he recognized too that anything like "Germanity"--a form of ethnic or national consciousness--offered no intellectual or existential, much less practical, refuge. In a recent essay Irving Wohlfarth wrote that Benjamin "staked out a well-nigh untenable no-man's-land as the most decisive terrain on which to stand his ground" (Irving Wohlfarth 164). In spite of the seeming contradiction of this formulation, it well expresses, I think, the inescapable reality of Benjamin's situation in his time.


  1. I still find the best overall treatment of this phenomenon to be Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism. Back

  2. The standard study of Scholem's life and work is David Biale, Gershom Scholem. Kabbalah and Counter-History. The most important autobiographical documents by Scholem are From Berlin to Jerusalem. Memories of my Youth and Walter Benjamin: The Story of Friendship. The collection Gershom Scholem. Zwischen den Disziplinen, ed. Peter Schäfer and Gary Smith, contains a number of important recent essays. Back

  3. The best discussions that I have found are Anson Rabinbach, "Between Enlightment and Apocalypse: Benjamin, Block and Modern German Jewish Messianism," Gary Smith, "'Das Jüdische versteht sich von selbst.' Benjamins frühe Auseinandersetzung mit dem Judentum," and Irving Wohlfarth, "'Männer aus der Fremde': Walter Benjamin and the 'German-Jewish Parnassus." The last, a work of great scope and penetration, is in effect a condensed intellectual biography of Benjamin from the perspective of the German-Jewish nexus. I have read it with pleasure and profit, but the present essay was completed before its appearance. Back

  4. See also page 137f of Walter Benjamin, The Story of a Friendship regarding the talk with Magnes and Benjamin's plan to become a critic of Hebrew literature. Back

  5. Benjamin's first response to Strauß is from Sept. 11, 1912, but Strauß's initial letter has not survived. Excerpts from this correspondence, which was not included in the 1966 edition of Briefe, first appeared in Gesammelte Schriften 2: 836-44. The integral version is now published in Walter Benjamin, Gesammelte Briefe, Ed. Christoph Gödde and Henri Lonitz. Back

  6. Cf. Smith, "'Das Jüdische versteht sich von selbst,'" 333f. Benjamin's outspoken open letter to Wyneken of March 9, 1915, marks the final stage of this important phase in his early life, in Gesammelte Briefe, 1:263f. Cf. also the materials gathered in the notes to the letter in Gesammelte Schriften, in Gesammelte Schriften, 2: 884f. Back

  7. What is involved is a theory of correspondances in Baudelaire's sense, of linkage between the micro- and the macrocosm, whose traces can be discerned as forms of analogy and similarity in image and in language. Cf. "Lehre vom Ähnlichen" and "Über das mimetische Vermögen" in Gesammelte Schriften, 2:204-213. Back

  8. The Bauhütte refers to a collection of writings that Rang was editing. The following citations are from the same letter. Back

Works Cited

Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism. Cleveland and New York: Meridian, 1958.

Biale, David. Gershom Scholem. Kabbalah and Counter-History. Cambridge and London: Harvard UP, 1982.

Benjamin, Walter. Briefe. Ed. Gershom Scholem and Theodor W. Adorno. Frankfort-am-Main: Suhrkamp, 1966. 2 vols.

---. Gesammelte Briefe. Ed. Christoph Gödde and Henri Lonitz. Vol. 1. Frankfort-am-Main: Suhrkamp 1995.

---. Gesammelte Schriften. Ed. Rolf Tiedemann and Hermann Schweppenhäuser. 7 vols. Frankfort-am-Main: Suhrkamp, 1974-89.

Rabinbach, Anson. "Between Enlightenment and Apocalypse: Benjamin, Block and Modern German Jewish Messianism." New German Critique 34 (1985): 78-124

Schäfer, Peter, and Gary Smith, eds. Gershom Scholem. Zwischen den Disziplinen. Frankfurt-am-Main: Suhrkamp, 1995.

Scholem, Gershom. "Against the Myth of the German-Jewish Dialogue." On Jews and Judaism in Crisis. Ed. Werner J. Dannhauser. New York: Schocken, 1976. 61-64.

---. From Berlin to Jerusalem. Memories of my Youth. Trans. Harry Zohn. New York: Schocken, 1980.

---. Walter Benjamin: The Story of Friendship. Trans. Harry Zohn. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1981.

Smith, Gary. "'Das Jüdische versteht sich von selbst.' Benjamins frühe Auseinandersetzung mit dem Judentum." Deutsche Vierteljahresschrift (June, 1991): 318-334.

Weiner, Hannah. "Gershom Sholem and the Jung Juda in Berlin, 1913-1918." Studies in Zionism 5 (1984): 29-42.

Wohlfarth, Irving. "'Männer aus der Fremde': Walter Benjamin and the 'German-Jewish Parnassus.'" New German Critique 70 (Winter 1997): 3-85.

---. "The Politics of Youth: Walter Benjamin's Reading of The Idiot." Diacritics 22 (Fall-Winter, 1992): 161-71.

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