Notebook

The stereotypes of course remained, not only about Gentiles but about Jews. There was a clear pecking order among us “Ostjuden”, Jews from Eastern Europe (who were all of course despised by the cultivated German-speaking Jews of Central Europe). Broadly speaking, Lithuanian and Russian Jews saw themselves as superior, in culture and social standing; Polish (particularly Galician) and Romanian Jews were lowly creatures, to put it politely. This ranking applied both within my parents’ marital antagonism and across their extended families. My mother in moments of anger would remind my father that he was nothing but a Polish Jew. He would then point out that she was Romanian.

Tony Judt, “Thinking the Twentieth Century”.

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