Jewish Women in the Rhein-Main Region

Jewish women from the Rhein-Main region who were involved in literary, social or political activities became well known and played a very influential role not only in Jewish history, but in German history as well. For example, besides Henrietta Fürth (Frankfurt/Main), a social and political activist, there was the author Anna Seghers, born in Mainz, and journalist Toni Sender (Social-Democrat) of Wiesbaden/Biebrich, one of the first women in German history elected to parliament. Let us not forget Bertha Pappenheimer, the founder of the Jewish Women’s Association (1904), who lived in Frankfurt/Main and became the leader of the Jewish feminist movement, whose influence was nation wide.

Why were so many Jewish women involved in the social and political nineteenth century feminist movements, in numbers disproportionate to their share of the population? What role did Jewish women play in the process of integrating the Jewish minority into bourgeois life? How did they define their Jewish identity?

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