Cover of No Longer Ladies and Gentlemen by Viola Alianov-Rautenberg
No Longer Ladies and Gentlemen
Gender and the German-Jewish Migration to Mandatory Palestine
Viola Alianov-Rautenberg


October 2023
336 pages.

Hardcover now $32.50 (50% off)

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503636330
Ebook ISBN: 9781503637238

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Winner of the 2024 Shapiro Award for Best Book in Israel Studies, sponsored by the Association for Israel Studies (AIS).

For the sixty thousand German Jews who escaped Nazi Germany and found refuge in Mandatory Palestine between 1933 and 1940, migration meant radical changes: it transformed their professional and cultural lives and confronted them with a new language, climate, and society. Bridging German-Jewish and Israeli history, this book tells the story of German-Jewish migration to Mandatory Palestine/Eretz Israel as gender history. It argues that this migration was shaped and structured by gendered policies and ideologies and experienced by men and women in a gendered form—from the decision to immigrate and the anticipation of change, through the outcomes for family life, body, self-image, and sexuality.

Immigration led to immediate transformations in allocations of tasks within the family, concepts of masculinity and femininity, and participation in the labor market and domestic life. Through a close examination of archival materials in German, English, and Hebrew, including administrative records, personal documents, newspapers, and oral history interviews conducted by the author, this book follows Jewish migrants along their journey from Germany and into the workplaces, living rooms, and kitchens of their new homeland, providing a new perspective on everyday life in Mandatory Palestine. Viola Alianov-Rautenberg's work illuminates key issues at the intersection of migration studies, German-Jewish studies, and Israeli history, demonstrating how the lens of gender enriches our understanding of social change, power, ethnicity, and nation-building.

About the author

Viola Alianov-Rautenberg is the Minerva Postdoctoral Fellow at the Bucerius Institute for Research of Contemporary German History and Society, University of Haifa.

"No Longer Ladies and Gentlemen tells a compelling and provocatively contrarian story of the German-Jewish migration to pre-state Palestine. Viola Alianov-Rautenburg offers a novel gendered analysis of the often caricatured and still remarkably under-researched flight of bourgeois Jews to a scrappy multicultural and contested Mandatory Palestine."

—Atina Grossmann, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

"Based on a rich collection of sources, No Longer Ladies and Gentlemen offers an innovative examination of the historical saga of German-Jewish immigration to Palestine. Emphasizing the gender perspective, this book is one of the best new works on the history of immigration."

—Guy Miron, Open University of Israel

"[No Longer Ladies and Gentlemen] uses a rich array of primary and secondary sources, and the memoirs and notes left by the women are especially helpful in understanding what it was like for a German-Jewish woman in 1930s Palestine. This book covers familiar territory, but Alianov-Rautenberg provides new insights by looking at people previously neglected through a lens that few historians analyzing Zionism have considered. Recommended."

—G. R. Sharfman, CHOICE