The Absent Jews: Kurt Forstreuter and the Historiography of Medieval Prussia | BERGHAHN BOOKS
Join our Email List Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Instagram
The Absent Jews: Kurt Forstreuter and the Historiography of Medieval Prussia

View Table of Contents

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

The Absent Jews

Kurt Forstreuter and the Historiography of Medieval Prussia

Cordelia Hess

334 pages, 1 map, 1 table, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-492-4 $145.00/£107.00 / Hb / Published (May 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78533-493-1 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“Based on a meticulous analysis of various primary sources, she questions the existence of an anti-Jewish policy and concludes that the low profile of Jews in official documents may not in fact point to their physical absence but rather the absence of conflict between Gentiles and Jews, as peaceful relations were less likely to be recorded than blood libel cases and pogroms… Hess’s attempt to recover Jewish experiences in light of the surviving evidence offers a useful introduction for English-speaking readers who are unfamiliar with the complexities of Prussian medieval history.” • Journal of Modern Jewish Studies


For nearly a century, it has been a commonplace of Central European history that there were no Jews in medieval Prussia—the result, supposedly, of the ruling Teutonic Order’s attempts to create a purely Christian crusader’s state. In this groundbreaking historical investigation, however, medievalist Cordelia Hess demonstrates the very weak foundations upon which that assumption rests. In exacting detail, she traces this narrative to the work of a single, minor Nazi-era historian, revealing it to be ideologically compromised work that badly mishandles its evidence. By combining new medieval scholarship with a biographical and historiographical exploration grounded in the 20th century, The Absent Jews spans remote eras while offering a fascinating account of the construction of historical knowledge.

Cordelia Hess is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Gothenburg and a Research Fellow at the Royal Academy of Literature, History and Antiquities, Stockholm. Her publications include Social Imagery in Middle Low German: Didactical Literature and Metaphorical Representation (2013) and, as co-editor, Fear and Loathing in the North: Jews and Muslims in Medieval Scandinavia and the Baltic Region (2015, with Jonathan Adams).

Subject: Jewish StudiesHistory: Medieval/Early Modern
Area: Germany


Back to Top

Library Recommendation Form

Dear Librarian,

I would like to recommend The Absent Jews Kurt Forstreuter and the Historiography of Medieval Prussia for the library. Please include it in your next purchasing review with my strong recommendation. The RRP is: $145.00

I recommend this title for the following reasons:

BENEFIT FOR THE LIBRARY: This book will be a valuable addition to the library's collection.

REFERENCE: I will refer to this book for my research/teaching work.

STUDENT REFERRAL: I will regularly refer my students to the book to assist their studies.

OWN AFFILIATION: I am an editor/contributor to this book or another book in the Series (where applicable) and/or on the Editorial Board of the Series, of which this volume is part.