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Jewish Female Students in Germany

Thrown Off Course, by a Former Student

What options are available to the (female) Jewish student forced to give up her studies due to the realization that she will not be able to accomplish her goals, and due to ideological reasons.

We will not discuss the Zionist student must sacrifice little. Those who have moved to Palestine have probably taken up agricultural work or a craft, at least partially fulfilling their hopes and plans.

The reply to this question is made more difficult by the fact that many who could have given us answers are abroad. Back here, we hear relatively little about their situation. The ability to graduate from universities abroad will probably overcome their nostalgic memories and comparisons. But what about those who cannot afford to continue studying or have lost the desire to do so? … And they are often not the untalented ones.

More difficult, however, is the situation of the former student who remains in Germany, either because of her attachment to the culture or due to her desire to implement her knowledge here. One will find that she has thoroughly changed her attitude and feels that an academic profession is not the only option. More than her colleague abroad, she will have come back to feminine occupations to conform to her surroundings. Only in the future will it be possible to conduct a true evaluation of this change.… A Jewess intending to stay in Germany must at least share her place of employment as medical or laboratory assistant, teacher or administrator with the male candidates of her community, as the professions of doctor and lawyer are completely closed to them. However, she has wider and relatively more promising opportunities in domestic occupations.

We find her cooking and sewing or learning another craft; we find the former doctor working as a medical assistant, as a nurse in Jewish hospitals, or as a physiotherapist. We also find the former lawyer or economist as a correspondent, advisor or as a secretary. We find the former philologist, if she does not prefer to train as a teacher of religion or school teacher, employed in the book trade or as an educator, social worker or youth leader.

Whatever she does in Germany, one thing is certain: She has had to forfeit certain things, but she has also gained something significant – the return to the community and to Jewish life. ...

Jewish Female Students at German Universities

The special measures against Jewish students, the hopeless situation for Jews in almost all academic professions in Germany, and the resulting necessity to interrupt studies and to undergo [vocational] “restructuring”, have had a significant effect in the short time span of 20 months. The number of Jewish students, which in 1932/33 was 4,382, has according to a new university statistic shrunk to 812. (i.e. 0.8% of German students). Of these, 223 are women. But this figure is misleading, as most of these 223 women are at an advanced stage of their studies and are about to graduate. Only three women are presently in their first term of studies. This indicates that Jewish women regard the academic situation in Germany as hopeless and have turned to other professions.

Source: "Israelitisches Familienblatt," 6 December 1934.

Yad Vashem